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Mexican Legal Abbreviations: How many do you know?

Abbreviations can be a boon. They are short and sweet and keep us from memorizing longwinded names of organizations. They can also be a bane. What are a jumble of uppercase letters when you don't know what they mean? If you grew up and live in Mexico, many or most abbreviations come as second nature. For the translator and foreign readers, they can be a headache.

It means going to Google and sifting through results. You will have to discard abbreviations that share the same letters but whose long form is in English. You might have to write the abbreviation followed by one or all of the words you think the abbreviation represents.

So, if you come across DIF, and you think that the D stands for Desarrollo, then you might enter DIF Desarrollo in Google. Even so, you will learn that DIF is actually Sistema para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, so there is an extra letter not included in this acronym.

Ah yes, an acronym is an abbreviation pronounced as a word. An initialism is simply an abbreviation that is formed from initial letters pronounced separately like FBI. And a shortening is either the first or last part of a word, sometimes ending in a full stop, such as Dec. for December.

And now some abbreviations of Mexican terms and organizations.

  • Lic.: Licenciado. A person holding a university degree. Widely used in Mexico to denote a person who holds a profession without saying which.

  • I.S.S.T.E.: Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado—Mexican Institute of Social Security

  • INFONAVIT: Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda para los Trabajadores—Federal Housing Fund

  • IVA:—VAT (tax)

  • D.F.: Distrito Federal—Federal District. Mexico's capital is a district, instead of a state, much like Washington D.C.

  • LISR Ley de Impuesto sobre la Renta—Income Tax Act.

  • C.: Ciudadano—Citizen. Used before the name of any person mentioned in a legal proceeding. Not everyone is considered a citizen such as criminals.

  • RFC: Registro Nacional de Contribuyentes—Taxpayer Identification Number.

  • CURP: Clave Única de Registro de Población—Mexican Identification Code. A national ID used for all proceedings and business.

  • SEP: Secretaría de Educación Pública—Secretariat/Ministry of Public Education.

  • IMSS: Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social—Mexican Institute of Social Security.

  • Tamps.: Tamaulipas. Mexican state bordering the United States.

  • Ags.: Aguascalientes. Another state

  • SRE: Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores—Secretariat of Foreign Affairs/State Department.

  • Admon.: Administración—Administration. In other countries, Admin. is the accepted shortening.

  • CP: Código Postal—Postal Code. Also Contador Público—Certified Public Accountant or CPA. Note that people's professions, usually abbreviated, are always placed after their name, regardless of level of study.

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