a document showing that it has been approved in the hands of its owner

Curp for Foreigners

If you’re an expat navigating the Mexican administrative system, you may have come across the term CURP. But what exactly is a CURP, and why is it important for foreigners? You would not believe the number of emails we receive with the subject “Can an American get a CURP”? The answer is yes, and with the right immigration lawyer, you can get a CURP faster than you think!

In this blog post, we’ll demystify the meaning of the CURP and provide you with valuable information on how to get your very own CURP number and why it is important to have one if you are planning on living in Mexico.

What is a CURP?

The CURP (Clave Única de Registro de Población) is a unique identification number assigned to every resident in Mexico, including foreigners. It is made up of 18-character alphanumeric code that contains specific information about an individual. This code is generated based on personal data such as name, date of birth, and nationality. It provides a standardised and official identification system for residents in Mexico. If translated into English, the meaning of the CURP would stand for the Unique Population Registration Key.

It was implemented in 1996 with the purpose of serving as a key identifier for various administrative processes and interactions with government entities. The first CURP ever was issued to the then president of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, as part of the initial implementation of the system to test its functionality! Having a CURP is essential for foreigners living in Mexico, as it facilitates access to services and ensures compliance with legal requirements.

Why do I need a CURP for?

Having a CURP is of utmost importance for foreigners living in Mexico. It serves as a foundational document that grants access to a wide range of services and benefits, including healthcare, education, employment, and legal protections. Without a CURP, navigating the Mexican administrative system can be challenging and may result in delays or complications.

Moreover, it is important to note that some legal transactions, such as buying property or applying for a driver’s license, may require a CURP. It is considered an essential identification document that provides proof of your legal presence in Mexico.

What is a CURP Number?

Now that you know what a CURP looks like, let’s delve into understanding the intricacies of this 18-character alphanumeric code. The “Clave,” as mentioned above, is a unique identifier, and we’ll break it down for you to grasp its significance and the importance of having a CURP in Mexico.

Let’s imagine that this is our Mexican CURP number: QTIK330917MNTVWE28. Breaking it down to understand it better, we will divide the “Clave” like this: QTIK – 330917 – M – NT – VWE – 28

  • First Four Letters: Derived from the person’s legal name, representing:
    • First letter of the paternal surname
    • First internal vowel of the paternal surname
    • First letter of the maternal surname
    • First letter of the given name
  • Six Numbers: Indicating the person’s date of birth in YYMMDD format.
  • Gender Indicator: A single letter specifying the person’s gender – “H” for male (hombre) and “M” for female (mujer).
  • Two State Abbreviations: Representing the state of birth using the two-letter state abbreviation; for births outside Mexico, “NE” signifies Nacido en el Extranjero (born abroad).
  • Next Three Letters: Derived from the person’s legal name, including:
    • First internal consonant of the paternal surname
    • First internal consonant of the maternal surname
    • First internal consonant of the given name
  • Duplicate Avoidance Character: A single character ensuring uniqueness among individuals with similar names, places, and dates of birth. It’s a number (0-9) for those born before 2000 and a letter (A-Z) for those born since 2000.
  • Checksum: A single character used for validation and error-checking purposes.

Now that you know what the ‘clave’ in the CURP is, we could even create one ourselves! A CURP example could be “JYPP800503MTLVCO40” or “RYIO890925MTLZMR51”. You can now even understand more or less what each letter or number means!

Difference between a CURP and a RFC

While both the CURP and the RFC (Registro Federal de Contribuyentes) are crucial identification tools in Mexico, they serve different functions and contain slightly varied information. The RFC is primarily used for tax purposes and is assigned by the Tax Administration Service (SAT).
Like the CURP, the RFC is an alphanumeric code, but it’s typically composed of 13 characters for individuals and 12 for moral entities. It includes the individual’s or entity’s name initials, date of birth or establishment, and a homoclave – a set of three characters used to avoid duplications.
Unlike the CURP, which includes gender and state of birth, the RFC doesn’t contain these specifics, demonstrating its focus on fiscal identification rather than comprehensive demographic data.
Some American clients have mentioned that the CURP is like a SSN. And in some ways, this could be true, since both serve as unique identification numbers for individuals and are used in various administrative and official processes.

Here you can see the difference between CURP and RFC codes:
RFC: GKHK780805AX5
As you can see, the CURP code is longer and ends with two numbers.

The CURP is used for civil and administrative purposes, such as accessing social services, healthcare, and education. It is also required for certain transactions and interactions with government agencies.

Similarly, the SSN in the United States is a unique identification number issued by the Social Security Administration. It is primarily used for tracking individuals’ earnings and benefits. The SSN is widely used in the U.S. for various purposes, including employment, financial transactions, and government benefits.
While there are similarities, it’s important to note that the CURP and SSN have distinct purposes and are managed by different authorities in their respective countries.

How to Get a CURP

The process of obtaining a CURP depends on whether you are in Mexico or outside of Mexico.

If you are in Mexico:

  1. Visit the nearest Registro Civil office or CURP registration center.
  2. Provide the necessary documentation, including proof of identity and immigration status.
  3. Fill out the CURP application form.
  4. Submit your application and wait for your CURP to be generated.

If you are outside of Mexico:

  1. Contact the nearest Mexican consulate or embassy.
  2. Inquire about the process for obtaining a CURP as a foreign resident.
  3. Provide the required documentation, which may include proof of identity, residency status, and any additional documents requested by the consulate or embassy.
  4. Follow the instructions provided by the consulate or embassy to complete the application process.


Obtaining a CURP is crucial for foreigners living in Mexico. It not only facilitates access to essential services but also ensures compliance with legal requirements. If you are a foreign resident in Mexico and do not have a CURP, we strongly recommend reaching out to our Mexican bilingual lawyers to guide you through the process and assist you in obtaining your CURP as soon as possible.

Remember, having a CURP is not only a legal obligation but also a gateway to fully enjoying your life and experiences in Mexico. Don’t hesitate to take this important step and secure your identification as a resident in Mexico.

Contact our bilingual legal attorneys today to embark on your CURP application journey. Your peace of mind and seamless integration into Mexican society await!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *