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How to get a CURP number in Mexico

I got my temporary resident card the other day, and boy was I disappointed that the Cancun office told me my CURP is not on that card. It is only added to the card for the Permanent Resident Cardholders. Although everybody in Mexico needs a CURP, temporary residents do not get one together with their visa application. You have to get one separately.

So here we go, on the treadmill of collecting data and documents again?

Actually, the CURP is pretty easy to apply for. The only problem I had was to separate facts from fiction and filter outdated information out from all the information on the internet.

What is a CURP number and why or when do you need it?

CURP is a unique identification number provided by the Mexican Government to all residents and citizens.
CURP stands for: Clave Unica de Registro de Poblacion.
The CURP is assigned to you for life or for as long as you are a Mexican Resident.

You need a CURP number for the following:

  • to get your driver’s license
  • to open a bank account
  • to start a business
  • to apply for a work permit
  • to apply for a job
  • to apply for a tax number
  • to register a vehicle
  • and for all Government services like IMSS, registration services at governmental desks, and INAPAM, the senior citizen discount program.

So you see, you can’t do anything without a CURP, anyone telling you anything else, is wrong. Trust me!

That is why I was surprised it was not automatically added to the card. Well, they will have their reasons. Anyway, I spend a day researching how to apply for a CURP number.

Here is what you need as a temporary or permanent Resident applying for a CURP number:

  • your passport and a copy
  • your resident card and copies (front and back)
  • a letter requesting a CURP number in Spanish

A few things to keep in mind:

    • Some INM offices have special CURP hours and dates. Check your office CURP hours before you head over.
    • You can apply for a CURP at any INM office nearby.
    • For temporary or permanent Residents ONLY INM can issue CURP numbers.
    • Sign papers with a blue pen or they might be refused.
    • There are no fees for a CURP it is a free service
    • When your print with your CURP number gets lost, you can easily print a new one from the special CURP website.

What does a CURP number look like?

A CURP number is built up around your private data. Each CURP code is a unique alphanumeric 18-character string intended to prevent duplicate entries.

  • certain letters from your last and first and second given name.
  • your date of birth
  • location of birth
  • Gender
  • and a randomly generated series of numbers or letters depending on your date of birth.

Items that are missing are replaced with an ‘X’ so if you have no second last name that will be an “X” and since you are probably not born in Mexico that will also be an “X”.

The CURP request letter

There is some confusion about the CURP request letter. A letter, written in Spanish, to request a CURP number. Some websites say you need it the Government website does not mention it, and yet it is wise to bring it just in case.

What should be in the CURP request letter?

You can use the following text for your CURP request. Please do sign with a blue pen, some offices can be very strict about the blue pen thing!

Secretaria de Gobernación
Instituto Nacional de Migración


por mi propio derecho acudo ante esta Autoridad Migratoria para solicitar un CURP para realizar trámites ante otra independencia.

La agradezco la atención prestada, sin más por el momento.







Applying for your CURP in Playa del Carmen

In Playa del Carmen the CURP hours are:

Monday to Friday between 9 and 10 AM

You check in at the guard desk, and he will ask for your ID (resident card) and the papers for applying for the CURP, including your passport and resident card.  You sit down in the waiting area for your name to be called. You go to the desk and the immigration officer will ask you to check your date of birth inside the CURP -Number and your name printed.

If they are correct you are to sign.

You will be handed your ID card and passport and the CURP print (A4)

For me, the waiting time was around 30 minutes.