The cadastro de pessoa física (CPF) is a bit like a National Insurance number in the UK, or a social security number. It’s your ticket to being a regular citizen with access to a bank account, a job, hospital treatment, and pretty much anything that a citizen – rather than just a visitor – would need.
I got mine this morning and it was a remarkably quick process. I had to get my passport translated into Portuguese, but armed with my passport and the translation – and the stamp in my passport showing that I am now resident in Brazil – I went to the government office. I waited for about ten minutes after handing over the documents, and then they gave me my number.
After masses of form-filling and bureaucracy to get my permanent visa I had expected the worst, but this was smooth and easy. I hope my next interaction with the government is as easy as that!