Includes license requirements for key professional services that are open to U.S. service providers.
Last Published: 7/10/2017

Many professions in Brazil are regulated or inspected by councils. Councils are public authorities, with responsibility to regulate, supervise, direct, and discipline certain professional categories.
It is up to the councils to certify that a certain individual is able to exercise the profession for which they are responsible. It is also the council’s responsibility to make sure that unauthorized people do not do so. Councils have a code of conduct and ethics parameters that must be followed.
Certain workers are obliged to be registered at corresponding councils in order to exercise their profession. Anyone that works without a registration is subject to penalties according to Brazilian law. There are also many professions that are not supervised by councils in Brazil. For example anyone can be a farmer, software developer or a bus driver, if approved by a hiring company.
Registering at a Professional Council
The basic requirement to be licensed by a professional council is to own a valid graduation certificate in the chosen area. Since there are several different professional councils, requirements to be registered in each one of them may vary. The most common procedure is to visit a regional council or send the necessary documents.
The required documents are usually:

  • Completed registration form

  • Proof of payment of the registration fee

  • Copies of personal documents, like ID, proof of residence, CPF

  • Copies of the diploma and of the undergraduate transcript

  • Photos to be used on the registration card 
    This registration has an expiration date, and needs to be renewed periodically, according to the council’s rules.
    Can foreigners be registered by a council?
    The registration of a foreigner in a Brazilian professional council also varies according to each profession. Some — like the Council of Psychology and the Council of Administration, for example — allow foreigners to be registered. The main conditions for this are the revalidation of the foreign diploma and a proficiency test in the Portuguese language.
    Other councils have stricter rules, allowing foreigners to register only in exceptional cases, like a lack of manpower, or only providing temporary permits for the realization of a specific project in Brazil. This is the case in the Council of Engineering and Agronomy.
    Examples of Professional Councils
    Below are some examples of some of the main federal and regional professional councils in Brazil. The first acronym refers to the federal council, while the second acronym refers to the regional one.
    Cofea/CREA - Council of Engineering and Agronomy (Conselho de Engenharia de Agronomia)
    CFP/CRP - Council of Psychology (Conselho de Psicologia)
    CFA/CRA - Council of Administration (Conselho de Administração)
    CFM/CRM - Council of Medicine (Conselho de Medicina)
    CFF/CRF - Council of Pharmacy (Conselho de Farmácia)
    COFECI/CRECI - Council of Real Estate Brokers (Conselho de Corretores de Imóveis)
    CAU - Council of Architecture and Urbanism (Conselho de Arquitetura e Urbanismo)
    CFC/CRC - Council of Accounting (Conselho de Contabilidade)
    CFO/CRO - Council of Odontology (Conselho de Odontologia)
    CFQ/CRQ - Council of Chemistry (Conselho de Química)
    Confere/Corce - Council of the Commercial Representatives (Conselho dos Representantes Comerciais)
    OAB - The Brazilian Bar Association
    Technically, the Brazilian Bar Association, or Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil, which acronym is OAB, is not a professional council. It was already a federal authority, like the councils mentioned previously, but nowadays OAB is an independent organization. It is autonomous, benefits of tributary exemption and its employees are hired like in any other company, not needing to apply for a public service entrance exam — known in Brazil as concurso público, which is basically the selective process for a position offered by the government.
    Some of the OAB functions, though, are very similar to the councils’ ones. They also inspect and regulate the work of lawyers in Brazil, as well as take part in political questions when necessary.

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