Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas, or short CPF, is the Brazilian equivalent of a tax file number, similar to the US Social Security Number or the UK National Insurance Number and if you are in Brazil for a while you will need one.
If you want to get a SIM card for your phone, get a Brazilian bank account or credit cards, want to order online or buy certain things, the CPF is required.
Now most embassies and NGO’s will handle the process of getting a CPF for their staff and spouses, but if you are not employed by them you must do it on your own.
Unfortunately, you cannot obtain a CPF as a foreigner online as it requires a voter registration number. So it has to be done in person at an authorized agency like Correios (Brazilian Post), Banco do Brasil and Caixa Econômica Federal. The cost for this service is 7 reais.
The documents you have to provide as a foreigner in Brazil are as follows:
· Official identification document with photo like passport or National Migration Registration Card (CRNM)
· Proof of Residency (for example an electricity or water bill)
· Certified translation of birth certificate
· Certified translation of marriage certificate
After you have made the payment, they will issue you a receipt. With this receipt go to the office of Receita Federal and tell them that you want a CPF. Show the necessary documents and receipt. The CPF will be issued.
The process is very quick and you will obtain your CPF on the spot.