The new consular identification card may be available again for the first time in almost two years, as many undocumented Korean immigrants have awaited its return.
The identification, issued by the Korean consulate office, is an essential for undocumented immigrants, because it even serves as a necessary paperwork when they apply for the California driver’s license.
L.A.’s Consulate General of the Republic of Korea is set to install the proper printing equipment to issue the ID cards by next week.
Until recently, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has stood firmly by its words that one’s form of identification must contain hologram, barcode or QR code, which cannot be duplicated. That has been one of the reasons why the DMV did not accept the previous version of the consulate ID card.
However, the new card that is set to be issues as quickly as this coming fall comes as a boost to those without an identification paperwork to obtain a driver’s license in California even after Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 60, which directed the DMV to issue a driver’s license to any eligible resident, regardless of immigration status, in 2013.
The South Korean consulate office in L.A. has already held preliminary discussions with the DMV on June 23 about the conditions that the new ID card must meet for its bearers to obtain a driver’s license.
Once the consulate ID card is officially approved by the DMV, it will be accepted during the screening process as the primary identification document that is required when applying for a driver’s license.
The change will immediately enable about 50,000 undocumented Korean immigrants to apply for a driver’s license. However, the driver’s license issued to the undocumented California residents will not be considered as an identification card in other states or by the federal government.
Moreover, the consulate office plans to conduct a background check on applicants of the new ID card. Hence, those with criminal records in South Korea may not be eligible to obtain the new consulate ID card.
By Hyoung Jae Kim