Consular identification card

Consular identification card

Consular identification (CID) cards are issued by some governments to their citizens who are living in foreign countries. They are not certifications of legal residence within foreign countries, so CID card holders could be legal or illegal aliens.[1] Issuing travel documents and passports are some of the functions performed by consular offices for their citizens. "According to the Department of State, issuance of CID cards falls within the general scope of permissible consular functions."[2] The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 defined the allowable activities for consulate offices such as registering its citizens within foreign countries.[3]

A report prepared for the United States Congress by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) acknowledges the controversy over the use of CID cards. It states that supporters of consular identification cards argue that they are important in a post 9/11 America to improve security and bring transactions out into the open where they can be monitored more as well as improve bilateral relations by notifying consulates when foreign nationals are detained. While others say CID cards are only needed "by aliens who are illegally present in the United States and serve to undermine U.S. immigration policy" and that at best better regulation is needed of these cards to "reinforce immigration policy and to defend against terrorism." Foreign governments are accused of "issuing consular identification cards in the United States for purposes other than those intended by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, namely to circumvent U.S. immigration law, and that the issuance of the cards should be subject to U.S. regulation."[4]

In 2005, the REAL ID Act became law which requires that applicants for driver's licenses are "lawfully present in the United States" and that "an official passport is the only acceptable foreign identity document."[4] In November 2004, the U.S. Congress restored funding for the Treasury Dept. to implement regulations that allow financial institutions to accept CID cards for banking (H.R. 4818/P.L. 108-447).[4]

The 9/11 Commission recommended the U.S. establish standards for sources of identification, however required documents to acquire CID cards vary from country to country as displayed below in the chart 'Countries with Consular Identification (CID) Cards'.

The Argentinian Consulate in Los Angeles advertises their CID card's U.S. benefits for the colonies of Argentine citizens as a means to avoid deportation, board air planes, access to banking, credit, libraries, municipal programs and funerals.[5]

The United States government does not issue CID cards, but recently has begun issuing the U.S. Passport Card to U.S. citizens for land and sea port re-entry into the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda, but not for international air travel.[6]


Countries with Consular Identification (CID) Cards
Country Issuing Country's Name of Their Consular ID Card Required Application Documents Cost Inception Date Reference
Argentina matricula consular October 2003 [2]
Bolivia [7]
Brazil matrícula consular • Notarized copy of first 2 pages

of valid Brazilian passport • Apply in person or by mail

Free [8]
Colombia cédula ciudadanía (citizen ID) • Original Colombian ID (expired or unexpired) or

original birth certificate • Document showing blood type • Apply in person • Temporary ID in 30 minutes, actual ID in one year

Free [8]
Dominican Republic localizador archivo • Unexpired passport or national ID (cédula)

• Ready same day

$12 [8]
Ecuador consular ID • Ecuadorian passport or national ID (cédula)

• Proof of U.S. address • Ready same day

$5 [8]
Guatemala Tarjeta de Identificación Consular Guatemalteca (TICG) • Valid Guatemalan passport

• (To obtain passport, present original + 2 copies of birth certificate + photo ID + $65 fee) • Ready in 2 days

$30 August 2002 [2]
Guinea consular ID • Photocopy of unexpired Guinean passport or

national identity card, or birth certificate + photo ID • Ready next day

$25 [8]
Mali carte d'identité consulaire Mali passport or national ID card $18 [8]
Mexico Matricula Consular de Alta Seguridads (MCAS) • Birth certificate: original + 2 copies

• Photo ID from Mexico: original + 1 copy • Proof of U.S. address • Ready same day

US $28 1871 [9]
Nigeria citizen’s certificate • Photocopy of Nigerian passport or national ID $25 [8]
Pakistan national identity card for overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) • Notarized copies of: first 4 pages of passport; visa or

other document showing legal stay in U.S.; and National ID card or Bay-Form • Proof of address in U.S. and Pakistan

$15 [8]
Peru tarjeta consular • Valid Documento Nacional de Identidad and passport

• Proof of residence in U.S.

$2 [8]
Senegal consular ID • Senegalese ID, such as a passport or national ID card

• Ready in 1 month

$4 [8]


  1. ^ "BORDER SECURITY Consular Identification Cards Accepted within United States, but Consistent Federal Guidance Needed" (PDF). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). August 2004. p. (PDF p. 2). Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  2. ^ a b c "BORDER SECURITY Consular Identification Cards Accepted within United States, but Consistent Federal Guidance Needed" (PDF). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). August 2004. p. 5 (PDF p. 9). Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  3. ^ "Implications of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations upon the Regulation of Consular Identification Cards" (PDF). Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service (CRS). May 23, 2005. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  4. ^ a b c "Consular Identification Cards: Domestic and Foreign Policy Implications, the Mexican Case, and Related Legislation" (PDF). Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service (CRS). May 26, 2005. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  5. ^ "Matricula Consular" (HTML). Los Angeles, CA: The Argentinian Consulate of Los Angeles (Consulado General y Centro de Promocion de la Republica Argentina - Los Angeles). Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Passport Card" (HTML). Washington, DC: U.S. Dept of State. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  7. ^ "BORDER SECURITY Consular Identification Cards Accepted within United States, but Consistent Federal Guidance Needed" (PDF). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Consular IDs & Bank Accounts for Immigrants" (PDF). New York, NY: NYC Immigrant Financial Justice Network. April 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  9. ^ "". Retrieved August 3, 2010. 

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