Patrick Bruha

Patrick Bruha

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Car License Plates In Brazil

Patrick Bruha

Patrick Bruha

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Cars need to be registered at Detran, so they can be granted a license plate and be legal to drive on Brazilian roads. In this article, we will learn more about car license plates in Brazil and how to get them.


Land vehicles and motorcycles are supervised by Detran, which is short for Departamento Estadual de Trânsito, Portuguese for State Transport Department.

Registering cars

The process of duly registering a car in Brazil varies according to how the owner acquired the car.

This process can be carried out by any of the following parties:

  • The owner of the vehicle
  • An attorney on behalf of the vehicle owner - with a power of attorney
  • A close relative of the vehicle owner such as spouse, parent, child or sibling - with a document proving the kinship
  • The owner or legal representative of the legal entity owning the vehicle

Getting license plates for new cars

In the case of new vehicles, the first step is to register it on Detran’s database. This has to be done within 30 days after the Nota Fiscal - which is a type of invoice - was issued. When attending a Detran office for the first time, the owner of the vehicle will be handed both the IPVAand the DPVAT, which must be paid prior to registering the car.

IPVA stands for Imposto sobre a Propriedade de Veículos Automotores, which is Portuguese for Tax on Property of Automotive Vehicles, and is a state tax levied on vehicles. IPVA rates vary annually and from state to state.

DPVAT stands for Seguro de Danos Pessoais Causados por Veículos Automotores de Vias Terrestres, which is Portuguese for Insurance for Injuries Caused by Motor Vehicles. DPVAT is a mandatory insurance instituted by the Brazilian government.

It is important to mention that when registering a new car it must be done at a Detran office located in the city where the owner of the car resides.

Once the owner of the vehicle has completed a Renavam form, they must proceed to a bank in order to pay the IPVA, DPVAT and registry fees, as well as the license plate fee. Renavam stands for National Registry of Motor Vehicle.

In the state of São Paulo, the following banks are convened with Detran:

  • Banco do Brasil
  • Santander
  • Caixa Econômica Federal
  • Bradesco
  • Itaú
  • Banco BMB
  • Banco HSBC
  • Banco Safra
  • Citibank
  • Banco Credicitrus

At the bank, it is necessary to inform the cashier that you want to make a payment for car registration and license plate fees, which is under Code 31. The registration fee is BRL 235,88 and the license plate fee is BRL 106,40.

After paying the fees, it is necessary to return to the Detran office taking with you all the additional documents listed below in order to complete the process of registering new vehicles.

Once the registration of the vehicle is completed, the owner of the vehicle will receive the Certificado de Registro do Veículo, which is Portuguese for Vehicle Registration Certificate, CRV.

With the CRV in hand, the owner of the vehicle may proceed to get the vehicle’s license plate. A final document the CRLV, will then be issued. CRLV stands for Certificado de Registro de Licenciamento do Veículo, which is Portuguese for Certificate of Registration and Licensing of Vehicles.

This process takes about two working days to complete.

Getting license plates for used cars

If you acquired a used car, it is necessary to inform Detran about the transfer of ownership.

First of all, the new owner of the car must go to a Detran office and check if there are any legal pendencies that may prevent the transfer of the car, such as unpaid taxes or fines. Then, it is necessary to go to a convened bank and pay the fee for the issuance of a new CRV. If there are any outstanding fines or taxes, the transfer cannot be performed before it is fully paid.

The registration fees are:

  • BRL 235,88, if the transfer occurs before that year’s car licensing
  • BRL 163,63, if the transfer occurs after the annual car licensing is due

After paying the fees the new car owner must go back to the Detran office with all the necessary documents, as well as with the former owner’s CRV in order to ask for the issuance of a new CRV.

If any alterations were made to the vehicle’s main features - type of fuel, color, armoring, among others - it is necessary to get an inspection report by Detran or by a company accredited by Detran. It is only after the presentation of the inspection report that a new CRV can be issued.

Necessary Documents to register a car

The following documents are required in order to register a car:

  • Identification document - original and photocopy
  • CPF - original and photocopy
  • Proof of address
  • Chassis number decal
  • Copy of car value Nota Fiscal
  • Original reseller invoice
  • Original and copy of Comprovante de Pagamento de Débitos, which is Portuguese for Proof of Payment of Debts, a document proving that the purchaser of the vehicle does not have any outstanding taxes or fines. This document may be obtained from any bank convened with Detran
  • Proof of payment of IPVA, DPVAT, registry and license plate fees
  • Two completed Renavam forms. The Renavam form can be found in this link

If a person is registering a vehicle on behalf of a legal entity, the additional following documents must be provided:

  • Copy of Articles of Association or other similar document proving the formation of the legal entity
  • Copy of CNPJ

Other documents that may be required

Depending on the situation and purpose of the vehicle, additional documents may be required by Detran, according to the list below:

  • Financed vehicles: the original purchase contract, completed and signed
  • Vehicles for rental and for transporting passengers: original and a copy of Autorização do Departamento de Transporte Público Municipal, which is Portuguese for Authorization from the Department of Municipal Public Transport
  • Intercity buses, original and copy of Autorização da Empresa de Transporte Público Municipal, which is Portuguese for Authorization from the Company of Municipal Public Transport
  • Chartered buses: Embratur authorization
  • Trucks:Autorização da Agência Nacional de Transportes Terrestres, which is Portuguese for Authorization from the National Land Transportation Agency
  • Learner’s driver vehicle: inspection report of a driving school
  • Vehicles that will be raffled: the original and copy of Certificado de autorização da Receita Federal, which is Portuguese for Certificate of authorization by the Federal Revenue Service
  • Vehicles to be used by government agencies: the CNPJ card of the organization

For vehicles that were directly imported, it is necessary to present the original and a copy of the following documents in order to register it in Brazil:

  • Import Declaration
  • Import License
  • Certificado de adequação à legislação de trânsito, CAT, which is Portuguese for Certificate of adequacy to the traffic law
  • Licença para uso de configuração do veículo ou motor, which is Portuguese for License for use of vehicle or motor settings

Special license plates

There are different color license plates in Brazil, according to the purpose of the vehicle:

  • Private vehicles - black characters on a grey background
  • Antique cars - grey characters on a black background
  • Public transport and vehicles for rental - white characters on a red background
  • Driving schools - red characters on a white background
  • Official government body vehicles - black characters on a white background
  • Test cars - white characters on a green background
  • White characters on a blue background with the following initial characters: ADM (for administrative); CC (for consular body); CD (for diplomatic body); CMD (for head of diplomatic mission); OI (for International Organization)
  • Vehicles of exclusive use by mayors, governors and presidents - golden characters on a black background, made in bronze
  • Vehicles for exclusive use by the President - golden characters on a green and yellow background, made in bronze