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 inMercosul member states
Type of documentIdentity card
PurposeProof of identity
Eligibility requirementsBrazilian citizenship
CostFirst copy: free
Second copy: accordingly to federative unit issuer

The cédula de identidade is the official national identity document in Brazil. It is often informally called carteira de identidade (identity card), "RG" (from Registro Geral, General Registry) or simply identidade in Portuguese. The card contains the name, birthdate, parents' names, signature and thumbprint of the bearer. Other national documents can legally be used as an identity card, such as a federative unit-issued driver's license, passport or, for minors, a birth certificate. Brazilian identity cards can be used as travel documents to enter the Mercosul countries.[1] Each card has a unique RG number.


Having and carrying an RG card is not compulsory under law, but it is compulsory to carry some form of identification, so it is common for all citizens who are of legal age (18 years or over) to have and carry one.[citation needed] Minors may also obtain an RG card, but the card expires on their 18th birthday, making it necessary to apply for another one.[citation needed]

Its issuance is the responsibility of the governments of the federative units of Brazil and are valid nationwide. There is no legal restriction on having more than one identity card, provided each one is issued by a different federative units.

The documents required to obtaining an identity card depend on whether the applicant is single, married or naturalized. Single people need a birth certificate (the original or a certified copy), while married people can use their marriage certificate, and naturalized people can use a naturalization certificate. An applicant's CPF number can be printed on the card alongside the RG number, if desired.

Legal status[edit]

An identity card is commonly required for activities including 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 a federative unit-issued driver's license, passport, professional identity card issued by a trade union, military identity card, 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 federative unit-issued identity card include a reference to the RG number of the federative unit that issued the identity card. A standard federative unit-issued ID is required to obtain a passport, professional ID, driver's license or any other kind of substitute ID. Once an individual is registered with an RG, they can use a substitute document to register in any federative unit.

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-colored 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 for 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 federative unit may introduce minor adjustments, usually concerning the numbering scheme, font, and the respective seal. The card has a green background, and measures 102×68 mm.[2] As of 2017, cards are no longer laminated and laminating new cards is forbidden, as they have machine-readable information printed on the inside. Bearers may protect their IDs by storing them in a small plastic cover that is issued with the card.



  • Registration number (may contain digits and letters and each federated unit can design its own system)
  • Issue date
  • Full name of the bearer
  • Parent's name (the legal ascendant(s)
  • Birthplace (locality and federated unit 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)


  • Federated unit coat of arms
  • Full name of issuing federated unit
  • Name of issuing federation secretariat
  • A 3x4 cm photograph of the bearer
  • Thumbprint
  • Signature or an observation waiving it (for an illiterate bearer)


Registro de Identidade Civil (RIC)[edit]

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 federative unit-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 Near field communication (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]

Identificação Civil Nacional (ICN)[edit]

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 gathers all of a citizen's information into a single document. Only the passport and the driver's license of the Brazilian citizen will not be included in the NCI, since they are documents that can be seized due to possible crimes committed by the citizen. The single identity document will only be valid from 2021.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mercosul 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.
  7. ^ "Temer sanciona documento de identidade único, que deve passar a valer só em 2021". ISTOÉ (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-10-24.