Print Friendly, PDF & Email

How to Obtain Certificates of Clearance for Seller When Buying a Property in Brazil

Even when you verify that the seller is the legitimate owner and there is no debt recorded in the property registration, there are still several concerns to be addressed. The main concerns on the seller’s side are unpaid taxes and litigation (or potential litigation) against the seller. Some certificates obtained at this stage will assess whether taxes have been paid. Other certificates will help you assess if the seller owes money to third parties. If the seller owes money to other parties and still sells the property to you, the seller’s creditors can potentially seize your property through a lawsuit.


Certificates can take up to 5 days to be obtained. Realtors usually provide such certificates as part of their services. Notes:(i) some of these certificates will be mandatory for the registration to be completed at the closing at the registration office. In the past, these certificates used to be optional. Today, the registration office will require the certificates to be presented to reduce the risks for the buyer. Some of the certificates (e.g.: negative of labor debts) are not required by the registration office but are still very important to reduce your risks.(ii) some sellers and realtors will want to provide you with the certificates only after the Purchase and Sale Agreement has been signed and a downpayment provided. The buyer can still obtain the certificates since these documents don’t require the seller’s consent to be issued by the respective authorities.

Verifying a Property in Brazil?
We Can Help You

[email protected]
(214) 432-8100

#1  Contact us to get a free quote, or
#2 Schedule a Consultation now.

7 Fatal Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Property in Brazil

Main Certificates Needed Related to the Seller

Important to note that the actual list of certificates applicable to a real estate transaction in Brazil will depend on the state where the property is located. For example, while in Rio de Janeiro more than 10 certificates may be required for a closing (for both the seller and the property), transactions in Acre will require just a couple.

While the “minimum required” will be enforced by the registry where the closing takes place, buyers are free to ask for more certificates than such minimum.

These are the main certificates related to a seller that are commonly requested for a closing (don’t forget to check those related to the property itself here):

1. Certidão Negativa de Débitos Relativos a Créditos Tributários Federais e à Dívida Ativa da União (CND):
This certificate, issued by the federal revenue department, validates that there are no outstanding federal tax obligations associated with an individual or entity. For property buyers, ensuring that the seller has this certificate is crucial as it ensures the seller’s credibility and adherence to national tax regulations. Without this certificate, there could be hidden federal financial liabilities that might impact the overall integrity of the transaction.

2. Certidão Negativa de Débito Estadual: A testament to a clean financial record at the state level, this certificate is essential to confirm that there are no unpaid state-specific taxes. Since each state in Brazil has distinct tax regulations and its own revenue department, this certificate provides a clear picture of the seller’s financial standings within the specific state where the property resides.

3. Certidão Negativa de Débito Municipal: Focused on municipal-level financial obligations, this certificate covers any outstanding local taxes such as IPTU (Urban Property Tax). Given that municipal regulations can vary significantly from one city to another, this certificate’s presence provides assurance to buyers that local tax obligations related to the property have been met.

4. Certidão Negativa de Débitos Trabalhistas (CNDT): Especially relevant for properties owned by companies or business entities, this certificate verifies no unresolved labor-related financial obligations, like unpaid salaries or benefits. A clear CNDT offers buyers confidence in the entity’s ethical and financial commitment to its employees.

5. Certidão de Ações Cíveis e Criminais: Reflecting the legal credibility of the seller, this certificate provides detailed insights into any ongoing or past civil or criminal litigations associated with the seller. This protective measure ensures buyers aren’t unknowingly involved with sellers having dubious legal pasts.

6. Certidão de Protesto: Acting as a clear reflection of an individual or entity’s financial responsibility, this certificate indicates the presence or absence of protested bills or debts. For buyers, it’s an added layer of assurance about the seller’s financial reliability.

7. Certidão de Interdição, Tutela e Curatela: Personal legal restrictions like guardianships or curatorships can hinder property transactions. This certificate ensures the individual seller has full legal rights and isn’t under any restrictive conditions that could jeopardize the sale.

8. Certidão de Distribuição Criminal: Going beyond civil litigations, this certificate offers insights into any criminal involvements of the seller. A clean record here solidifies the seller’s overall legal standing and offers buyers added peace of mind.

9 Certidão Negativa de Falência e Concordata (for companies): For corporate-owned properties, this certificate is essential as it vouches for the company’s financial health, indicating that it’s neither bankrupt nor seeking protective measures against insolvency.

Watch our YouTube Video “How to Obtain Clearance Certificates for Real Estate Transactions in Brazil”

A couple of minutes of watching this video can save you from wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars. Watch it now!

And, don’t forget to access our other videos.

Become a Pro in Brazil Real Estate!

To learn all about purchasing real estate in Brazil, check our How to Buy Properties in Brazil guide.

Learn about the advantages of buying real estate in Brazil in our Why Buying Real Estate in Brazil guide. Find opportunities and decide where to buy using our Know Where to Buy Real Estate in Brazil guide.

Verifying a Property in Brazil?
We Can Help You

[email protected]
(214) 432-8100

#1  Contact us to get a free quote, or
#2 Schedule a Consultation now.



This content is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For legal issues or decisions of any kind, the reader should retain and consult legal counsel. You should not act or rely on the information on this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney. The determination of whether you need legal services and your choice of a lawyer are very important matters that should not be based on websites or advertisements.

Common Questions

What are ‘Certidões Negativas’ in the context of Brazilian real estate?
‘Certidões Negativas’ are essentially negative certificates confirming the absence of debts, liens, or other legal issues related to a property or individual. They play a crucial role in ensuring the property you’re interested in purchasing doesn’t come with hidden liabilities.

Why are these certificates essential for foreign citizens buying property in Brazil?
For foreign citizens, these certificates offer an additional layer of security and transparency. They help ascertain that the property in Brazil is free from local legal entanglements or financial liabilities which might not be immediately evident.

What does the ‘Certidão de Objeto e Pé’ provide?
This certificate offers details about any judicial cases involving the seller. It helps potential buyers understand if there are legal concerns that might impact the property or its sale.

Why should I be concerned about the ‘Certidão de Justiça Federal’?
This certificate is pivotal in ensuring the seller has no pending issues in federal courts. It encompasses a broad range of matters, ensuring you’re not walking into a transaction where the property could be affected by federal legal disputes.

How does the ‘Certidão de Ações Trabalhistas’ affect my purchase?
This certificate helps understand the seller’s broader financial and legal landscape. They ensure no labor-related lawsuits that might impact the transaction.

What about properties owned by companies?
The ‘Certidão de Falência e Recuperação Judicial’ is pertinent here. It checks for bankruptcy or judicial recovery, determining the company’s financial health.

Are there certificates related to personal legal issues of the seller?
Yes, the ‘Certidão de Ações Pessoais Reipersecutórias’ offers insights into any personal actions that might have repercussions on the property, potentially affecting its title or the rights of the seller.

How can I ensure the seller has no other properties that might affect this transaction?
The ‘Certidão de Busca de Bens’ helps identify other properties in the seller’s name, e.g., business entities offering insights into their broader financial scenario.

Are there specific certificates for state or municipal-level fiscal proceedings?
Absolutely. The ‘Certidão de Execuções Fiscais Estaduais e Municipais’ provides clarity on any state or municipal fiscal issues linked to the seller.

What if the seller has a divorce history?
It’s crucial to obtain both the Marriage Certificate and Divorce Certificate to ensure clear property rights and avoid future ownership disputes.

Does Brazil have specific requirements for passports in real estate transactions?
Some ‘cartórios’ (notary offices) may request a sworn translation of the buyer’s valid passport, emphasizing the importance of keeping all personal documents current.

How does the ‘Certidão de Dívida Ativa’ impact a sale?
Issued by the Procuradoria Geral da Fazenda Nacional (PGFN), it validates the absence of ‘active debts’ with the federal government for the seller, ensuring a more secure transaction.

Finally, with so many certificates, should I consult with a local legal expert?
Absolutely. Given the complexity and the importance of these certificates, especially for foreign citizens unfamiliar with Brazilian processes, having a local attorney or real estate expert guide you can be invaluable in