How To Get A Driver’S License As An Immigrant?

U.S. Driver’s License Requirements for Immigrants Most require a green card, but as previously mentioned, not all. Typically, some of the requirements for obtaining your license include your I.D., proof of residency in your state, proof of social security, driver’s license from the native country, and a passport.

Can illegal immigrants get a driver’s license?

State laws permitting this are on the books in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

Can a non citizen get a driver license in the US?

License requirements will vary from state-to-state. Most states do not issue driver’s licenses unless an applicant is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. If a permanent resident has lost the Green Card it can be replaced. Some states allow licensed drivers from other countries to drive legally for a year.

Can an illegal immigrant register a car?

“Can an undocumented immigrant register a car in California?” No, they cannot.

Can I get a driver’s license without a Social Security card?

You can apply for a ‘Standard’ license or permit without a Social Security Card or ineligibility letter.

Can I get a driver’s license with a green card?

The answer to this is yes! To get a U.S. driver’s license you must show proof that you are legally permitted to live or work in the U.S. This means that if you are a green card holder, then you can apply for a US driver’s license with your green card and other relevant documents.

Can a k1 visa holder get a driver’s license?

Under narrow conditions, K-1 visa holders can qualify for a REAL ID compliant California State ID or Drivers License.

Can I get a state ID while waiting for green card?

Any F, M or J nonimmigrant in lawful status may apply for a driver’s license or ID card, per state or territorial law. The nonimmigrant must present necessary supporting documents required to verify legal presence in the United States.

Can an immigrant own a car?

“ Anyone can purchase a car. If you have cash and can negotiate a sale price, you can purchase a car,” says Pepper. “The two issues that DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants face are coming up with the financing to purchase a car and complying with requirements to drive legally after purchasing a car.

Can a non US citizen get car insurance?

To get auto insurance in the U.S. if you are not an American citizen, you need to apply for an International Driving Permit. Most insurance companies will sell you an auto insurance policy even if you are not a U.S. citizen, so long as you meet the licensing requirements within 60 days.

Can illegal immigrants get car insurance?

Illegal immigrants can buy car insurance. However, undocumented immigrants must have a driver’s license. Most auto insurance companies don’t need a Social Security Number (SSN) for you to get a policy.

What counts as proof of Social Security number?

The most common documentation for proof of SSN includes: Social Security card. 1040 Tax Return (federal or state versions acceptable) W2 and/or 1099s (includes 1099 MISC, 1099G, 1099R, 1099SSA, 1099DIV, 1099S, 1099INT)

Can undocumented immigrants get a driver’s license in Texas?

Under Texas law, for a foreign national to obtain a driver’s license, he or she must be able to verify lawful presence in the United States. That means that if you want to apply for a driver’s license (DL) or an identification card (ID), you will have to show proof that you are in the U.S. legally.

Can an immigrant get a drivers license in Florida?

Now, when applying for or renewing a license — which for immigrants could be valid anywhere from one to four years — they need to present an unexpired passport and an I-94 form, the federal document proving they entered the U.S. legally.

Applying for a U.S. Driver’s License as an Immigrant

Undocumented immigrants are able to obtain a driver’s license in the states listed below:

  • California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington are among the states that have ratified the Constitution.

In the meanwhile, depending on the state in which you reside, you can utilize your international license for a period of 6-12 months. More information may be found on the website of your state.

U.S. Driver’s License Requirements for Immigrants

The prerequisites for obtaining a driver’s license in the United States differ from state to state. Most, but not all, need the use of an agreement card, as previously stated. Typically, some of the prerequisites for acquiring your license include your photo identification, evidence of residency in your state, proof of social security, a driver’s license from your home country, and a passport from your home nation. Visit the website of your state to learn more about the unique criteria for obtaining a driver’s license in the United States.

Preparing for the Driver’s Test

The written section of the driver’s exam and the driving portion are the two components of the U.S. driver’s test. More information about these components of the examination, as well as when you may repeat the exams if you fail, can be found on your state’s website.

Written Portion

The written component of the driver’s examination in the United States includes questions about traffic regulations, safety measures, and other topics. In the event of a failure to pass the driving test, the driver’s license is automatically suspended. A fast Google search will help you locate online quizzes to help you prepare for your driver’s exam, but we recommend visiting your state’s website to obtain additional resources, such as a copy of the state’s driver’s handbook, to help you prepare.

Driving Portion

Maneuverability and then on-road driving are required for the driving component of the United States driver’s examination. Depending on where you take your test, any infraction during the test is considered an automatic fail. For example, striking a cone during the maneuverability phase of the test or failing to stop at a traffic signal during the road component are both considered automatic fails in some locations. It is possible to enroll in a local driving school in order to prepare for this component of the exam.

When looking for these choices, your local motor vehicle office might be a valuable resource.

International Driver’s License

Once you get your green card, you may apply for an International Driver’s Permit (IDP), which will allow you to drive in over 150 countries across the world once you have it. This is a great option if you plan on going to other countries and need to rent a car while there. In addition, it is crucial to remember that only two organizations in the United States have been approved by the United States Department of State to grant an International Driving Permit: the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) (AATA).

If you’re ever in doubt, you may always seek advice from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

U.S. Driver’s License Renewal

It’s a good idea to visit your state’s website before renewing your license to be sure you have all of the papers you’ll need. Licenses generally expire after a few years, but again, the expiration dates vary from state to state, so it is important to check with your state before purchasing a new license. Are you ready to begin your journey toward obtaining a green card? Allow us to assist you in determining if you are qualified.

States Offering Driver’s Licenses to Immigrants

California A 60 2013 This law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue driver’s licenses to individuals who are ineligible for a Social Security number, if the required documentation is provided. Jan. 1, 2015
Colorado S 251 2013 This law allows individuals to qualify for a driver’s license, instruction permit or identification card, despite the individual not being lawfully present or being only temporarily lawfully present in the United States if certain conditions are met, such as providing state tax returns. Aug. 1, 2014
Connecticut H 6495 2013 This law provides driver’s licenses to applicants who submit a valid foreign passport or consular identification and proof of residency, regardless of legal presence in the United States. Applicants must file to legalize as soon as he or she is eligible Jan. 1, 2015
Delaware S 59 2015 This law creates the means for an undocumented immigrant to obtain a driving privilege card in Delaware. A driving privilege card or permit applicant must provide the state with satisfactory documentary evidence and that the applicant has filed a Delaware income tax return or resided in Delaware and been claimed as a dependent by an individual who has filed a state income tax return for the preceding two years. The card is not considered a valid form of identification due to the applicant’s inability to prove legal presence in the U.S. Dec. 27, 2015
Hawaii H 1007 2015 This law authorizes the issuance of driver’s licenses to residents of Hawaii who cannot provide proof of authorized presence in the United States. Applicants must provide satisfactory proof of identity and Hawaii residency. Jan. 1, 2016
Illinois S 957 2012 This law allows the Secretary of State to issue a temporary visitor’s driver’s license to an individual who has resided in Illinois for a specified time but is ineligible to obtain a Social Security number, and unable to prove lawful presence. A valid, unexpired foreign passport or consular identification document from their country of citizenship are acceptable forms of identification. Nov. 28, 2013
Maryland S 715 2013 This law authorizes the issuance of driver’s licenses to those who do not have lawful status or a valid Social Security number.New applicants must provide evidence that the applicant has filed two years of Maryland income tax returns or proof of residency or have been claimed as a dependent by an individual who has filed Maryland income tax returns.The licenses are not valid for Federal identification purposes. Jan. 1, 2014
New Jersey A4743 2019 This law creates a standard driver’s license or identification that does not require proof of lawful presence. The law prohibits the motor vehicle commission from disclosing information to any federal, state or local law enforcement agency for immigration purposes without the consent of the individual, a warrant, court order or subpoena, unless such restriction is contrary to federal law. The commission may not retain copies of documents submitted to establish eligibility for a license or identification card. June 1, 2020
New Mexico H 173 2003 This law allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to accept tax identification numbers as a substitute for a Social Security number regardless of immigration status. 2003
New York S 1747 2019 This law authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue standard drivers’ licenses and restricts what information can be retained and given out on those applying or holding licenses. June 17, 2019
New York A3675 2019 This legislation allows for the issuance of a driver’s license to undocumented residents and protects the data of those applying for such privilege from unwarranted release. The Department of Motor Vehicles may not disclose records to any agency that primarily enforces immigration law without a lawful court order or judicial warrant. The law requires that any person or entity that has access to information from the department to certify that the information will not be used for civil immigration purposes. Application forms for non-commercial drivers’ licenses and learners’ permits which do not meet federal standards for identification may not state: the documents an applicant used to prove age or identity; an applicant’s ineligibility for a social security number where applicable; or an applicant’s citizenship or immigration status. A non-commercial driver’s license or learner’s permit which does not meet federal standards for identification may not be used as evidence of a person’s citizenship or immigration status, and may not be the basis for investigating, arresting, or detaining a person. Such licenses must be visually identical to federal-purpose driver’s licenses except that such licenses may state “Not for Federal Purposes”. Dec. 14, 2019
Nevada S 303 2013 This law creates a driver’s authorization card and allows applicants, regardless of legal status, to provide birth certificates or passports issued by a foreign country as proof of identity. This law also prohibits the release of information relating to legal status for purposes relating to the enforcement of immigration laws. Jan. 1, 2014
Oregon H2015 2019 This law eliminates the requirement that a person provide proof of legal presence before the Department of Transportation issues a noncommercial driver license, noncommercial driver permit or identification card. Acceptable documents to prove identity, date of birth or address when a person is applying for a driver license, driver permit or identification card that is not a Real ID, a commercial driver license, or a commercial learner driver permit, include: (a) An unexpired valid passport from the person’s country of citizenship; (b) An unexpired valid consular identification document issued by the consulate of the person’s country of citizenship; (c) A driver license, driver permit or identification card issued by Oregon that expired less than 13 years before the current application; or (d) A driver license, driver permit or identification card issued by another state that is unexpired or expired less than a year before the current application. Aug. 9, 2019
Utah S 227 2005 This law establishes a one-year driving privilege card for unauthorized immigrants.Applicants without a Social Security number must prove Utah residency for six months and provide a tax identification number. The card is expressly prohibited from being used for any identification purposes by a governmental entity. March 8, 2005
Vermont S 38 2013 This law allows those Vermont residents unable to establish lawful presence in the United States to be eligible for a motor vehicle operator’s privilege card or alternate identification card. Jan. 1, 2014
Virginia HB 1211/SB 34 2020 This law creates a driving privilege card or permit for applicants who do not meet the requirements for a driver’s license or permit. The applicant must have reported income and deductions from Virginia sources, or been claimed as a dependent, on an individual income tax return filed in the preceding 12 months and may not be in violation of the insurance requirements. Applicants may not be required to present proof of legal presence in the United States. A driver privilege card or permit will expire on the applicant’s second birthday following the date of issuance. The front of a driver privilege card or permit must be identical in appearance to a driver’s license or permit that is not a REAL ID credential and the back of the card or permit must be identical in appearance to the restriction on the back of a limited-duration license, permit or special identification card. Jan. 1, 2021
Washington H 1444 1993 This law allows drivers license applicants without Social Security numbers to provide alternate documentation to show proof of residence in the state of Washington such as home utility bills and tax identification numbers. July 25, 1993
District of Columbia B 275 2013 This law creates a limited purpose driver’s license, permit, or identification card for a District resident who has not been assigned a Social Security number or cannot establish legal presence in the United States. May 1, 2014
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In the United States, immigrants who do not have the necessary legal documentation for residency may be subjected to considerable limitations. In order to do so, you must first obtain an identity card or a driver’s license. According to the Social Security number assigned to a person, these documents are provided by each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Because an illegal immigrant does not have access to Social Security, it is conceivable that they will be unable to submit an application.

Changing Laws Surrounding Driver’s Licenses

Many state legislators feel that acquiring a driver’s license ensures greater safety for all drivers and pedestrians on the roads. Undocumented immigrants would benefit from the availability of a driver’s license since it would enable them to cope more realistically and safely with their everyday activities. Things like sending their children to school and purchasing a car insurance policy will become easier and safer as a result of this change. Furthermore, they might receive training on the traffic laws of the state in which they reside, pass their theoretical driving exam, and then demonstrate their practical driving abilities to demonstrate that they understand the state’s traffic laws.

Some States Do Allow Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants

According to the most recent public opinion in favor of collective security, certain states in the United States have decided to enable illegal immigrants to get a special driver’s license. Undocumented individuals are not entitled to the benefits of a driver’s license under federal law, which is why they cannot obtain one. Only a few states permit the possession of a driver’s license, and each state has its own set of restrictions. In many instances, a foreign driver’s license as well as an International Tax Identification Number (ITIN) are required.

Common Features of Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Undocumented immigrants who get a driver’s license are subject to specific limitations, which vary depending on the state in which they reside. In general, practically every state takes into consideration the following factors:

  • Licenses are only useful for two things: driving and purchasing insurance. They do not permit the receipt of federal funds. As part of their efforts to meet the requirements of the Real ID Act, several states have imposed usage restrictions on their special licenses. The design and look of these licenses are distinct from one another. Unlike ordinary licenses, they state “not valid for identification,” “not valid for federal identification, voting, or public benefits purposes,” among other things. Their use as a document that guarantees you permanent legal residency or citizenship is not permissible. It is against the law to use them to vote in elections in the United States. Their use as a legitimate document for travel on a commercial airline is forbidden
  • They do not exempt anybody from taking the theoretical and practical driving tests
  • And they do not grant entrance to a federal facility.

What States Give Driver’s Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants?

Undocumented immigrants are subject to a variety of state regulations, including those governing driver’s licenses and the necessity for a REAL ID. At present moment, not all states have legislation that are applicable.

State Law Approval Date Regulations of the Law Effective Date
California AB 60Chapter 524 2013 You must prove that you are a resident of the state of California and that you do not qualify for a Social Security number. The license says, “federal limits apply.” Jan. 1, 2015
Colorado SB 13-251Session 42-2-104 2013 You must verify your identity with a passport or consular ID, have filed your taxes with the state during the year before applying for the license, or have your taxpayer identification number and prove that you lived the last 24 months in the state. The license says “not valid for federal identification, voting, or public benefits purposes.” Aug. 1, 2014
Connecticut H 6495Public Act 1389 2013 You have to verify your identity with your passport or consular registration and prove your residence in the state of Connecticut. In addition, you must submit an affidavit stating that your immigration status will be legalized as soon as you are eligible. The document is not valid as proof of identity and is issued for 3 to 6 years. The license says “not for federal identification.” Jan. 1, 2015
Delaware S 592711 Title 21 2015 The law allows undocumented immigrants to have a card with driving privileges. The applicant must prove that they have filed their taxes or are a dependent of someone who has filed their taxes with the state in the last two years. The card says “driving privilege only – not valid for identification.” Dec. 27, 2015
District of Columbia (D.C.) B20-275Driver Safety Amendment 2013 The law in this state allows a driver’s card valid for eight years to anyone who can prove that they are a D.C. resident for more than six months, who does not have a Social Security number, and who can prove their ID. May 1, 2014
Hawaii H 1007 2015 This state grants a driver’s license to individuals who cannot prove their legal stay in the country. Applicants must provide some proof of identity and proof of state residency. The document says “not acceptable for official federal purposes.” Jan. 1, 2016
Illinois S 0957 2013 Illinois law provides a temporary license for visitors who do not qualify for a Social Security number, have resided in Illinois for more than one year, and cannot show legal documents about their stay in the country. The applicant must show with their application a valid passport or consular registration number. The license is valid for 3 years and it says “not valid for identification.” Nov. 28, 2013
Maryland SB 715 2013 It allows individuals without a Social Security number to have a license if they have filed their taxes or are the dependent of someone who has filed taxes with the state in the last two years. The license is a different color from the ones legal residents carry and says “not acceptable for federal purposes.” Jan. 1, 2014
Nevada SB 303 2013 This state issues a one-year driver’s card for those who do not have a valid Social Security number and regardless of their legal status. The applicant must prove their identity with a birth certificate or passport. The card differs from the official driver’s license and says “not valid for identification.” Jan. 1, 2014
New Jersey A4743(p.21) 2019 The law mandates two types of documents. One is the Real ID under federal guidelines, and the other is a standard driver’s license that any New Jersey resident can obtain without discrimination based on immigration status. It is also prohibited to disclose the personal information of those who have the standard driver’s license for immigration-related purposes unless there is authorization from the individual. Jan. 1, 2021
New Mexico H 173 2003 The applicant must present a taxpayer identification number if they do not have a Social Security number to obtain their standard driver’s license, regardless of their status of legal permanence. The document says “not valid for federal purposes.” 2003
New York A3675 2019 New York law establishes that no person or public entity may disclose the information of an applicant for a driver’s license to be used for purposes of determining their immigration status. The applicant must provide proof of identity, such as a valid passport or a driver’s license from their country of origin with less than 24 months of expiration or the consular registration number. But they do not need to prove immigration status, and if they do not have a Social Security number, they must provide an affidavit stating that one has not been assigned. The license is not a REAL ID; therefore, it does not meet federal requirements. Dec. 14, 2019
Oregon HB 2015 2019 The law eliminated the requirement to prove the legality of immigration status to have a driver’s license. However, the applicant must prove identity with a passport, or consular registration, or license from her country of origin, or license issued by another state. The license is standard, and it is not the REAL ID. Therefore it does not comply with federal requirements. Aug. 9, 2019
Utah S 227 2005 This state issues a special card with driving privileges valid for one year. The applicant must prove that they are a resident of the state of Utah for at least six months and provide a taxpayer number. The card says “not valid for identification driving privilege only.” Mar. 8, 2005
Vermont S 38 2013 State law allows an immigrant without legal status in the country to obtain a special driving document called an operator privilege card. To apply, proof of identity must be provided through a valid passport, birth certificate, consular registration, or marriage certificate. You also have to prove that you are a resident of the state. The document says, “driver’s privilege card not for federal identification.” Jan. 1, 2014
Washington H 1444 1993 The applicant must prove that they are a state resident by presenting a bill for their services, or documents from the school, or university. They must also prove their identity. The card says “driver’s license – federal limits apply.” July 25, 1993

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Related Topics In This Section

Before a REAL ID-compliant driver license or ID card may be provided to an immigrant who is renewing, replacing, or applying for a new driver license or ID card in person, the immigrant must present the following documentation. Please keep in mind that the name allocated to the Social Security Number (SSN) must be the same as the name that will appear on the Florida driving license or identification card. Customers who have recently changed their names should contact the Social Security Administration to ensure that their records are up to date before applying for a driving license or identification card.

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Initial Identifying Information An original of one of the following papers, having the full name of the document on it:

  • I-551 stamp in passport or on I-94
  • Immigration judge’s order granting asylum, which includes the customer’s A-number (admissions number)
  • Or I-797, or another form from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which includes the customer’s A-number, stating the customer’s application for refugee status is a priority
  • Or I-797, or another form from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which includes the customer’s

2. A copy of your Social Security card An original of one of the following documents, complete with your full name and SSN on the back:

  • Social Security card (with the customer’s current name on it)
  • W-2 form (not handwritten)
  • Pay check/stub
  • SSA-1099
  • Or any 1099 (not handwritten)
  • And any 1099 (not handwritten).

Customers who do not have a Social Security number can get help from our What to Bring FAQ page. 3. Documentation proving one’s residential address Customers will not be permitted to use their current driver’s license or identification card as verification of their residential address. It is necessary for customers to present TWO separate papers proving their residence address (printouts or faxes of these documents are acceptable). Documents used to identify a residential address include, but are not limited to:

  • Deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement, mortgage payment booklet, or residential rental/lease agreement
  • Florida voter registration card
  • Florida vehicle registration or title (print a duplicate registration at)
  • Utility bill
  • A utility hook up or work order dated within 60 days of the application
  • Automobile payment booklet
  • Medical or health card with address listed
  • Current homeowner insurance policy or bill
  • Current automobile insurance policy or bill
  • Current automobile insurance policy or bill Forms for educational institution transcripts for the current academic year are available
  • A professional license granted by a government entity in the United States that has not expired
  • A W-2 form or a 1099 form
  • Form DS2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) status
  • And A letter from a homeless shelter, transitional assistance provider, or half-way house confirming that the customer’s mail is received by the organization. aCertification of Address form
  • Mail from financial institutions, such as checking, savings, or investment account statements
  • Mail from government entities at the federal, state, county, or city level
  • Or an FDLE registration form completed by the local sheriff’s office

The customer must supply two proofs of residential address from a parent, step-parent, legal guardian, or other person with whom they reside in addition to aCertification of Addressform if they do not have the above-mentioned documents in their possession. Customer’s are not needed to produce these documents for successive renewals under the REAL ID Act, unless their information changes (e.g., name, address). It is necessary for customers who have legally changed their names as a result of marriage, divorce, or court order to have their names updated on their USCIS documentation.

How to Get a Driver’s License as an Undocumented Immigrant

In the absence of broad federal changes, states have taken on immigration law one problem at a time, a practice known as state-led reform. This covers the licensing of drivers who are unable to demonstrate their legal presence in the country. In reality, ten states have passed legislation in the previous three years to extend driving privileges and identification cards to so-called illegal immigrants living in their jurisdictions. Other states, on the other hand, have enacted new (or maintained existing) prohibitions on such limited licenses.


Prior to 1990, no state needed proof of legal status in order to receive a driver’s license. According to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators’ 2014 report, the number of states that provide full-privilege driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants has declined from 25 to two since 2003.

As a result of the Real ID Act of 2005, which required states to need extra paperwork for residents seeking for licenses, the number of people applying for licenses decreased over time. This corresponded with the act’s intended — but frequently postponed — enforcement.

Now more states are introducing restricted driver’s licenses

Many states began providing limited licenses to its inhabitants, regardless of whether or not they could provide proof of their legal status in the nation at the time of application. There are now 10 jurisdictions (including Washington, D.C.) that have or will have a limited form of driver’s licenses available to illegal immigrants, except from New Mexico and Washington, which are the two states that still give standard licenses to undocumented immigrants.

What kind of licenses are available and where?

The map below shows that, despite the fact that 10 states and the District of Columbia have already begun offering driving privileges, the degree of privilege varies from one state to the next: an unrestricted license is the same license that Americans already have in their wallets; driving privilege-only licenses can’t be used for any other purpose; and driving-privilege licenses can be used as identification in the state where the license was issued.

Aside from Washington and New Mexico, five of the twelve states that provide driving privileges (including Delaware and Hawaii, which are planned to approve legislation in 2016) also permit the use of the license as a form of identification inside the state.

Status of states with higher undocumented immigrant populations

California and other states with large immigrant populations are represented in the graph below in terms of proposing and passing legislation that is either in favor of or against a restricted-license option for drivers. Their current status is divided into four categories: those who have passed a ban on such licenses (Ban); those who have presented a bill for such licenses (Introduced); those who have had the bill sent to a committee (Sent to a Committee); and those who have passed the bill (Passed) (Passed).

Another important point is that 11 of the 15 states are either working on or have already approved legislation granting drivers’ privileges.

Driving-privilege laws draw bipartisan support in state legislatures

The map below illustrates the current political leanings of each of the legislatures of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, including whether Democrats or Republicans were elected to a majority in the legislatures at the time the map was created. It also shows that legislation has received support from both political parties. Thirteen states have enacted legislation supporting driving privileges (“Y” for “Yes”); 29 states have passed legislation opposing driving privileges (“N” for “No”); and six states are working on legislation supporting or opposing driving privileges (“P” for “Proposed”).

Driving-privilege laws passed by states (and D.C.) since 2010

Since 2010, new legislation pertaining to driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants have been signed into law in sixteen states and the District of Columbia, representing a diverse range of immigrant populations and political leanings. In all, they passed 15 new laws, 11 of which were enabling legislation for driving privilege permits.

Each of the 11 measures was drafted (or sponsored) by Democrats or Democratic-dominated coalitions. In contrast, three of the four laws prohibiting the possession of a driver’s license were written or co-authored by a Republican member of Congress.

State Number of U.I.* Bill For/Against Driving Privilege Primary Sponsor Enacted
Hawaii 35,000 H 1007 FOR Rep. Henry J.C. Aquino (D) 30-Jun-15
Delaware 20,000 S 59 FOR Sen. Bryan Townsend (D) 12-Jun-15
Indiana 85,000 H 1393 AGAINST Rep. Edmond Soliday (R) 4-May-15
Nebraska 55,000 L 623 AGAINST Rep. Jeremy Nordquist (R) 17-Mar-15
District of Columbia 20,000 B 812 FOR Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) 17-Jun-14
Connecticut 130,000 H 6495 FOR Rep. Ezequiel Santiago (D) 3-Oct-13
Nevada 210,000 S 303 FOR Asm. Elliot T. Anderson (D) and 9 others 6-Jun-13
Colorado 180,000 S 251 FOR Sen. Jessie Ulibarri (D) and Sen. John Morse (D) 5-Jun-13
California 2,450,000 A 60 FOR Asm. Luis Alejo (D) and 11 others 4-Jun-13
North Dakota 5,000 S 2039 AGAINST Committee 29-May-13
Oregon 120,000 H 2517 FOR** Reps. Brian L. Clem (D) and Vicki Berger (R) 28-May-13
Maryland 250,000 S 715 FOR Sen. Victor R. Ramirez (D) and 14 others 2-May-13

Display All Rows in a Table

  • *According to a 2014 research by the Pew Research Center
  • **According to a ballot proposition rejected by voters

Issuance rates of driving-privilege licenses

Undocumented immigrants should be aware that simply because they live in a place where driving permission cards are available does not imply that they will be issued them immediately. The graphic below, which is based on data from each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Revenue, shows that illegal immigrants must wait in line to obtain their driving permission permits in every state except Alaska. In California, for example, within the first three months of the law’s existence, 91 percent of the 493,998 people who applied possessed the appropriate documentation to acquire a license without additional examination; nevertheless, only 40 percent of those who applied actually obtained their licenses.

There were four states that scored worse than the national average: Colorado (46 percent), Illinois (45 percent), Nevada (34 percent), Connecticut (32 percent), and Maryland (17 percent).

Side-by-side comparison of unrestricted, restricted licenses

State driving privilege licenses must include the fine print, which is a mix of the terms “federal limitations apply” and “state limits apply” in order to be compliant with the Real ID Act. Simply put, limited licenses must be distinguished from unrestricted licenses in appearance since they have less powers than unrestricted licenses. Only a slight distinction can be discerned between limited and unrestricted licenses in seven of the nine states that provide both options. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., and California, a limited license issued to an illegal immigrant cannot be utilized by police enforcement as a cause for challenging that individual’s legal status in the nation.

Can I Get A Driver’s License Without Having A Green Card?

In some states, getting a driver’s license without possessing a Green Card is feasible. Driver’s licenses issued by the state serve as documentation of a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle. Driver’s licenses are mandatory identification documents. Drivers who do not have their licenses and registrations may be handed costly traffic charges. Driver’s licenses are also used as official identity cards in several jurisdictions, including the United States. IDs are required on a variety of circumstances, such as when applying for a job or when opening a bank account, among others.

Most states do not grant driver’s licenses unless the applicant is a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident of the country.

Fortunately, if a permanent resident loses his or her Green Card, it may be replaced.

Some jurisdictions let licensed drivers from other nations to drive lawfully in their state for a period of one year. Undocumented immigrants can get driver’s licenses in a small number of states, including the following:

  • Washington, New Mexico, and Utah (none of these states need a driver’s license. The state of Illinois requires only a driver’s license.

Because of concerns about public safety, these jurisdictions have chosen to offer illegal immigrants the opportunity to drive lawfully in their states. In order to obtain a driver’s license, candidates must first understand the rules of the road, then pass driving exams, and then obtain auto insurance before they can begin driving. Undocumented immigrants who do not have driver’s licenses are more likely to drive without learning the necessary skills and without insurance, making the roadways less safe for all drivers on the road.

Some undocumented immigrants, however, may be eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was recently implemented.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program entered into force in August of 2012.

The application procedure necessitates the submission of a number of papers in order to demonstrate eligibility.

  • As of June 15, 2012, you were younger than 31 years old. Arrived in the United States before reaching the age of sixteen
  • Lived in the United States without interruptions since June 15, 2007, and continue to do so at the current moment
  • Currently enrolled in school, just graduated, with a certificate of completion or a GED certification
  • A spotless criminal record without a conviction of a crime, serious misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors

DACA is a relatively recent legislation that was implemented in 2012. As of now, only 38 states have indicated that they would formally provide driver’s licenses to DACA recipients in the future. The four states stated above are not included in the following list since they already provide illegal immigrants with driving rights under their jurisdictions. Driver’s licenses under DACA have been issued in the following states so far:

  • The states of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, and Washington D.C.
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • And Wisconsin.

When applying for a driver’s license, you will be asked to show documentation of DACA status. DACA recipients are granted work authorization, and this is a document that might be used as confirmation of their eligibility. Two states have formally prohibited the issuance of driver’s licenses to DACA recipients: California and New York.

How to Get a Driver’s License for Illegal Immigrants

Documentation Download Documentation Download Documentation As of July 2015, twelve states and the District of Columbia have approved laws permitting undocumented immigrants to receive drivers’ licenses. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Vermont, and Washington are among the states that fall within this category. There are certain differences between these licenses and the licenses provided to citizens and legal immigrants; for example, you cannot use them to sign up for benefits or board an airline with the same authority.

  1. 1 Determine the prerequisites for your state. Each state issues its own driver’s license. As a result, the standards for each state may range slightly from one another. You may find out what you need to do by visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website in your state, which should provide a list of prerequisites
  • To locate your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, enter “DMV” and your state’s name into a search engine. Once you’ve done that, look into the requirements for a driver’s license. Pay close attention only to the requirements of your state
  • 2 Gather documentation proving your state residence and identity.Most states will ask you to demonstrate that you have been in the state for a particular period of time before applying. Evidence in the form of rental or lease agreements, mortgage bills, employment documents, school records, and so forth. It is possible that you will require additional documents to confirm your residence. You may also be required to show:
  • It is necessary to have a valid passport or consular identification card, or some other document that establishes your identity
  • Inability to obtain a Social Security number. Proof of insurance and a statement from the Social Security Administration declaring that you do not qualify for a Social Security number may be required. Before you can obtain a driver’s license, some states may require proof of insurance.
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  • 3 Prepare for the knowledge test. You will be assessed on your understanding of driving regulations and state legislation that pertain to driving, among other things. If you want to be well prepared for the exam, you should obtain any Driver Handbook that the state makes available on its website. You should go over it and make notes.
  • A sample test is also available in some states, which you can take for free. It is recommended that you take a practice test and study the correct answers prior to visiting the DMV.
  • 4 Consult with an attorney. Depending on your circumstances, you may wish to consult with an attorney before applying for your new driver’s license. For example, you may already possess a driver’s license that was obtained via the use of false or fraudulent papers. Additionally, you may have used someone else’s Social Security Number to obtain a driver’s license. It’s unclear whether or not states will prosecute you if you come out with your information.
  • So, for example, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has indicated that it will not advance prior cases of fraud to get a driver’s license if there is no other criminal behavior on the person’s record. The advice of attorneys is to use cautious, and you should also evaluate your criminal background. You may be targeted by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) if you have convictions for crimes or major misdemeanors, or if you have re-entered the nation after being deported from another country. If you are unable to pay an attorney, you should attempt to contact a legal assistance group in your area by utilizing thisLocator tool. Legal aid organizations give free or reduced-fee legal services to persons who are in need of assistance due to financial constraints.
  • So, for example, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has stated that it will not forward past cases of fraud to obtain a driver’s license if there is no other criminal activity involved. Lawyers, on the other hand, advise caution and advise you to check your criminal history. You may be targeted by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) if you have convictions for crimes or major misdemeanors, or if you have re-entered the nation after being deported by another country. For those who cannot afford an attorney, thisLocator will help you find a legal aid group in your area that can assist you. The services of legal aid organizations are provided at no cost or at a reduced cost to people who are in need of legal representation.
  • If you pass the vision and knowledge tests, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles will mail you your permit. Depending on your age, you will be required to meet the criteria of the driver’s license. You must have completed at least 22 hours of classroom training, as well as an eight-hour Safe Driving Practices course, at a commercial or secondary driving school if you are between the ages of 16 and 17. After that, you’ll need an extra 40 hours of driving practice. For individuals who are 18 years or older, you will be required to complete an eight-hour Safe Driving Practices class.
  1. 1 Make a trip to the DMV. You may find the location of your local DMV by checking your state’s website, which should provide a list of locations where you can submit your application. The website should also include information about the hours during which they are open.
  • You will almost certainly need to schedule an appointment in order to obtain an undocumented immigrant driver’s license. If you live in California, you may schedule an appointment online by visiting this website or by calling 1-877-777-0133 (option 1). It is possible to book an appointment in Colorado by visiting thiswebpage or by calling 303-205-2335.
  • 2 Complete an application. The DMV will need that you complete an application when you arrive at the office. Some states may make their applications available online in PDF format, which is a convenient option for applicants. If that’s the case, you can download it and complete it before visiting the DMV office.
  • Nevada’s application may be found here on the internet. Make sure you are applying for a “Driver Authorization Card” before proceeding.
  • 3 Have your vision checked. When applying for a driver’s license, most states require that you pass a vision exam. Most states demand that you have 20/20 eyesight or better in order to be granted full driving privileges. If your eyesight deteriorates, you may be denied a license or face driving limitations (such as being prohibited from driving at night).
  • If you wear glasses, you may continue to do so during the test. However, if you require the usage of spectacles or contact lenses in order to pass the exam, a notation will be put on your driver’s license indicating this.
  • 4 Pass the written examination. The prerequisites for the tests will differ from state to state. However, you will most likely be required to recognize typical traffic signals as well as to respond to questions concerning driver liability and driving restrictions.
  • In Nevada, the written exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions that must be answered correctly. To pass the knowledge test, you must have an overall score of 80 or above. The test is available in two languages: English and Spanish.
  • 5 Put your plan to the test on the road. In order to obtain a driver’s license, most states will need you to pass a road test. In order to drive, you must have auto insurance and have the vehicle registered. However, the driving exam will differ based on the state and the instructor, but you should anticipate that it will include the following topics:
  • Identifying and operating the vehicle’s controls, such as the accelerator, signals, brake, horn, and so on
  • Ensure that the seat, mirror, and seat belts are correctly adjusted. Taking the brakes out of gear
  • Verifying that the path is clear by looking over your shoulder Using turn signals in the appropriate manner
  • Having the ability to turn
  • Stopping the car and backing it up appropriately
  • Parking on a steep incline
  • Follow all traffic signs and signals. Obey all traffic regulations, including speed limits and lane markers. Your general safety, including your awareness of the traffic in your immediate surroundings
  • 6 You must pay the price. Each state levies a tax, which varies from one state to another depending on the state. Check with the DMV ahead of time to discover out how much the price is and what means of payment are accepted
  • There is a $50.50 cost in Colorado for this service. It costs $72.00 in Connecticut, and you may pay with cash, money orders, personal checks, bank checks, Mastercard, Visa, Discover card, and most debit cards with a Mastercard or Visa logo
  • In Massachusetts, the charge is $72.00
  • And in Rhode Island, the fee is $72.00.
  • Seventh, have your photograph taken. In order to obtain a driver’s license, you will be required to sit and have your photo taken. Your photograph must be included on the license itself.
  • Washington employs facial recognition technology for its photographs, which means that you must remove anything that is obscuring your face or head before taking your image. It is possible that you will need to produce a thumbprint if you have a medical or religious cause to do so.
  1. 8Receive your license in the mail. It is possible that you will not obtain your license immediately. Instead, the Secretary of State may require additional time to verify your immigrant status before granting you a driver’s licence. Advertisement
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Someone who was born in a nation other than the United States and who does not have legal immigration status in the United States may be able to receive a driver’s license in a small number of states, including California. (This type of person is referred to as “undocumented” in the short term. The word “illegal alien” may also be heard. In this article, you will learn about California’s law (known as AB 60, which was passed in 2013) about obtaining a driver’s license if you are an illegal person.

Legal Implications of Obtaining a California Driver’s License

Obtaining a California driver’s license just indicates that you are authorized to operate a motor vehicle inside the state of California and that you are required to carry an identification card showing your eligibility. Obtaining a California driver’s license does not confer any form of legal standing in the United States on the individual. California does not have the authority to legalize your immigration status in the United States; this is an issue that is handled only by federal law. Among other things, this implies that you cannot use your license for federal identification or to cast a ballot in United States presidential or congressional elections.

It cited a number of studies that found that around one in every five fatal collisions involved a motorist who did not have a valid license, and that millions of California drivers did not have auto insurance.

Eligibility for a California Driver’s License

For undocumented individuals who are unsure if they are eligible for a California driver’s license because they lack legal status or a Social Security Number (SSN), the most crucial question is whether they can fulfill the requirements laid forth in Assembly Bill 60. This regulation requires you to not only fulfill the same qualifications as other potential drivers (for example, knowing the traffic rules and having acceptable vision), but also to comply with the following additional requirements:

  • Proof of your identity is required, as is proof of your residency in California. You must also swear in an affidavit (written statement) that you are ineligible for a Social Security number and that you are unable to provide satisfactory proof that your presence in the United States is authorized by federal law. This affidavit will not be considered a public record
  • Instead, it will be kept confidential.

As proof of your identity, you will be required to submit documents such as a passport, consular card (matricula consular), or electoral card. As proof of your residence in California, you will be required to submit documents such as rental or lease agreements with your signature as well as the landlord’s signature; mortgage and home utility bills in your name; school records; medical records; insurance records; bank and employment records; and so on. You can find more specific information on what documents to submit on the AB 60 Checklist page of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website.

Application Process for a California Driver’s License

To apply, you may either schedule an appointment or walk into one of the many driver license processing locations located around the state. Fill out an application form, pay costs, and pass a written exam, as well as possible road sign tests, vision tests, and driving skills tests before being considered for the position of truck driver.

Several different language versions of study materials are available. For further information, see the AB 60 Driver License page on the California Department of Motor Vehicles website.

What an Undocumented Person’s California Driver’s License Will Look Like

The note “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY” will appear on the back of your California driver’s license. That implies that anyone who reads it will have a very decent notion that you are not a citizen of the United States—but don’t be alarmed. The legislation also prohibits discrimination against those who have an AB 60 license, and California police officers are not required to turn over unauthorized immigrants to federal immigration enforcement authorities, as is the case nationwide. Whatever the case may be, it remains true that nothing prevents federal immigration officials from apprehending someone who has an AB 60 license—whether they do so after encountering them during a home or workplace raid, placing a hold on them after an arrest and imprisonment by law enforcement, or accessing the DMV files because they are looking for that individual.

Who Should NOT Apply for an AB 60 License in California

If you have a record of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) or any other criminal record, have been deported (removed) in the past, or have used fraudulent documents to get a previous drivers’ license, you should think hard about applying. Before submitting an application, speak with an attorney about the dangers involved.

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