I’m foreign. How do I get a CPF?

May 24, 2022

What is a CPF?

The CPF (Cadastro de Pessoa Física) is a registration document for citizens with the Receita Federal (Brazilian Tax Authorities) that allows people to be registered as a tax contributor here in Brazil.

It isn’t necessary to have a CPF number but without one you will not be able to carry out certain financial operations such as buying a phone SIM card or opening a bank account. You can also have trouble making purchases, which is one of the reasons daily life can be complicated for foreigners in Brazil.

Versions of the CPF

The CPF document has gone through some transformations over the years since its introduction in 1969, when it was initially called a CIC (Cartão de Identificação de contribuinte – Taxpayer Identification Card).

Today the CPF is a number generated by the Receita Federal do Brasil and as such, there is no longer a physical document associated with it.

CPF-INTERNET
Current version of the CPF (number provided by internet)
CPF1-270x170
2000 version of the CPF (plastic card)
cpf-1
80s/90s version of the CPF (paper)
cic
CIC, a ‘CPF’ from the 70s (paper)

⚠ It is important to note that all of the versions mentioned above are active and valid.

How to get your CPF online?

Visit the Receita Federal website:

You can request a CPF, free of charge, directly from the Receita Federal website, whether you are resident in Brazil or if you are just travelling. Visit website.

>> Link to the online form <<

Alternatively, via e-mail from the Receita Federal:

A selfie holding your ID open on the photo page

This is only possible if you are a resident of the State of São Paulo

If you are a resident of the State of São Paulo, you can request your CPF, free of charge, via e-mail from the Receita Federal:

1) Send a message to the following e-mail address:
atendimentorfb.08@rfb.gov.br

2) The message must contain the following information:
• Your full name
• The address where you live in São Paulo
• Your telephone number
• A brief description of your request, i.e. requesting a CPF

3) You must attach a (readable) copy of the following documents:
• A valid ID document such as a passport;
• A selfie holding your ID open on the photo page.

IMPORTANT: Applying via the website is faster and more reliable than applying via e-mail.

How to get a CPF in São Paulo?

A foreigner can apply for their CPF in the Receita Federal office, located within Shopping Light:

Address: Shopping Light – in the Centre of São Paulo, near the Anhangabaú metro station (red line).

Opening hours: 10am – 2pm. You must make an appointment on the Receita Federal website or by e-mail: equipecpf.rf08@rfb.gov.br.

Fee: R$7.00 (if requested via Correios, Banco do Brasil or Caixa Econômica Federal)

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS:

  • A valid ID from your home country such as your passport with your parents name on it
    or your RNM / RNM protocol in full.
    RNM stands for Registro Nacional Migratório.

NB:
In the case that your ID does not include the name of your parents, you will need to
show an additional document
, such as a birth certificate that shows your parents’
names. This is a mandatory step for reasons of identification.

Shopping Light in the Centre of São Paulo

How to get a CPF in Rio de Janeiro?

Foreigner registration should be done by the person themself directly at the Ministério da Fazenda:

Address: Av. Presidente Antônio Carlos 375, in the centre of Rio, near the Carioca metro station (lines 1 or 2).

Opening hours: 9am – 1pm.

Fee: R$7.00 (if requested via Correios, Banco do Brasil or Caixa Econômica Federal)

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS:

  • A valid ID from your home country such as your passport with your parents name on it or your RNM / NM protocol in full.
    RNM stands for Registro Nacional Migratório.

NB:
In the case that your ID does not include the name of your parents, you will need to show an additional document, such as a birth certificate that shows your parents’ names. This is a mandatory step for reasons of identification.

Ministério da Fazenda in the Centre of Rio de Janeiro

How to ask for a CPF number when you are outside Brazil

In order to ask for a CPF number outside Brazil, you must go to the nearest Brazilian consulate and show your documents. Here is the list of Brazilian consulates: here🔗 and here🔗.

Countries with Brazilian consulate services

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS:

  • Fill in the Receita Federal do Brasil form 🔗 and request a CPF number. After completing the form, send an email to cpf.residente.exterior@rfb.gov.br with the form attached as a PDF, as well as a photo of yourself clearly showing you holding your ID.
  • A valid ID from your home country such as your passport with your parents name on it or your RNM / NM protocol in full.
    RNM stands for Registro Nacional Migratório.

NB:
In the case that your ID does not include the name of your parents, you will need to show an additional document, such as a birth certificate that shows your parents’ names. This is a mandatory step for reasons of identification.

To find out more:

The “RG” ID is not unique

People who live in Brazil use a CPF as if it was a second ID card. The official identity card for Brazilian citizens is known as The RG, “Registro Geral”. The use of the CPF stems from the fact that it is necessary to have a unique form of identification, because the RG number only applies to the state in which you are living, despite it being a nationally recognised document.
It is therefore possible that two different people may have the same RG number, issued by different states. It is also possible that one same person could have up to 26 different RGs, as shown below in the Folha de São Paulo report.

Report from the ‘Folha de São Paulo’ showing that one person can have several RGs. Even though this seems pretty unbelievable, it’s totally legal!

Carteira Nacional de Identidade: The new ID

According to some specialists, due to the fact that RG numbers are not controlled by one nationwide system, it is very vulnerable and therefore potentially easy for criminals to commit identity fraud. To combat this problem – after many years of failed attempts – the Federal government created a new ID in February 2022 called  “Carteira Nacional de Identidade” through the Executive Order #10.977. This will replace all RG numbers by 2032 using the CPF as a unique ID number.

The new “RG” uses the “CPF” number as a unique ID number

The “e-CPF”: digital certificate

A few years ago, the government launched the “e-CPF”, an electronic document in the form of a digital certificate (ICP-Brasil), that guarantees the authenticity and integrity of the communication between the people and the Secretaria da Receita Federal (SRF). It works exactly like a digital version of the CPF, as it is linked to it. The e-CPF serves, among other purposes, as a form of handing in income declarations and other electronic documents by the use of electronic signatures. Aside from this, the use of the digital signature is spreading to exchange contracts and, in the future, other bank contracts.

e-CPF: a digital certificate

About the Instituto aprenda²

Brazilian Portuguese courses for foreigners

The ALEGRIA method was conceived from the marriage of our co-founder Audrey Conjat‘s experiences as a foreigner with the pedagogical expertise of our teaching staff. Talking about the teachers, they come from the main universities such as USPUFRJUNICAMP PUC

Contact us for more information:
Email: falecom@aprenda2.org
WhatsApp: +55 11 9 4939 0401

What is a sworn translation?

Sworn translation are made by people who are certified and accredited by the registry of commerce of each state. The applicants must pass highly demanding oral and written examinations for specific language pairs. They undergo background checks before receiving a registration number, which must be informed in the heading of every translation. If you need translate any of your official documents, please contact our translation services: www.aprenda2.org/translations


Written by Alessandro Orefice and Marie-Éve Abran. Translated by Alex McGery. 

Sources: Wikipedia, Receita Federal do Brasil

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