Cadastro de Pessoa Física
Cadastro de Pessoa Física
As an overseas real estate buyer in Brazil, the first necessary step is to apply for a CPF
(Cadastro de Pessoa Física). This is essentially an identity card with an attributable
number linked to the Brazilian Tax Revenue Agency (Receita Federal). Its original aim was
to be used as a form of identification for taxpayers but it has grown to become a necessity
for all Brazilians (including those that fall under the non-tax paying threshold). Below are
some guidelines as to what the CPF is; how it can be obtained as well the implications of
owning a number (regardless of whether you pay tax or not in Brazil).
The new style CPF is a blue plastic card (see below) and is often accepted as a main form
of identification in Brazil (along with the national identity card (Registro Geral), the voting
registration (Cartão de Voto) and the Military Service certificate (Certificado de Serviço
Militar). You may also come across the ‘e-CPF’ which is a card that enables you manage your affairs electronically
(particularly useful if you are not based in Brazil).
Ownership of a CPF number will mean that the Brazilian government will have a record of your name / identity and
you will be able to do the following:
• open a bank account (note that this does not apply to all banks);
• purchase Brazilian property / land;
• receive utility bills in your name;
• take our credit cards / loans (although access to these may be restricted due to the fact that you are not a Brazilian resident);
• obtain a Brazilian cell phone / telephony contract;
• obtain a Brazilian drivers licence / register a vehicle;
• apply for employment (although you would still be classed as a foreign employee);
• undertake day-to-day activities in Brazil such as booking an internal flight or hiring a car from a local
company (which, more often than not, means you will get a better deal than the tourist prices).
The number on the card is always eleven digits (the last two digits are the result of an equation of the nine previous
ones). The government has several measure to test the validity of the number (there were formerly a number of
people who would skew the number in order to evade tax) and, in order to prevent people obtaining more than one
registration, the Receita Federal will verify your birth date, voting number and mother’s maiden name.
CPF Homepage (em Português)
CPF Homepage (in English)
A CPF number can be obtained, on average, between 30-45 days and there are three main ways of applying
depending on whether you want to do it through your nearest Brazilian Consulate; via an approved public owned
body (Banco do Brasil or the Correio); or by direct use of a professional (acting as a power of attorney on your behalf). These three procedures are discussed on the next page.
1) Online Application (outside of Brazil)
You may find that procedures vary according to whichever jurisdiction you
are in (Google the phrase ‘Brazil Consulate CPF [your country]’ and there
will be detailed information) but the following instructions will apply to
(ii) Print the application form using this form:
CPF Application Form
...you will have to select your country and click ‘Ficha’;
(ii) Fill the form using a black ball point pen;
(iii) Make a photocopy for your own records and take the original
along with your passport and birth certificate to the Brazilian
Consulate. There will be a charge which will depend on which
consulate you are applying through (should not be more than
$50US). Please note if you are planning on obtaining CPF
numbers for other members of your family, you should refer to
the Consulate to find out exactly what will need to be provided.
You will subsequently be sent a pin code which will enable you to access
the number via the website. However, this will not mean that you will be
able to open a bank account, purchase real estate etc. as you will need to
have possession of the plastic card. You will need to visit the Receita
Federal in Brazil – taking your passport, birth certificate and address to
mail the CPF card. You can expect to receive your card from anywhere between 2 weeks to 3 months. You can trace
the progress of your application using the following link:
Trace the progress of your CPF application
(... select ‘Exterior’, and then enter the receipt code number in the ‘Código de Atendimento‘ field and the date on the
consular receipt in the ‘Data de Atendimento‘ field.)
2) Apply via the Banco Brazil or Correio (in Brazil)
If you are in Brazil, you can apply for the CPF via any Banco do Brasil (Bank of Brazil) or Correio (Post Office)
(there are plenty but you should find a translator if you do not speak Portuguese). You will need to take the
(i) Your original passport;
(ii) Your birth certificate with the names of your mother and father;
(iii) An address of where the CPF can be sent to in Brazil.
You will subsequently be sent a federal tax bill of a minimal amount that will need to be paid. Once the Receita Federal receives this payment and viewed the above, you will be sent the card within fourteen days.
3) Using a Professional
Many investors choose to instruct a professional to act on their behalf in order to keep the whole CPF process hassle
free and simple. A premium is often charged but it is often better to pay this than go through the rigmarole of
applying yourself (particularly if you do not speak Portuguese). The following two procedures will be followed:
(i) You will be sent a ‘signature’ card issued by a Brazil based cartório (notary’s office) and a formulário de procuração (a document to confirm that you would like the agent or lawyer to act as a power of attorney)
(ii) You will have to send certified copies of your original passport and birth certificate (by your local Brazilian Consulate).
Remember to ensure that an correspondence and documentation are sent using FED-EX, DHL or other reputable
delivery service with a tracking system. Using an agent to undertake this process also means that you do not need to
have a Brazilian address as it will be sent to their office (and subsequently forwarded on to yourself).
It should be noted that the CPF is directly linked to your credit score in Brazil. For example, if you were to purchase a
contract cell phone and miss payments - the company will report your ‘black mark’ to the relevant government agency
and it will remain on file (this will effect your ability to borrow for some time in the future). Furthermore, unlike
referencing agencies in many other countries that adopt a scale of credit-worthiness, a Brazilian CPF is either clean or
tainted (ie. there is no middle ground).
The fact that you have a CPF will mean that any direct/indirect income producing activities you undertake in Brazil will
be subject to taxation which is automatically calculated based on compulsory declarations as stated by the Receita
Federal, some of which are as follows:
• if you earn over $12,696 reais income per annum;
• if you receive a lump-sum payment of greater than $40,000 reais (through the sale of an asset, for
• if you are a shareholder, proprietor, partner or co-operative involvement in a Brazilian company;
• if you have ownership of property or land over the value of $80,000 reais;
• if you have disposed of an asset that is subject to capital gains tax in the eyes of Brazilian law;
• if you are involved with any kind of transaction on the stock exchange;
• if you have achieved a gross revenue for any business activity in Brazil of more than $63,480 reais;
• if a previous years loss is being offset against a current years loss and the amount falls under the threshold, then full declaration would be needed to be submitted.
Again, we would strongly suggest to obtain professional legal and tax advice when conducting your real estate
business in Brazil - particularly when it comes to making the obligatory declarations as above.
Should you not have to pay income tax (for example if you obtain a CPF number and choose not to undertake in any
business in Brazil), you will still need to send an ‘exempt report’ or go to the nearest Receita Federal office in order to
keep the number activated.
Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] with regards to any questions about obtaining a
CPF in Brazil.