What is a CPF? 

A CPF (Cadastro de Pessoa Física) is a Brazilian document that is required for several operations and legal proceedings.

Why a CPF?

Getting a CPF number is pretty much essential if you’re planning on being in Brazil for any length of time. A CPF number is needed to purchase just about anything like rent an apartment, open a bank account et cetera… It is similar to the Social Security number for Americans or National Insurance number for the British.  It can be issued both for Brazilians and foreigners.

If you need a CPF, here are the steps on how to get a CPF number

Getting a CPF number in Brazil as a foreigner

1. If you’re staying in Brazil up to 120 days, you can get your CPF for free directly at the nearest Receita Federal. You have to bring your passport and a water or electricity bill of the place you’re staying at.

2. If you are staying in Brazil for more than 120 days, follow the steps below:

  • Go to one of the following places, that offer the CPF service: Banco do Brasil, Caixa Econômica Federal or Correios agencies.
  • Request a CPF application. You’ll need to have the following documents with you: Passport, Proof of residence in Brazil (energy or water bill of the place you’re staying at, for example) or a Declaration from your host family that you are living with them. It needs to be notarized at a Registry Office.
  • Fill the CPF request online. you’ll need to pay a fee (The fee can change so check at the time you’re applying for the most up to date information). If you don’t want to pay the fee, there are other public agencies which can give you a certificate for free. These vary depending on the area of Brazil you’re in.
  • With the payment receipt and your passport, go to Receita Federal to get the document.
  • That is it! You now have a CPF.

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Getting a CPF Number if You Are Outside of Brazil

  • You will need to get the CPF number through your closest embassy or consulate.
  • Steps for getting the CPF number vary consulate by consulate.


  1. First, check if there is a Brazilian consulate or embassy close to your location
  2. Go to the website of the consulate or embassy and book an appointment.Turnaround for issuing the CPF is usually between two to three weeks, but plan for an early application to be safe.
  3. Filling out a CPF Application : You must complete the CPF application form .
  4. Print out a couple of copies, sign, date, and  Deliver it to a Brazilian diplomatic representation within 15 days, along with the documents required.
  5. Pay the processing fee on your consulate’s website.
  6. After some time, you will receive your brand new CPF number.

Processing time

Processing time can take up to 90 days, so be patient. Enter your special bar code in this link (Official website) periodically in order to check on the status.

This content is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For legal issues or decisions of any kind, the reader should retain and consult legal counsel.