BLOG What’s a cpf, what’s in it for me and how do I...

What’s a cpf, what’s in it for me and how do I arrange one?


What’s a cpf?

CPF stands for “Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas”. It is a cadastral registration of a person. It is sometimes confused with a citizen service number, but it is not. You do not have to start paying taxes after registration. It is just a number with which you identify yourself.

And with which you maneuver yourself more easily through the Brazilian bureaucracy

What’s in it for me?

  • You can buy a concert ticket online.
  • You can buy a cheap bus ticket online.
  • You can buy cheap airline tickets online. When booking online, you are sometimes asked for your cpf. If you do not have it at hand, you will be referred to the English-language website, where the airline tickets sometimes are a lot more expensive.
  • You can buy a domain.
  • You can buy a house.
  • Open a bank account.
  • Take a telephone subscription.
  • Subscribe to a newspaper.
  • Request a discount card from the supermarket.

Are you planning to stay longer in Brazil or do business, then you really need it.

How do I arrange a cpf?

You arrange a cpf fairly quickly in 4 steps.

This is how I arranged it in São Paulo:

Step 1
Request a CPF in a post office (correios). Take with you:

  • your passport,
  • a Brazilian address, for example of your hostel or Airbnb room,
  • a Brazilian telephone number, for example from a Brazilian friend. In step 2 you can have that telephone number removed again.

You pay seven reais at the counter, after which you receive proof of payment.

Step 2
With your proof of payment, you go to the “Secretaria de Receita Federal do Brasil”, near the Sao Bento metro station. This is a government administration office that is located on the second floor of the Shopping Light department store. There they register you again and you eventually receive an A4 with your cpf card printed on it.

Step 3
With the A4 you walk to the key maker (chaveiro) on the ground floor, who plasticizes your pass for three reais.

Step 4
On the back of your pass, you will be asked to confirm the registration on the website with the control code that can also be found on the back of your pass. When you have done that, you will be notified that the registration has been successful.

It seems like a hassle, but a cpf is arranged in an hour.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the e-book 20 tips for a safe trip to Brazil for free.