Most Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Mexican Matrícula Consular (MCAS)

* Matrícula Consular de Alta Seguridad (or MCAS, for it’s initials in Spanish) means High Security Consular Registration Document. As such, it is the official record for Mexican individuals living abroad.

* The registration of nationals through the consular offices is a practice recognized by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Mexican consulates have issued these certificates since 1871.

* The purpose of consular registration is to enable consular officers to provide protection and access to consular services, as well as to help relatives and authorities of the sending state to locate their nationals overseas. Consular posts of every country around the world exercise this service.

* There are 4 basic requirements that the applicant must fulfill in order to obtain a MCAS in a Mexican Consulate:

1. Present Proof of Mexican Nationality with any of the following documents: Birth Certificate, Certificate of Mexican Nationality, Certificate of Naturalization, or Passport.

2. Present Proof of his/her Identity with documents issued by Mexican or U.S. authorities: Military Service Identification Card (Cartilla), Electoral ID, Passport, expired Matrícula Consular; driver’s license, green card or INS permission, school record, police clearance report, U.S. passport or state ID.

3. Present Proof of Residence within the Consular District with any of the following documents: A contract or receipt of payment for services or utilities such as water, electricity, gas, phone service and rent payments. In addition, the person may accredit the residence requirement by presenting a state ID or driver’s license issued by the local authority, if it contains a local address.

4. Issuance Fee Payment. The applicant must pay a U.S.$26 fee for issuance of the MCAS.

All the matrículas consulares are issued for a period of 5 years. By 2007 all the old matrículas consulares will have been replaced by the MCAS. As of March of 2002, the MCAS incorporate cutting-edge technology, holograms and other embedded designs to prevent its forgery. The MCAS has 13 security features, such as:

• A visible “Advantage®” seal which is a variable color, tamper proof, Optical Security Device, used to mark the ID photograph, and is solely manufactured by a U.S. provider. No one else in the world has access to this technology or design, which makes counterfeiting the ID highly improbable. This feature is used by the U.S. Government in several high security documents such as FBI badges.

• “Scrambled Indicia®” is a pixel level security feature which conceals encoded text or graphics within the visible design. These encoded features are only visible through special purpose lenses. The Consular ID card includes two versions of this feature: fixed text and graphics printed on both sides of the teslin blanks, and variable text containing biodata of the holder, encoded within a security stripe or “doc-u-lok®”, and over the photograph in two directions. This is also a proprietary security feature and is used by the U.S. government in its high value postage stamps and its new High Security Visa, amongst other uses.

• Other security features include ultraviolet logos on the outer laminate, micro-text on the teslin blanks signature lines, infrared band over the ID bar code and high definition bank note type printing on both sides of the blanks.

• The Mexican Government has developed a national database in which the consulates can verify if there are homonyms and if the applicant has previously received a MCAS. They also check the applicant’s identity against a Mexican government “stop list” containing approximately 13,000 records of persons who are not allowed to obtain documents issued by the Mexican government.

• Consular employees are trained to detect the typical mistakes made by forgerers, and to carefully verify the information during the production of the MCAS. In addition to the yearly Consular Services training, special training is conducted for the issuance of the new High Security Consular Registration Card (MCAS).

• With the launch of the new High Security version, from March 6, 2002 to July 18, 2004, the Mexican government issued 2,214,738 MCAS. The Mexican government estimates that almost 4 million Mexicans in the United States have matrículas consulares.

• Currently, 377 cities, 163 counties and 33 states, as well as 178 financial institutions and 1180 police departments in the U.S., accept the MCAS as a valid ID. Additionally, 12 states have accepted the MCAS as one of the proofs of identity required to obtain a driver’s license. The local governments of 80 cities accept the MCAS for obtaining a library card or business licenses, entering public buildings, registering children for school, and accessing some public services. Private companies have begun to accept the matrícula for opening accounts for utilities and insurance. Some airlines also accept the MCAS as a valid ID.

• The MCAS has become an important tool for opening financial institutions to the un-banked people. The positive impacts of such access go beyond individuals simply being able to open bank accounts. They also have positive implications for the day-to-day lives of U.S. communities by unleashing economic transactions that would not occur otherwise.

• The acceptance of the MCAS by key financial institutions has significantly reduced the cost of sending remittances. The Mexican government estimates that, since the MCAS have been accepted by banks and financial institutions, the increase in use of bank transfers as a mea.