By Volker Ruther
This is one in a series of helpful articles by Volker which are a collection of information and experiences about how and where to get documents and permissions, or how to resolve bureaucratic subjects and matters in Brazil as a foreigner.

Note that although the best efforts have been made to ensure the information is valid, we cannot guarantee that it is 100% correct, as the article is based on a mixture of personal experiences and information that has been collected from various sources like Internet sites, official documents and an exchange of experiences with other foreigners in Brazil. Also even Brazilian law is subject to change, and often difficult to interpret.

Always check your own situation via a suitable source e.g. consulate or appropriately qualified lawyer, before proceeding.

This particular article follows on from Volker’s previous article about the application for the Permanency Visa. The article lists the process by which foreigners to Brazil receive the Foreigners ID card (the CIE, Cdula de Identidade de Estrangeiro). Note that the foreigners registration number, the RNE (Registro Nacional de Estrangeiro), which is received as part of the visa application process is located on the CIE card. The CIE and RNE are often confused, often to the point where the foreigner may not be aware what the CIE is.

As part of the visa application process you receive the CIE, for which you need to pay an administration fee (currently R$69,02). A voucher for the fee can be created online at this link:

Once the CIE is ready to pick-up at the Federal Police, you will receive a notification by mail. Then you can claim your published visa at the Federal Police.

The CIE can be used as an ID document in Brazil, so can be an alternative to carrying a passport or driver’s license. In Brazil you are at least recommended to always carry ID with you. Note also that it’s recommended to get an authorised photocopy of the CIE to carry around, possible from most cartórios. This prevents any issue if you lose the card, or it’s stolen.

Although an RNE only expires in certain circumstances, for example if the individual leaves Brazil for 2 years, the CIE is valid for 10 years and then has to be renewed.

To contact Volker, as well as get a copy of his free eBook (PDF) of this information, send an email to

Previous articles by Volker:

Understanding Brazil: The Permanent Visa

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