What is a matricula?
The matricula is an identification card issued by the Mexican government for Mexican citizens living abroad. The card is used to establish identity and citizenship, primarily to access consular services in foreign countries. Mexico started the matricula program more than a century ago, but the document gained popularity after the 9/11 attacks and subsequent Patriot Act, which required financial institutions to maintain additional identification information for customers. In order to obtain a matricula, citizens must provide an original Mexican birth certificate, an official photo ID, and proof of home address in the consular district. Like U.S. identification cards, matriculas include security features such as lamination, a watermark and a magnetic strip. A matricula is normally valid for five years. Under Customer Identification Program (CIP) regulations issued by the U.S. Treasury Department, financial institutions may accept foreign identification; however, the regulations do not require institutions to accept them. The decision whether or not to accept IDs issued by foreign governments, such as the matricula, are left up to individual financial institutions. There are no laws preventing foreign citizens from opening accounts with U.S.-based financial institutions.