Tag Archives: identity

Identity headaches in Brazil

I had an appointment at the federal police office in Lapa recently. It’s the big building in São Paulo where foreigners need to sort out their papers and Brazilians get their passports…

I was due to collect my RNE – my permanent ID number that effectively gives me an identity in Brazil. I have a social security number already, which has allowed me to at least open a bank account and get a phone contract, but the RNE is needed for anything more complex.

When I went to collect it they told me they can’t issue it because none of my papers show my mother’s name. My passport, driving licence, marriage certificate, birth certificate… nothing shows the name of my mother. I offered to write it down for them, but they wanted some kind of proof – not just trust in me that I would give them the correct name.

I had to leave empty-handed. None of my documents show the name of my parents, so I wondered what I could do. Eventually I found that the British Consulate General issues certificates of identity, which seemed like the answer so I paid them a visit today.

They refused to give me an identity certificate because I could not prove the name of my mother… but they did at least show me how I can make a request for a new birth certificate to be sent from the UK with my parent’s names on it.

So I now need to apply for a new birth certificate, so I can then get some consular ID, so I can then get my RNE, so I can then get my Brazilian driver’s licence… each document appears to be waiting for another one to be approved.

Welcome to Brazil, where a passport and original birth certificate are entirely useless if you can’t tell someone the name of your mother!
Brazil Presidential Election in London