The Population Registry Unique Code (Spanish: Clave Única de Registro de Población) or CURP is a unique identity code for both citizens and residents of Mexico. Each CURP code is a unique, alphanumeric 18-character string intended to prevent duplicate entries.
Typically you get one for the first time when you obtain your FM3. You need it to get your social security card, your driver’s license, getting your FM2 or citizenship (naturalization), for buying a vehicle or home, opening a bank account and for most other legal and tax business in Mexico.
Wikipedia has summarized this topic nicely. Below is an excerpt from their article…
Initially, a CURP card (cédula) was obtainable at CURP government offices, and also at the Civil Registry, ISSSTE, IMSS, and other government services; the document was printed on green paper at the time. Valid copies of existing CURPs can now be printed on plain paper by visiting an official website.
The CURP card is 5.4 cm wide and 8.6 cm long, fits in a wallet and may be laminated for preservation. The front of the card gives the CURP 18-character string, given names and surnames, plus the date of registration and a folio number. The back contains information referencing the document used as proof to originally assign the CURP code (if it was a birth certificate, folio number and issuing municipio are included), and a barcode.
On 23 October 1996, the Presidential Agreement for the Adoption and Use of the Population Registry Unique Code by the Federal Government (Acuerdo Presidencial para la adopción y uso por la Administración Pública Federal de la Clave Única de Registro de Población) was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation.
The Agreement provides assigning a CURP number to everyone living in Mexico and to Mexicans living abroad.
Currently the CURP is essential for tax filings, to keep records of companies, schools, membership in government-run health services, passport applications, and other government services.
The CURP number is now used in all Civil Registry individual records (birth and death certificates) and certified copies thereof.
Although primarily intended to substitute for a series of registration numbers (IMSS, RFC, IFE), the CURP has failed to replace any of these, which continue to use their own code-generation protocols. Nevertheless, the IFE voting card now contains both the IFE code and the CURP code.
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