Ep. 24 Who can apply for a California Driver’s License under AB 60 and what is the process?

  • Beginning of January 2, 2015 any eligible person – a California resident – will be eligible to receive a driving license regardless of immigration status
  • DMV released a list of documents that will be accepted to prove identity
  • You need to establish California residency; key is to prove identity and residency

Raw Transcript:

Jacob: Hello everybody this is Jacob Sapochnick with Ask An Immigration Lawyer Podcast. Welcome to the show.

Today we have a very common question we’ve been getting in the past few weeks, since the beginning of the year. And the question is can I apply for a California driving license now under AB60 even though I’m not legally authorized to be here in the US. The AB60 law has been anticipated for months now. In fact since beginning of 2014 when they announced that they will pass this it’s been very exciting. So what is it?

Well, beginning of January 2nd 2015 any eligible person in California, California resident, will be able to receive a driving license regardless of immigration status. And this is huge because currently DMV in most states they do verify a person’s legal status. If the person has no legal status, they’re not able to get a driving license, not able to drive and not being able to drive is a big problem. And so an applicant who doesn’t have proof of lawful presence will receive an AB60 license – it’s the name of the bill, the AB60 bill, which will have a visible, distinguishing feature.

We’re not sure exactly what it will be. Maybe some sort of … a different color or they’ll have a stamp but it definitely will be slightly different than a regular driving license. License are not available actually until beginning of this month but at this point we are able to already apply for them but beginning of January. And they only be available from the DMV. You can get them for any agent or any personal services that can issue those licenses. They can only be obtained at the local Department of Motor Vehicles.

So what is needed, what is needed to get this?

Well, it’s very important for people who are not documented to start collecting whatever paper they have to prove their identity and that you live in the state of California. And so one of the requirements of AB60 is going to be identity and residency requirements. So you’ll have to prove your identity and California residency to the Department of Motor Vehicles. It could be a combination of things.

So they just released a list of documents that will be accepted to prove identity – so you should collect those documents. [A current foreign 00:02:46] passport and a consular ID or an expired foreign passport. A foreign birth certificate can be used to prove your identity. And if you don’t have a consular ID or passport but you can obtain one of your … one from the consulate in the US, you should do that because that’s going to be proof of identity.

You also have to establish a California residency and one of the things we can use a lease, a utility bill, a tax return, a medical record; any financial institute like a bank, school records. If you don’t have residency documents and your name should transfer bills in your name or similar documents because you’re going to need those when applying for license.

The application form they’re going to be using is called a DL-44 license application and if you have a valid social security number by the social security administration you also need to use that number on the form. If you don’t have a number you should say that you don’t have one. But we definitely encourage you not to use a fake number. Of course you’ll have to pass the driving test and other eligibility to get a license but key is to prove your identity and residency and make an appointment. Again, do not apply anywhere else but at the DMV.

Many people ask me, finally, what happens if I apply for license? Is it going to expose me? Well, it’s still kind of controversial right now. We’re not really sure what’s the impact of applying for license. Either they’re going to be using that against people undocumented. We hope not. But be reminded the license will be marked as slightly different. If somebody stops you it will show that it’s an AB60 license which means that you are not currently undocumented. And so we are not sure yet what the police or other agencies are going to be doing. They don’t have any instruction yet. We hope they’re not going to use it against those people applying. Again, the idea is to make people safe in the state so they can drive.

As of now, to summarize, you can apply for this license at a local DMV in California under the AB60 rule so go ahead and apply. And if you have any questions feel free to post them at the comments and if you have any other questions related to this feel free to email to us or directly go to askanimmigrationlawyer.com and post your questions. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you at our next episode.