Tag Archives: registration

Jumping the hurdles of bureaucracy and winning!

28 Jun

This week we’ve been focusing on navigating the Brazilian bureaucracy system…in particular registering with the Federal Police for our ID cards. Being British the idea of ID cards, being registered on a national database and the police collecting EVERYONEs fingerprints is anathema. However, having lived in Germany for a couple of years where they require you to notify the local administration whenever you move town, I knew that that wasn’t universally the case. Luckily my parents were responsible for dealing with the bureaucracy in Germany, and I think they pulled the short straw, because so far, the bureaucracy here really doesn’t seem to be that bad. Every Carioca I meet tells me how frustrating the bureaucracy is here, how long everything takes and how I’m going to hate it. I wonder whether everybody has been told for so long that the bureaucracy here is terrible that they believe it or whether I’m yet to come across the true intricacies of the system.

The first step we had to take when we arrived was to get a CPF number. This is similar to the National Insurance number in the UK and is linked to your taxes and employment, however, here it is required for everything. Activating a phone card, opening a bank account, buying aeroplane tickets. It’s a necessity for living in Brazil. To get one is quite simple, you go to the Banco do Brazil, pay over some money, get a receipt and take the receipt to the federal office (Receito Federal) where they issue you with a number. The one challenge is having a proof of address because to rent a place or to pay electricity bills you need a CPF number and to get the CPF you need proof of your address! Luckily, we were able to get the guesthouse where we’re staying to write a letter with all the other documents stating that we were staying there (which we are).

Next step open a bank account. Now that has been a nightmare. I’m working at the University and have funding through both a State agency and a Federal agency. The State agency only wants to pay me through Banco do Brazil (the State bank), however, a month ago they stopped accepting foreigners (rumours tell me due to some Peruvians leaving the country with loads of debts). No amount of questioning higher powers was changing that policy so we switched tactics to Santandar. They were happy to open accounts for foreign students but couldn’t get their head round the fact that I was working at the University and not a student. Eventually after several visits to the bank (luckily with my boss as translator) some fudge was found “So she’s kind of a student” and I have a shiny new account with Santandar. Now I just have to hope that the State science agency will agree to pay me there and not at Banco do Brazil! We still haven’t got round to opening account for my other funding with the Federal agency at the Rio Federal Bank, Bradesco. Another adventure to be had!

The final thing we really needed to do was register with the Federal Police which we did today…hooray! I thought this was going to be a nightmare from what I’d read on blogs and with our smattering of Portuguese, but in the end it was pretty simple. The Federal Police website set out what we needed to take:

  1. photocopies of the relevant pages in our passport (visa, entrance stamp and ID page)
  2. 2 photos 3x4cm (UK passport sized)
  3. payment of two GRU forms (Code: 140120  Name: CARTEIRA DE ESTRANGEIRO DE PRIMEIRA VIA  R$124,23 and Code: 140082  Name: REGISTRO DE ESTRANGEIROS/RESTABELECIMENTO DE REGISTRO  R$64,58) which you can fill in and print out from the website and pay at a Banco do Brazil office or a Lotteria
  4. visa application form from the consulate where you applied for the visa
  5. registration application form which you can fill out on the website

Once you have the application form a code is produced which allows you to book an appointment slot. We went to the Federal Police at the International Airport in Rio (3rd floor, above departures, at the opposite end to the banks). The people there were lovely and realised we didn’t speak very much portuguese, there was a lot of smiling and nodding going on. They checked our forms, we had everything correct (except the middle name of my husband’s mother, so that was tipexed out and corrected – they love having your mothers and fathers name on everything), we were sent to sitdown for a little bit, then we had the delightful procedure of being photographed and having our fingerprints digitally recorded, our passports were stamped, we got our registration protocol and we were out of there!

Maybe this sounds like a lot of bureaucracy. But moving to any country requires a lot of procedures initially to get all those things that in your home country you do over many years. In Rio I have found everyone amazingly helpful and friendly and most of the information has been available on websites (with a little bit of help from Google Translate). Overall, I give a thumbs-up to Brazilian bureaucracy. Ask me again in a few months.