One of the most required documents in Brasil, for almost everything you do, including buying property is CPF – Cadastro de Pessoa Física, which is the Taxpayer Registry for individuals. For companies it is called CNPJ – Cadastro Nacional de Pessoa Jurídica, but here we will deal only with the individual one.
Foreigners, residing abroad and whose assets in Brazil are subject to public registration (such as properties, vehicles, boats, airplanes, partnership, bank accounts or investment in the financial market) must register. A CPF number is granted only once and it is not possible to apply a second time.
An application for a CPF can be done in your own country, through the Brazilian General Consulate.
You will need to fill and sign a form – Ficha cadastral de Pessoa Física (form for individuals residing abroad), available at Receita Federal’s site – http://www.receita.fazenda.gov.br/Aplicacoes/ATCTA/CpfEstrangeiro/defaulting.htm, a photocopy of a valid passport plus the receipt of payment of the consular fee, which will vary from country to country.
Documents will be sent by the Consulate General to Secretaria da Receita Federal (Brazilian Inland Revenue), in Brasília and it will take about two months to process it. The Consulate General will give you a receipt that you should retain.
You can follow the progress of your application through Receita Federal’s site – www.receita.fazenda.gov.br . Once there, click on Cadastros, then on CPF, then on Andamento Pedido. On Local de Atendimento select Exterior. Enter Código de Atendimento and Data de Atendimento as shown on your receipt, given by the Consulate General.
All queries concerning CPF registration, updating processes, cancellations or change of records should be addressed directly to the Secretaria da Receita Federal, in Brasilia: http://www.receita.fazenda.gov.br/AtendContrib/email/formulario/Formulario.asp. You will need to mention your Código de Atendimento which will be on your receipt.
Once you obtain your CPF card, make sure to keep it safe as an application for a copy (segunda via) can only be submitted in Brazil.