What is a matrícula consular card?

Sample matricula consular card

The matrícula consular is a photo identification card issued by the Mexican government. However, most Mexican nationals living in Mexico won’t have one. That’s because only the government’s consulate offices issue the cards to Mexican nationals living outside of Mexico.

The card is extremely popular for Mexicans in the United States without other ID. Lack of identification is one of many reasons why undocumented immigrants do not use banks. It’s a way for the Mexican government to keep track of its citizens for consular and tax purposes, collect data on them, and provide identification.

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Use in the United States

The matrícula consular can be a valuable identification card for Mexicans living in the United States. Several U.S. states, municipalities, and businesses accept the card as an official form of identification. In fact, many financial institutions accept the card as a valid proof of identification. Mexican nationals can use a matrícula consular to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) in order to pay federal income taxes. Several states also honor the card for the purpose of obtaining a driver’s license.

Therefore, both lawfully present and undocumented immigrants may use the matrícula consular for identification purposes. However, the card does not confer any U.S. immigration status on the person to whom it is issued.

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How to Apply for a Matrícula Consular

To obtain a matrícula consular card, a Mexican citizen must apply in person at a Mexican consulate in the United States. The applicant will pay a fee (currently $33) and should take the following three items:

  • Evidence of Mexican Nationality

    You’ll need to submit proof of your Mexican nationality with an original document. Examples of acceptable documents include: Mexican birth certificate, declaration of Mexican nationality by birth, naturalization letter, or valid Mexican passport.
  • Proof of Identity

    You will also need to present an original photo identification that matches the nationality document above. Examples of acceptable documents include but are not limited to: Mexican voting credential, Mexican military ID, naturalization letter, driver’s license (Mexican or any U.S. state), or U.S. green card.
  • Evidence of Address

    Submit original proof of your association with an address in the consular district. The address should include all components of a U.S. address including the street name and number, city, state and postal code.

At the appointment, consular officials will obtain a digital photograph and fingerprint. Appointments can be lengthy, often a couple of hours. However, the consulate issues the matrícula consular card at the end of the appointment.

Validity of the Consular ID Card

The card is valid for a duration of five years. At the time of expiration, you may renew if you continue to live in the same consular district. Visit the consulate with addition evidence of your address and a new fee.