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The RNE in Brazil: Registro Nacional de Estrangeiros in Brazil

The RNE (Registro Nacional de Estrangeiros) number appears on the permanent foreign resident's identity card (Cédula de Identidade para Estrangeiros - CIE). This foreigner's identity card, commonly referred to throughout Brazil as the RNE, is the equivalent to a Brazilian citizen's identity card and is considered as such whenever a person is asked for proof of identity in Brazil.

It is recommended to carry a certified photocopy and only carry the original when it will be necessary to prove identity. If the original is lost the replacement procedure is costly and time consuming.

The Federal Police (Polícia Federal) is responsible for issuing new or replacement CIE cards.

How to Apply for an RNE in Brazil

To be entitled to an RNE in Brazil, a foreigner must have a permanent visa which should have been obtained from the Brazilian Consulate in their home country.

Within 30 days of arrival in Brazil, a foreigner must go to the Federal Police office closest to their place of residence, taking the following documents:

  • Two recent photographs, size 3x4cm (color, white background, undated, on smooth paper)
  • Passport and photocopies of the used pages of the passport or travel document; including page with Brazilian visa (a notarised copy of the passport may be required)
  • The original visa application form
  • Embarkation/disembarkation card
  • Proof of payment of required fees

The required fees are payable at banks, post offices and lottery shops. There are two fees:

  • 1. Alien (Foreigner) Registration (Registro de Estrangeiro)
  • 2. First-time File Creation (Carteira de Estrangeiro de Primeira Via)

Additional documents may be required depending on the individual circumstances. The applicant will be fingerprinted and interviewed during the application process. Once the application has been made, the applicant immediately obtains a protocol number (protocolo) which serves as temporary evidence of residency status. An individual is considered legal in Brazil with this document even if their visa expires. They may also apply for a  Carteira de Trabalho or work-permit, valid until the process is complete and they may seek employment in Brazil or set up their own business.

It is suggested to avoid wearing very casual attire such as shorts or sleeveless shirts to submit the CIE application as entry to the Polícia Federal building may be denied. Waiting times can be very long.

The CIE card with the RNE number on it can take six months or more to process. Applicants can check the status of their RNE application on the Ministry of Justice website.

Note: If a resident has a change of personal information, such as a name change, it must be submitted to the Policía Federal within 30 days.

Paying the RNE Administration Fees

Each administration fee must be accompanied by a completed GRU (Guia de Recolhimento da União) form. Each GRU can be filled out online and printed from the Federal Police website. Foreigners should choose the GRU-FUNAPOL. Payment can be made at banks, post offices and lottery shops.

The GRU contains sections in which to fill in the applicant's name, address, full names of both parents, the nearest Federal Police office to the applicant's address (from a drop-down menu), and the type of application being made. Once the type of application is chosen, the required fee is automatically filled in on the form.

There are two fees payable. The two fees for first-time applicants are for:

  1. Registro de Estrangeiro (code number/código da receita: 140082)
  2. Carteira de Estrangeiro de Primeira Via (code number/código da receita: 140120)

Note: It is necessary to download a security certificate from the Federal Police website prior to downloading the GRU.

There are no Internet facilities available within the Federal Police offices. However, it is usually easy to find a despachante (administrative facilitator) office nearby providing printing services and assistance with filling in the form for a small fee.

Renewing the CIE

The RNE number is permanent, however each CIE card has a specified validity period. The renewal process must begin before the expiration date. The following are required:

  • A completed form Requerer Registro/Renovação e Anistia (this form must be completed and saved online, then printed)
  • The applicant's CIE card (plus notarised copy)
  • Two recent photographs, size 3x4cm (color, white background, undated, on smooth paper)
  • Proof of payment of the required fee

Additional documents may be required, depending on circumstance. The administration fee for CIE renewal must be accompanied by a completed GRU (Guia de Recolhimento da União) form. The fee payable for renewals is the:

  • Carteira de Estrangeiro de Primeira Via (code number/código da receita: 140120)

Note: Disabled people and those aged 60 and over do not need to renew the CIE card.