ESTABLISHING YOURSELF IN BRAZIL - BASIC INFO

Discussion in 'The South of the USA FAQ' started by trilingual, Jun 15, 2003.

  1. trilingual

    trilingual Marquess

    If, like many of us, you're utterly succumbing to the lure of Brazil, here's some basic info to consider:

    1. RESIDENCE: As a visitor, you're allowed to be in Brazil up to 180 days within each calendar year, and each entry as a tourist is good for 90 days. You can extend for another 90 days by going to the Polícia Federal, going through some minor bureaucracy and paying a small fee. Alternatively, you can just leave the country (like by flying to Buenos Aires for a few days) and then return for a new 90 days. For longer stays, you would need to look into permanent residence, if you want to be legal. Right now, the only ways to do get a permanent resident visa are to be sponsored by a Brazilian employer, to obtain a visa as a retiree, or to marry a Brazilian. (In the latter case, the Brazilian courts have started to recognize the right of same-sex partners of Brazilian citizens to obtain permanent residence.) You can also look into non-permanent, longer-stay visas like student visas.

    2. TAXES: Permanent residence exposes you to Brazilian income tax, which, to put it mildly, is outrageously high. (In my own case, on an utterly middle-of-the-middle class U.S. retirement income, my Brazilian tax would be TWICE as high as my U.S. tax!) Brazil taxes your world-wide income, so it doesn't matter that you aren't working or earning money in Brazil. You still have to pay Brazilian tax, plus any taxes you owe in your home country. Brazil doesn't impose double taxation, so depending on the tax laws of your own country you may only have to pay tax in one or the other, but not both. However, check with a good tax adviser. Brazil has tax treaties with many countries, but NOT with the U.S. If there is a tax treaty, check with your own tax authorities for a copy to see if there are provisions that might be favorable to you. (For example, typical U.S. tax treaties exempt public pensions from being taxed in both countries; the recipient only pays taxes in the country of which s/he's a citizen. In the case of Brazil, such a treaty would be advantageous to me, because my pension is a public one.) Non-residents don't have to pay taxes in Brazil, so maintaining two homes and "commuting" between Brazil and your home country (or anywhere else, for that matter) for part of the year may make good tax sense. If you can read Portuguese, you can get lots of info at the Receita's website, http://www.receita.fazenda.gov.br

    3. TAKING THE PLUNGE: If you decide to spend longer periods of time in Brazil you'll need to be able to do business there. Here's the recommended Trilingual process for doing that. I strongly suggest going in the following order, because one thing leads to another:

    A) Rent a temporary furnished apartment. Get a written rental agreement. Later on in the process, you may need a notarized copy of the rental agreement and a copy of a utility bill for that address. The rental agency should be able to help you with that. I rented a temporary apartment from Copacabana Holiday, r. Barata Ribeiro, 80 and they were cool about helping me with the documents. If you rent a place through Carlo or Miketur or one of the other sources here, you also shouldn't have any problems.

    B) Before you can do ANYTHING in Brazil, you need to obtain a CPF (Brazilian Tax ID Number). In Brazil, this is the equivalent of a U.S. social security or driver's license number. Without one, you're a non-person and you can't do a thing. Non-residents can obtain a CPF. To get one, you have to begin the process at a Banco do Brasil branch. (If you don't speak Portuguese, take someone who does with you.) The easiest branch to use, because they process CPF requests every day (not all branches do) is the large one on Av. Copacabana between Siqueira Campos and Figueiredo Magalhães. You'll need to show your passport and a copy of the rental agreement for your temporary apartment. You'll then pay a fee of R$4,50 and will be given a receipt and a temporary slip of paper with your CPF number on it. BE SURE TO WRITE THE NUMBER DOWN IN PLACES YOU'LL BE SURE TO FIND IT AND TRY TO MEMORIZE IT, BECAUSE YOU'LL NEED IT ALL THE TIME. The next day, after the info has been entered into the computer system, you will have to take your receipt to the Receita office, either in Ipanema or downtown. In Ipanema, the office is on Barão da Torre (parallel to Visc. de Pirajá) about half-a-block on the right before getting to Praça da Paz (coming from Copacabana). Downtown, the Receita is in an imposing old building on Av. Pres. Antônio Carlos. Eventually, you'll receive an official-looking blue plastic card with your name and CPF on it. This will be mailed to the address on file with the Banco do Brasil/Receita.

    Once you have a CPF, you need to maintain it and keep your data up to date. Once you have a permanent address, you should provide that to the Receita. You have to go through the same process described above to change your address. Also, if you're a non-resident, you have to file an annual "Declaração de Isento" (Declaration of Exemption) stating that you're a non-resident. This can be done on-line at the Receita site, from August through November of each year. Don't forget, because otherwise your CPF number can be cancelled and you have to start all over again!

    Bring a book or magazine when you apply for your CPF; lines at Banco do Brasil and the Receita can sometimes be long. However, they use a "take-a-number" system and the process doesn't take very long once your number is called.

    C) Buy a post-paid cell phone. (The rates are cheaper than the pre-paids.) You'll need a phone for any number of reasons, not the least of which is for it's phone number! There are several companies. I chose TIM, because it's a GSM provider, so I can use the tri-band phone I purchased in Brazil in any country with GSM service. When I'm in the U.S., I just have to switch the memory chip (very easy to do) in order to use my U.S. cell phone company. I don't need two different phones.

    D) Open a bank account. This a bit trickier, because it seems that it's technically not legal for non-residents to open accounts in Brazil right now. However, just ask at various banks. The Banco Itaú branch on Av. Atlântica across from the Copacabana Palace hotel was willing to open an account for me, but required either a permanent lease or a notarized statement from a Brazilian friend that I was living at his address. They wouldn't accept the rental agreement on a temporary apartment.

    I was able to open an account just using the temporary rental agreement at a Bradesco branch downtown, on the corner of r. do Ouvidor and r. Gonçalves Dias, very near the Confeitaria Colombo. Sr. Cristiano was the official who opened the account for me; just ask for him. He sits upstairs on the second floor. However, ask at other Bradesco branches in Copacabana, which may be more convenient. Keep asking until someone says "yes." It probably would help to go with a Brazilian friend/acquaintance who also has an account at that bank.

    An advantage to opening an account at Bradesco or Itaú is that they are the largest Brazilian banks, with branches and ATMs on virtually every street corner of the country. If you plan to travel within Brazil, that can be very useful! Also, Brazilian banks have very sophisticated and well-developed online banking systems, so it's easy to take care of paying bills online when you're out of the country, but again you'll need some Portuguese to do that!

    To open the account at Bradesco, I had to show my passport, CPF, a notarized copy of my temporary rental agreement and a copy of a utility bill for that address (even though the account wasn't in my name). The account came with a Visa debit card, and I also got a Gold Visa credit card. The credit card is probably not really necessary, unless you plan to buy airline tickets on GOL, which only accepts Brazilian issued credit cards in payment.

    You also may want to think about keeping your home-country bank account with HSBC, Fleet (BankBoston) or Citibank. HSBC, in particular, has lots of branches in Brazil. Brazil's Banco Real is a subsidiary of ABN-Amro and also has quite a few branches, but I don't know how much relationship there is between the parent and the Brazilian operations.

    E) Rent or purchase a permanent place. There are many ways to do this. Carlo Romano can be very helpful in advising you about the process. You can also use a realtor, or go through the classified ads, or just "cold-call" at buildings you're interested in (i.e., ask the porter if there are any apartments for rent/sale in the building and, if there are, how to contact the owner). Real estate law in Brazil is similar to that in other Western countries, so there shouldn't be many surprises. Procedurally, it's extremely important for everything to be written, and written properly, because oral agreements count for zero in the Brazilian justice system when it comes to real estate deals. You'll need to line up an attorney who's familiar with real estate matters to assist you. Again, Carlo can be helpful in this area, but there are plenty of other sources, too, for finding an attorney. Just remember that there's no such thing as title insurance in Brazil. If you are purchasing you will need an attorney who represents your interest to do the title search to be sure there are no impediments to the sale!

    If you read Portuguese, there's a good guide to these issues called something like "Guia dos seus direitos" in the law section of most large bookstores. There are also good consumer-oriented titles covering consumer, real estate and landlord/tenant law, and I'd recommend buying and reading some. Once you have a better feel for how Brazilian law works, you'll be more comfortable with what you're doing.

    Once you have a permanent address, be sure to change the address on your CPF, bank account and cell phone account.

    F) Change the gas and light accounts to your name. Light (the electric company) has an office on Av. Copacabana right across from the Cassino Atlântico shopping center (at the end of Copacabana, near the Sofitel). CEG, the gas company, is on one of the side streets in Copacabana. I've forgotten the exact address, but the porter in your building will know where it is, or you can just look it up in the phone book!

    G) To simplify life, have the gas, electric, phone and other utility accounts put on automatic debit. You can do this online or at your bank branch.

    H) Start furnishing and decorating and start turning into a "Brazilian!"

    I) Please add to this thread with your own experiences and tips for getting established in Brazil!
     
  2. Jake

    Jake Guest

    RE: ESTABLISHING YOURSELF IN BRAZIL - SOME BASICS

    Tri -

    Regarding a CPF (B above), I had to start the process at the American Consulate with my passport to obtain a declaration that I was who the passport said I was before going to the Banco do Brasil. (Sorry, I've got the document in my office and don't remember the name of it.)

    Also, CPFs are now available through Brazilian Consulates in the U.S.

    See you around the neighborhood in the fall. Will keep you posted but the casa renovation - or, more correctly, demolition - is in full swing. Hope you have a smooooth move. Hugs.
     
  3. trilingual

    trilingual Marquess

    RE: Renovations

    I recently rented a long-term apartment (with an option to buy) which needed considerable work. Through friends, I found a couple of guys who do wood floors and painting, plumbing and electrical work. I'm very pleased with the work they did; they were very conscientious and quality-oriented and got everything done within the time stipulated. If you find yourself needing similar work done, please e-mail me and I can give you their contact information. You will need to be able to speak Portuguese, or have someone who does, in order to deal with these guys.

    To give you an idea, my new place is a spacious 2-bedroom, 1 - 1/2 bath apartment in in an older Art-Deco building in Copacabana, a few doors away from the building Odilo's apartment is in. Rent is R$800/mo. Including condo fees and property tax (which are customary for tenants to pay in Brazil) it all comes to about R$1100, or US$385/mo. at R$2,85 = US$1. This rent is low, because the place needed renovations which the landlord didn't want to do. If the apartment had been fixed up by the owner, the base rent would be more like R$1200. There's no garage space (I didn't care because I don't plan to own a car); if there were the rent would also be higher by a couple hundred reais.

    I don't have the exact dimensions of the apartment, but it's at least 80 sq.m. or 880 sq.ft.. It may be as much as 100 sq.m., or 1100 sq.ft. There was old, ugly wall-to-wall carpeting in the living room, bedrooms and corridors that I had removed and I had the underlying tropical wood parquet floors sanded and refinished, plus all the rooms painted. I also had the ugly brown tile in the bathroom painted, using an epoxy paint that everyone swears is very effective over tile. For this, Carlos, the floor/painting guy, charged R$1800, or about US$630 for more than 2 weeks of work. I had to buy the paint and supplies (rollers, tape, spackling materials, etc.) separately, but the R$1800 included the Sinteko wood finish and any replacement wood to fix the floors prior to refinishing, plus the labor of two assistants! Paint and supplies came to another US$350 or so. (For the die-hard decorators among us, the living room/corridor/guest bedroom are in a grayish blue, with white ceilings, trim and woodwork; the master bedroom is a medium olive green with white trim, the bathroom is a basic cream which works with the existing floor -- if I decide to buy the place, I'll redo the bathroom tile completely -- and the wood floors came out a luscious honey color, kind of like bird's-eye maple, but a bit darker. :9)

    All of the electrical/plumbing work, done by Waltemir, a friend of Carlos, came to R$2500, or US$875. Again, supplies were extra, but the work of two other helpers was included. Waltemir replaced all the plugs and switches (which were old and ugly and in dubious condition from a safety standpoint) and installed some additional switches and outlets, which involved breaking and patching some walls in the all-masonry construction. I had Waltemir install track lighting in the living room and hall, and ceiling fans in the living room, 2 bedrooms, kitchen and service area. (All the lighting and fans cost about US$750.) Waltemir installed the three air-conditioners I had to buy for the living room and two bedrooms. (Springer, two 7500 BTU units and one 10000 BTU, at about US$300/each.) He also took out the bidet and replaced the toilet in the bathroom, replaced the sink in the half-bath, installed two wall-mounted gas water heaters (one heats the water in the bathroom, the other one heats the water in the kitchen -- the layout of the apartment would have made it too difficult and expensive to just use one heater), replaced all the hardware in the bathroom and half-bath, ripped out the existing sink and counter top in the kitchen (in preparation for installing new ones) and cutting a channel in the kitchen tile in which the new granite countertop will be embedded. Waltemir also removed the old aluminum/plastic shower enclosure ("box") and the foot-high (30cm) broken marble base of the shower, which was replaced with a lower granite base. "Extras" included the costs of all the new plugs and fixtures which I had to buy at a hardware place (several hundred bucks worth), a new sliding door for the washroom (the old one was shot), and the cost of the granite shower base. Plus all the track lighting, ceiling fans and air conditioners, of course! Again, this was more than 2 weeks worth of work.

    A new glass sliding shower door came to R$640, or about US$220, including installation by the glazier down the street.

    A small basic kitchen (white wood cabinets, a few with glass doors), new granite counter top and stainless sink, Bosch 5-burner built-in stove and Bosch medium-size frost-free fridge) will be about US$2,000.

    A good-quality living room set consisting of 3-place sofa, 2-place sofa bed, and two arm chairs will also be about US$2,000. (They're sort of classic boxy/art-deco, with slip covers instead of full upholstery. Perfect for a beach-neighborhood apartment!) I still need to buy beds, a dining room set, a microwave, TV/stereo, bookshelves, curtains, some area rugs, some things to hang on the walls, and a few other odds and ends. Prices for these should be similar to or less than in the U.S.

    That gives you an idea of rent and what fixing up a place in Rio might come to. It's not free, but compared to costs for similar projects in the U.S., it's much cheaper, even with a weaker dollar! For all you Euro-trash out there, it'll be even cheaper! ;)
     
  4. trilingual

    trilingual Marquess

    RE: ESTABLISHING YOURSELF IN BRAZIL - SOME BASICS

    >Regarding a CPF (B above), I had to start the process at the
    >American Consulate with my passport to obtain a declaration
    >that I was who the passport said I was before going to the
    >Banco do Brasil.

    That wasn't my experience, as you can see. I just went to the Banco do Brasil with my passport and proof of local address and that was all they asked for! Dealing with the American Consulate can be a pain, so my suggestion is to skip it and try going to the Banco do Brasil without that extra redundant document, as I did. (Truth be told, I never even knew such a thing existed!) At worst, they'll tell you it's necessary and you'll have to go deal with the consulate, but you won't lose that much time if you start your efforts in the morning, instead of after lunch time like the very lazy retiree I've become!

    >Also, CPFs are now available through Brazilian Consulates in
    >the U.S.

    That's an interesting bit of information! I haven't checked with the consulate here, so I don't know what's involved. My personal preference is to keep a low profile with the consulate, to avoid awkward questions about length of stay, purpose of visit, etc., but I may just be the teensiest bit paranoid in that regard. Being able to get a CPF here, before going to Brazil, may be great! But it may only be for people who are also getting a work visa. If someone obtains a CPF at a consulate, please post here about your experience (what was required, etc.)
     
  5. trilingual

    trilingual Marquess

    RE: Medical Insurance

    If you're going to be living in Brazil for extended periods, you want to be sure you've got medical insurance that will cover you while you're outside your own country. The following info is for U.S. residents. Residents of other countries need to check with their own insurers to determine what kind of coverage they have abroad. If additional coverage is necessary, look online for "travel medical insurance" and "medical evacuation."

    Americans should first check with their insurance carriers about coverage. If coverage isn't satisfactory, consider switching to Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which covers you worldwide. BC/BS also seems to have signed an agreement with a Brazilian insurer, because almost all private hospitals in Brazil seem to be affiliated with BC/BS now! That means (at least in theory) that if you're hospitalized in Brazil they'll take care of all the paperwork for you. Individual doctors aren't affiliated abroad. You'll have to make payment arrangements directly with them and then submit a request for reimbursement to BC/BS.

    If you're covered by Kaiser Permanente you're also OK. Kaiser will cover emergency hospital care and non-routine doctor's services abroad on a reimbursable basis. Kaiser also will transfer its members from foreign hospitals back to a Kaiser facility once the member is stabilized after an emergency hospitalization, at no cost to the member.

    You may not want to be hospitalized for any extended period of time while abroad, however your own insurance policy may not cover medical evacuations. In that case, you need to purchase separate medical evacuation insurance. There are numerous companies that provide this kind of service. I signed up with Medjet Assistance, which I'd seen written about in the travel sections of the NY Times and SF Chronicle. Unlike some companies, Medjet will transport you back to the hospital you choose, and not just the nearest suitable U.S. medical facility. That means they'll take you back to a facility in your home town (like Seattle) and not just drop you in a hospital in Miami, which may be far from your family, friends and your own doctors. The cost is quite reasonable, considering that a medical evacuation from someplace as far as Brazil could run $50,000 and up! You can find info at http://www.medjetassistance.com You can check out other companies providing such services by Googling on "medical evacuation". Some of these companies also provide medical insurance for persons traveling abroad, and there are some companies based in Europe and elsewhere.

    Hopefully you'll never need this info, but better safe than sorry!
     
  6. trilingual

    trilingual Marquess

    RE: Bank Accounts in Brazil

    If you're going to live in Brazil, you'll need a bank account. Lately it seems to be harder to open an account as a non-resident. The banks have been saying it's because of a Central Bank directive. I finally got around to calling the Central Bank's 800 number (0800-99-2345, within Brazil) to get more information, and I was advised that there is NO Central Bank prohibition or restriction on opening accounts for non-residents denominated in reais. Repeat, NO Central Banki restriction.

    According to the CB, commercial banks aren't required to open accounts for anyone, but if there's an issue it isn't because of anything the CB has done.

    The following are the two Central Bank circular numbers that govern real-denominated accounts for non-residents: 2677 and 3187. They're in Portuguese, and can be viewed (and printed out) from the Central Bank's site at www.bcb.gov.br (click on Legislação e Normas). It might be a good idea to have them with you when you try to open an account, or have the Brazilian who's assisting you open an account take them. You'll also probably do better if you ask to speak to the branch manager about opening an account, rather than one of the front-line staff. The branch managers are pretty knowledgeable, when the front-line staff aren't.
     
  7. trilingual

    trilingual Marquess

    RE: Permanent Residence and Citizenship in Brazil

    For full information, you will need to inquire at the Brazilian consulate or embassy that serves the city where you live, or the Polícia Federal here in Brazil. A lot of information from these sources is available on-line. The services of a Brazilian immigration lawyer also may be necessary, depending on your situation.

    Generally, you can become a permanent resident of Brazil in several ways:

    1) Marrying a Brazilian citizen (including becoming the long-term same-sex partner of a Brazilian citizen);

    2) Immigrating as a retiree (at any age, according to at least one federal policement I spoke with) in which case you must demonstrate that you're retired and have income of at least US$2000 per month (if you're single) that can be legally transferred to Brazil, along with proof of good character, etc.;

    3) As an investor. According to "O Globo," as of today the amount required for investment has been lowered from US$200,000 to US$50,000. This makes an investor's visa available to many more foreigners than before. The investor must agree to create at least ten (10) jobs for Brazilians within a period of two (2) years from entry. This may be advantageous from a tax standpoint, because it should be possible to incorporate and be eligible for the many tax breaks available to businesses in Brazil that aren't available to individual taxpayers. If you ever wanted to open a bed-and-breakfast (or maybe even your own sauna!) this is your chance!

    You can also apply for extended-stay temporary visas:

    1) A student visa;

    2) A temporary work visa if employed by a Brazilian company or institution (according to today's "O Globo," such visas will be granted for a period of one year, renewable for another year).

    These would be the most common ways of emigrating to Brazil or staying for an extended period. There are others, for which you should consult a Brazilian embassy/consulate or an immigration attorney.

    CITIZENSHIP: Obtaining permanent residence in Brazil is NOT the same thing as becoming a Brazilian citizen. As a permanent resident you remain a citizen of your own country and are a foreigner (resident alien) in Brazil. Brazilian citizenship used to be difficult to obtain, but it has been made easier in recent years. Among other things, a very long waiting period has been shortened to about four years after becoming a permanent resident. To become a citizen, you have to demonstrate a knowledge of Brazil and the Portuguese language. If you are interested in becoming a citizen, you should consult the websites of the Policia Federal and the Justice Ministry for details. You should also consult a Brazilian immigration attorney.

    Brazilian law now allows for dual nationality, so if your own country also permits dual nationality (like the U.S. and many European countries) you can become a Brazilian citizen and obtain a Brazilian passport WITHOUT giving up your original citizenship. In other words, you will be a citizen of both countries. However, this means that you're covered by laws applying to citizens in both countries (like tax and military service laws) and when you travel you must enter and leave Brazil using your Brazilian passport and you must enter and leave your original country using that country's passport. Got it? :) If you are interested in dual nationality, you should consult the authorities and an immigration attorney in your original country, as well as in Brazil, BEFORE obtaining Brazilian citizenship, to be sure you proceed properly and do not accidentally do something that revokes or cancels your original citizenship! Consider yourself warned!!! :+
     
  8. trilingual

    trilingual Marquess

    RE: Income Tax in Brazil

    If you become a permanent resident of Brazil, you become subject to Brazilian income tax on your world-wide income. Brazilian tax is high (at least by American standards). My income tax in Brazil, as a single individual in the highest bracket, would be virtually double my federal tax in the U.S. (Americans living abroad would not have to pay any state or municipal income taxes back in the U.S.) There are almost no deductions or exemptions in Brazil that would apply to single people, which could help reduce your tax liability in Brazil.

    Brazil applies reciprocity in the case of countries that also recognize the principle of no double taxation. (For example, the U.S. and the U.K.) That means that, even in the absence of a tax treaty, you don't pay your full income tax in both countries. In my case, since my U.S. tax would be less than my Brazilian tax, I would first pay my U.S. tax, and then pay the difference between that amount and my Brazilian tax to Brazil.

    If there's a tax treaty between Brazil and your country (there are no treaties with the U.S. or the U.K.) you may enjoy additional tax benefits. A common benefit is the exemption of public pensions from one country being taxed in the other country. So, if part of your pension comes from your country's social security/insurance system, it would be exempt from taxation in Brazil. If all or part of your pension is the result of having been a civil servant/public employee, that also would be exempt from taxation in Brazil, under many treaties. The Italian treaty exempts rents collected in Italy from taxation in Brazil. Other treaties may have particular provisions that could make retiring to Brazil MUCH easier for you!

    You'll have to read the text of the treaty or agreement in your own language, to learn if it includes provisions that apply to your situation. Ask the tax authority in your home country for a copy. You may be able to find the text on their website. According to the Brazilian tax authority website (www.receita.fazenda.gov.br) Brazil currently has tax treaties with the following countries.

    Argentina
    Austria
    Belgium
    Canada
    Chile
    China
    Czech Republic
    Denmark
    Ecuador
    Finland
    France
    Germany
    Hungary
    India
    Italy
    Japan
    Luxembourg
    Netherlands
    Norway
    Philippines
    Portugal
    Slovakia
    South Korea
    Spain
    Sweden

    The only general exemption from paying income tax in Brazil that I'm aware of is if you have a major medical condition (heart disease, cancer, etc.). There is an illustrative list of conditions on the Receita website. With certification of such a condition from a public medical official in Brazil, your PENSION income, from whatever source, is exempt from Brazilian income tax. Other income, like rents, dividends, interest, etc., would still be taxable. If this situation applies to you, you should consult a Brazilian tax advisor before applying for the exemption. DO NOT appy for this exemption BEFORE acquiring your pemanent visa, as it could affect your ability to get the visa in the first place! Become "disabled" for tax purposes AFTER you've got your visa and established your permanent residence in Brazil.

    If you have savings in tax-deferred investments in your own country (like an American IRA or other tax-deferred private retirement funds) that are subject to taxation upon withdrawal, and you plan to withdraw large sums to purchase an apartment or invest in Brazil (or any other reason) be sure you withdraw the money BEFORE you become a permanent resident in Brazil. Otherwise, it will be taxed by Brazil as part of your world-wide income!

    This is just a bare sketch of Brazilian tax law as of the date of this posting. For details, consult the Receita website and/or a reliable tax accounting firm that specializes in tax issues affecting foreigners living or working in Brazil. One such firm that I've consulted is Ernst & Young's Brazilian office (www.ey.com.br), but there are many others.
     
  9. Doug69

    Doug69 Time-out

    RE: ESTABLISHING YOURSELF IN BRAZIL - SOME BASICS

    >If someone obtains a CPF at
    >a consulate, please post here about your experience (what was
    >required, etc.)

    Obtaining a CPF at the Brazilian Consulate in New York was difficult, annoying, and wasteful. They required a certified, original copy of one's birth certificate, which many people don't have and which can be very difficult and time-consuming (if not impossible) to get from one's hospital of birth.

    Way, way easier than either the Consulate OR Banco do Brasil is to go to a Post Office (correio). I don't know if they all provide CPF's, but I know the larger ones do, and the one behind Praca General Osorio in Ipanema is incredibly quick and easy, even in the middle of the day. You fill out an easy form, pay R4,50, show your passport and rental agreement (they barely look), and give you a receipt. Three days later, you receive by mail a card which you take to the Federal office (I forget the name) and they give you your number on the spot.

    At least as I understand it, that's the same process every estrangeiro has to endure. The only difference is it takes way less time and is way easier to do it at the Correio than at Banco do Brasil or Brazilian Consulate in the U.S.