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Undocumented Immigrants Eligible for CA Driver’s Licenses

In October 2013, CA Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 60, allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for CA driver’s licenses. When the law takes effect January 1, 2015, California will be the ninth state (along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) to allow undocumented immigrants to drive legally.

Under the law, the CA Department of Motor Vehicles is required to issue driver’s licenses to an undocumented immigrant who can prove his or her identity, has established CA residency, and passes the requisite driving exams. Officials have estimated that 1.4 million individuals will apply for licenses under the law.

Details about how the new licenses will look and the exact process for obtaining them are still unknown. However, Federal law does require the card to have some distinguishable letters. For example, the front of the licenses may read “DP” for “driving privilege” before the license number rather than the “DL” used on traditional licenses. Additionally, language may be added to the back of the license stating limitations, such as that the holder may not use it for federal identification purposes.

Related bills that await Governor Brown’s signature include allowing non-citizens to serve on juries and making it illegal for employers to retaliate against workers by threatening to report them to immigration authorities. Earlier this month, California allowed the first undocumented immigrant to be admitted to the CA Bar Association and legally practice law in the state.

For more details regarding the new law, please see the Reuter’s article “Illegal immigrants can get driver’s licenses under new California law.”