What is a Brazilian CPF?

The Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas (Portuguese for Natural Persons Register) is the registry kept by the Receita Federal do Brasil (Brazilian Federal Revenue Services) where any natural person may enroll once, independently from their age or nationality.

The Brazilian CPF was created at first to help the Revenue Services to identify taxpayers. Each enrolled person is uniquely identified by an 11-digit number. As time went by, it became more than that – nowadays, it is the primary identification of any Brazilian national, foreigner, resident, or non-resident who wishes to conduct any kind of business in the country.

Is there any difference between the CPF and CNPJ?

The Brazilian CPF and CNPJ were created to identify different kinds of individuals. While the CPF is the main identification for natural persons, the CNPJ – Cadastro Nacional de Pessoa Jurídica (Portuguese for National Registry of Juridical Persons) is meant to identify companies, NGOs, political parties, societies, foundation, churches, or any other individual that is not a natural person.

What are the types of CPF in Brazil?

Short answer is: one. The Brazilian CPF is a unique identification number, and is the same across the country and for any natural person. The only difference a CPF may present is the current status with the revenue services.

CPF for Individuals

Every natural person who was born, is a resident, or wishes to conduct business as an individual (or a company) in Brazil, will need to have a CPF issued with the Receita Federal do Brasil. 

CNPJ for Businesses

The CNPJ is a 13-character unique number that identifies businesses and other types of juridical arrangements within the Receita Federal do Brasil. For an individual to open or control a company, they must have a valid Brazilian CPF.

Why do I need a CPF?

The main function of the CPF is to identify natural persons within Receita federal do Brasil. You will need a CPF in case you:

  • want to open a bank account in Brazil;
  • want to open or be part of a business in Brazil;
  • intend to move to Brazil;
  • would like to join the Brazilian Army; 
  • need to get you Brazilian voter’s card;
  • are looking to get credit in the future

Whenever you choose to send money to Brazil from abroad, Remitly provides a fast and  safe way to get it done – you can download our app for Android or iOS, or even do it through our website by clicking here. After you sign up, all you need is the person’s name, bank account information and Brazilian CPF number. We may ask for additional documentation depending on the amount sent or if we are unable to verify your identity.

What documents do I need to get my CPF?

The documents you will need to have a CPF issued to you are:

  • For Brazilian nationals:
    • Brazilian ID card or birth certificate;
    • For nationals aged 18 to 69, you will also need your military draft certificate and your voter’s card.
  • For foreign residents:
    • RNE – Registro Nacional de Estrangeiros (Portuguese for Foreign National Registry) or CIE – Carteira Nacional de Estrangeiro (Foreigner ID Card).
  • For non-residents:
    • Passport; 
    • Sworn translation of the pages that identify the person.

What is the processing time for CPF?

For Brazilian nationals and residents, you may get a CPF number online in a few steps: 

  • Step 1. Go to the Receita Federal website;
  • Step 2. At the homepage, click “Serviços”.
  • Step 3. At the “Serviços” page, Locate the option “Inscrição – 1ª via CPF – Brasileiros Residentes no Brasil” (Portuguese for Enrollment – 1st CPF issue – Brazilian residents in Brazil). It is located at the “Serviços em destaque” (Highlited Services) column.
  • Step 4. Next choose “Online” at the “Onde” column, right beside “Situação”.
  • Step 5. A form will be exhibited. Fill in all the details and click “Enviar”.
  • Step 6. On the last screen, an automatic CPF number will be automatically generated. Save it – it is your document number from now on.

My CPF is suspended. How do I fix it if I’m abroad?

When your Brazilian CPF is suspended and you need to fix it, you may go in person to a Brazilian Consulate in your region/country and request it. This service is available for Brazilian nationals, foreigners and non-residents alike.

Can I get a CPF as a non-resident?

Yes, you can! All you need to do is submit the required information by the Receita Federal do Brasil. That includes a passport copy and sworn translation of the passport pages containing your personal data.

How to get a CPF number as a foreigner in my home country

For foreign non-residents, it is generally required to go to a physical location of the Receita federal to issue the CPF. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic efforts of social distancing, the Brazilian government has provided an online link to speed up the process as well as obey the current social distancing decrees. Follow the steps below:

  • Step 1. Go to this link and fill in the information requested;
  • Step 2. Make sure you upload the required information – a passport copy and sworn translation of the pages containing your name and other personal data. 
  • Step 3. You may have to wait up to 30 days until the revenue services verifies the information and issues the CPF number to you.

immigrant couple setting financial goals

How can I check the status of a CPF number for Brazil?

To check the current status of your Brazilian CPF, follow the steps below:

  • Step 1. Go to this link and fill in the information requested – your full name and date of birth;
  • Step 2. Resolve the captcha and click “Consultar” 
  • Step 3. The current status of your CPF will be displayed. Here is a list of each status and its meaning:
    • REGULAR: this means that the CPF is in good standing;
    • PENDENTE DE REGULARIZAÇÃO: the taxpayer has not delivered one or more of their tax returns in the last 5 years;
    • SUSPENSA: the taxpayer’s information is incorrect or incomplete;
    • CANCELADA: the taxpayer’s CPF has been cancelled due to duplicity or an administrative/judicial decision;
    • TITULAR FALECIDO: when the taxpayer is deceased;
    • NULA: some form of fraud has been detected, and the CPF has been voided.

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Further reading: Safely Send Money to Brazil in 5 Easy Steps