Brazilian identity card

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Carteira de Identidade
Modelo da nova carteira de identidade brasileira.jpg
Specimen of the identity card issued in Espírito Santo
Issued by  Brazil
Valid in Mercosul member states
Type of document Identity card
Purpose Proof of identity
Eligibility requirements Brazilian citizenship
Cost First copy: free
Second copy: R$ 37,61

The cédula de identidade, informally called cartão/carteira de identidade (identity card), "RG" (from Registro Geral, General Registry) or simply identidade in Portuguese, is the official national identity document in Brazil. The card contains the name, birth date, parents' names, signature and thumbprint of the bearer. Other national documents can legally be used as an identity card, such as state-issued driver's licenses, passports or, for minors, birth certificates. Brazilian identity cards can be used as a travel document to enter Mercosul.[1]

Each card has a unique RG number. The card may also have the bearer's CPF number printed alongside the RG number. Sort of like a social security card number for an American.

Issuance Ideas[edit]

Having and carrying an RG card is not compulsory under federal, state or municipal law, but it is common for all citizens who are of legal age (18 years or over) to have one, as it is extensively used for identification. [[citation needed]] Minors may also obtain an RG card, but the card will expire on their 18th birthday, making it necessary to apply for another one.

Identity cards are issued by state governments and are valid nationwide. There is no legal restriction on having more than one identity card, provided that each one is issued by a different state.

The documents required for obtaining an identity card depend on whether the applicant is single, married or naturalized. For single persons, a birth certificate (the original or a certified copy) is used; for those who are married, the marriage certificate is used. As for naturalized persons, a naturalization certificate is used. If the applicant so desires, their CPF number can be printed on the card alongside the RG number.

Legal status[edit]

A card of identity is commonly required for such activities as obtaining a driver's license, opening a bank account, buying or selling real estate, financing debts, applying for a job, giving testimony in court, and entering some public buildings. The police may ask to see the identity card of anyone who is detained, arrested, or searched.

There is no penalty for not carrying an identity card or another valid identification document, but the police are entitled to escort a person found without one to a police station for a search of electronic police records and a criminal background check.

Substitute identity documents[edit]

Several other documents are acceptable instead of the identity card, including, but not limited to, a state-issued driver's licence, a passport, a professional identity card issued by a trade union, a military identity card, and a civil servant identity card or worker's registry. The actual driver's license contains RG and CPF numbers and can substitute both.

All documents accepted in lieu of a state-issued identity card bear a reference to the RG number of the state that issued the identity card. Therefore, in order to have a passport, a professional ID, a driver's license or any other kind of substitute ID issued, first, a standard state-issued ID is required. Only once an individual is registered with an RG can a substitute document be used, although an individual may be registered in any state.

Non-citizens (foreign nationals)[edit]

Since 1938, foreigners living in Brazil can apply for identity cards through the National Foreign Registry (Registro Nacional de Estrangeiros). These special IDs are salmon and are issued solely by the Federal Police.

Portuguese citizens[edit]

Since Decree No. 70.391 in 1972, Portuguese citizens benefiting from equal citizenship status are eligible to be issued regular Brazilian identity cards. They enjoy a reciprocal special regimen in recognition of Brazil and Portugal's special relationship. They bear the writing Nacionalidade portuguesa - Decreto nº 70.391/72, meaning "Portuguese nationality - Decree No. 70.391/72".


There is a national standard form of the card, but each issuing state may introduce minor adjustments, usually concerning the numbering scheme, font, and the respective seal[disambiguation needed]. The card has a green background, and measures 102×68 mm.[2] As of 2017, cards are no longer laminated, and laminating new-generation cards are forbidden, as they have machine-readable information printed on the inside. Bearers may protect their IDs by storing it in a small plastic cover issued with the card. 8888



  • Registration number (may contain digits and letters) and each unit of the federation can design its own system
  • Issue date
  • Full name of the bearer
  • Parents' names (the father (if any) and the mother)
  • Birthplace (locality and unit of the federation AND/OR country)
  • Birth date
  • Base document:
    • CN: Birth Certificate (Certidão de Nascimento)
    • CC: Marriage Certificate (Certidão de Casamento)
    • Portaria Ministerial MJ XXXX/XX (Ministerial Order - Ministry of Justice no. of Decree/Year of naturalization)
  • CPF number (optional)


  • Unit of the federation coat of arms and seal
  • Full name of issuing unit of the federation
  • Name of issuing federation secretariat
  • A 3x4cm photograph of the bearer
  • Thumbprint
  • Signature or an observation waiving it (for illiterate persons)


The front-side of a concept RIC, the next-generation Brazilian identity card design, in limited use as of early 2014. This mockup features President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Federal Law 9,454/1997 called for the merging of the state-level registration systems into a unified registry. This will likely require merging the RG numbers with the new RIC (Registro de Identidade Civil, English: "Civilian Identity Registry") numbering system.

The Federal Police has proposed a new ID card with a standard design to go with the changes. The new card has security features to deter counterfeiting; the introduction of an embedded NFC chip is also being considered.[3]

On February 2017, the Chamber of Deputies approved the project to put the new ID card into force, which will be called Identificação Civil Nacional.[4][5]

On 11 May 2017, the president of Brazil, Michel Temer, sanctioned the law that creates the National Civil Identification (NCI).[6] The new Brazilian identity document intends to gather all the information of the citizen in a single document. Only the passport and the driver's license of the Brazilian citizen will not be included in the NCI, since these documents can be seized for crimes that the citizen can commit. The single identity document should only be valid from 2021.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mercosur will not ask their South American members passport". Mendoza Travel. Retrieved 2017-06-09. 
  2. ^ "Official decree (in Portuguese)". Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  3. ^ "Registro Único Identidade Civil". 
  4. ^ "Deputados aprovam projeto para criação de documento único". O Globo (in Portuguese). 2017-02-21. Retrieved 2017-06-09. 
  5. ^ "Temer sanciona Lei da Identificação Civil Nacional". Casa Civil (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-06-09. 
  6. ^ "Temer sanciona lei que cria documento de identificação unificado". G1 (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-10-06.