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Recently many people have been asking us ‘What is an RFC, and why do we need one?’. This is becoming an important topic for residents in Mexico because of recent bureaucratic changes. In this article we will answer your questions on the RFC.

The RFC is a unique tax code which identifies each person registered on the Registro Federal de Contribuyentes in Spanish (or Federal Contributor Registry). It is akin to a social security number in the US, Canada or a National Insurance Number in the UK. 

In order to be included on this registry in Mexico, you must be a citizen or temporary or permanent resident in the country. You will definitely need yours in order to work or receive income in Mexico and therefore pay taxes. Even if you are not a taxpayer, you will still need to apply for your RFC if you are a resident or citizen over the age of 18. As of recently, many administrative procedures in Mexico, such as opening a bank account or major invoiced purchases, now require an RFC for the relevant paperwork.

Watch out: don’t confuse the RFC with the CURP code. Both codes are similar in that they are a unique set of numbers and letters related to your personal data. However, they are different and have distinct purposes.

The CURP is a Unique Population Registration Code, or Clave Única de Registro de Población in Spanish. This population I.D. code is issued to all citizens and residents. However, unlike the RFC, you do not have to apply for it. Once you get your residency in Mexico, your CURP is also generated and appears on your resident’s card. Read our article for further details about the CURP code: What Is a CURP Number and How to Get One in Mexico

How to Apply for the RFC

In order to obtain your unique RFC, which will be linked to you permanently, you must apply for it via SAT. SAT is the Mexican government’s tax agency (Servicio de Administración Tributaria). Previously, one made the request in person at a local SAT office. However, the procedure has now gone online. At the time of writing, the system seems to be quite saturated with requests. Therefore, some patience is required. The steps are as follows:


1. Visit 

2. Select: Inscripción al padrón de contribuyentes Personas Físicas

3. Enter your CURP number; full name (nombre completo – as per your resident’s card); your email (correo electronico); confirm your email (confirmar correo electrónico), and press SIGUIENTE

4. On the following page, you will see a few drop-down menus. On the first one (SERVICIOS), select Inscripción en el RFC de Personas Físicas.

5. Under Distrito Federativo, select your state of residency. On the Riviera Maya this will be Quintana Roo.

6. Under Modulo, select your local SAT office, the name of the closest town. 

7. You will then receive a notification that you cannot attend the office in person but must join a Fila Virtual (virtual queue).

8. Click on Fila Virtual to confirm.

9. A box appears with Token Seguridad. This token is sent to your email. Retrieve it and insert into the box and click REENVIAR.

10. A screen appears with confirmation of your insertion into the Fila Virtual. You should receive an email when available slots open.

In the meantime, you should consult your position in the queue often by logging into the same site and selecting CONSULTAR CITA. Also keep an eye on your email for news of the appointment.

Our friend Paul Kurtzweil has made a great video explaining this procedure too. Check it out on YouTube: or on 

Read our article on the CURP here: What Is a CURP Number and How to Get One in Mexico
For further information on residency, contact Adriana Vela at