How to get a CPF

CPFIn Brazil,to do any financial transactions beyond the most basic things, you will need a CPF. This card is the equivalent of the American social security number. However, they use it for much more in Brazil. For example, you need one to purchase a cell phone plan or car.   Getting one is not as complicated as made out to be in internet forums. I think some folks enjoy causing confusion. To be honest, most of the paperwork I have completed in Brazil has been handled efficiently. The CPF process was no different. In all, I would say from start to finish it took me about an hour. And, that means TOTAL TIME!  

  1. I went to this site ( and completed the form. It took me about 15 minutes only because I thought “voter district” meant zip code. You do not need to put a zip code. Just leave the ‘voter district” blank.

  click country (USA or wherever), hit submit, then click registration (if first CPF), then fill out everything but “voter district”. You need a Brazilian address. They will mail the final card there. However, you receive the number as a printout at the station. That is really all you need.   After you fill out this form hit submit again. This time you get a bar code form to print out. Print it.  

  1. Take the bar code form to either a post office (Correios) or the Banco do Brasil. Trust me, it is easier at the post office (Correios) because the lines are shorter. If you go to a Brazilian bank you will wish you had not. LOL!

  Just grab a number and then wait. When called, take the form to the attendant and say, “pago CPF”.  They will understand you. You only pay R5.80! A small amount. They give you a receipt.  

3. Take the receipt and print out to the Receita Federal (Tax Authority)nearest you.There you grab a number and wait until called. Go early in the morning to be first in line. Usually 7am. They give you the CPF print in about 5 minutes. All of this took me under an hour.


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