Pursuant to AB 60, beginning January 2, 2015, the California DMV will begin issuing driver licenses to undocumented immigrants living in California. The new law requires the California DMV to issue a driver license to individuals who can prove identity and California residence and meet all other licensing requirements, such as passing the driver license knowledge test and behind-the-wheel driving exams.
State law requires motorists to prove identity and legal presence to obtain a driver license. Under the new law, motorists who cannot prove legal presence must prove identity and California residency-and pass the required vision test, driver license knowledge test, and the behind-the-wheel drive test-to obtain a license. The regulations passed to implement AB 60 list the documents the DMV will accept to verify the identity and California residence of future applicants.
The DMV encourages applicants to begin gathering the necessary documents and studying the California Driver Handbook.
In general, the DMV will require fewer documents for proving identity when those documents are very secure and electronically verifiable. For example, the Mexican Passport (issued 2008 or later), Mexican Electoral Card (2013 version), or the Mexican Consular Card (2006 and 2014 versions) are each very secure and electronically verifiable, thus any one of those documents can be used to prove identity.
A secondary review process is available for applicants who are unable to produce the documents otherwise required to prove identity. Under that secondary review, applicants must interview with DMV Investigative staff who will attempt to verify the applicant’s identity. California is the first state in the nation to offer a secondary review process for applicants that lack typical identification documents to prove identity.
When applying for a driver license, applicants must submit a legal document stating that they are unable to obtain a Social Security Number and are not legally living in the state of California.
The driver license will allow the undocumented immigrant the ability to legally drive and register their vehicle, but will not be an official identification card. It cannot be used as a photo ID for other activities that require photo ID, such as going through airport security or opening a bank account. Law enforcement agencies cannot use the license for criminal investigation, arrest, or detention, based on the applicant’s immigration status.