I get asked this question a lot: “How do I get a CPF number and why can’t I get anything done in Brazil without it?”. Today I will explain exactly what it is and 3 easy steps to get one right away, even if you are a tourist in Brazil and don’t speak Portuguese!
Note: make sure and out if you are looking for useful information to start a life in Brazil.
A CPF number is called a or translated “Registration of a Physical Person” and is the ’s (The Brazilian Tax Authority) way of keeping information about a person in a centralized database.
You could compare it in many ways to how the American is used except that it is required to make pretty much any purchases beyond basic items. Here are a few things to give you an idea what you need a CPF for:
- To buy a dresser
- To buy an air conditioner
- To buy a house
- To buy airline tickets
- To open a bank account
- To buy a car
- To get a cell phone
- To have an online membership
So in essence, you will need a CPF for everything and to be honest, it is not as hard as you would think to get one. You can get a temporary or permanent CPF depending on if you are:
- A tourist in Brazil (1 day)
- A resident in Brazil (1 or more days)
- A non-domiciled tourist*
*To get one as a non-domiciled tourist, you will have to do it through your local Brazilian consulate, which is more time consuming and very expensive compared to getting one in Brazil. on how to do that.
Be aware that as a tourist, you can get either a temporary one for just your immediate visit or a permanent one if your stay allows. A permanent one will allow you to buy and maintain real estate etc.
Update: have been told that many from our community haven’t been successful in doing this, this could be due to them fazing out plastic cards and giving everyone CPF print outs on the spot.