In June 2019, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, signed a law “Green Light Bill” that permits at least 265,0000 undocumented immigrants to acquire driver’s licenses. The law took effect on December 14, 2019. The special license states “not for federal purposes” and is limited to driving and interstate travel. The Driver’s license cannot be used to board an airline or to register to vote.
According to the DMV report, the law had been passed in the neighboring state Connecticut four years earlier and the outcome was a decline in hit-and-run accidents and a reduction in unlicensed driving tickets.
“This law will boost our state’s economy, improve road safety, and keep families together,” said Javier H. Valdés, co-executive director at Make the Road New York, an immigrant advocacy group.
The other 12 jurisdictions that provide undocumented individuals with driver’s licenses include California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Washington, Delaware, Illinois, Utah, Vermont, Maryland, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C.
It’s important to know that the law protects undocumented immigrants from ICE/DHS & other government agencies accessing their information for removal purposes. The DMV will only turn over information where there is a court order, subpoena or judicial warrant.
The law requires the state to notify the individual within three (3) days if federal immigration officials obtained a subpoena or warrant for an individual’s DMV records.
If you are a New York Resident and are interested in obtaining a Driver’s License, here is what you need:
- An unexpired passport issued by the applicant’s country of citizenship.
- An unexpired identification document issued by a consulate from the applicant’s country of citizenship.
- A valid foreign driver’s license that includes a photo of the applicant and is either unexpired or expired within the prior two years.
- Applicants also have to prove they live in New York, such as showing a recent utility bill, credit card bills, with their name and address on it.
- A Social Security number is not needed , but an applicant will have to sign an affidavit swearing that they have never been issued one.
If you or a family member has any pending traffic violations, you will need an experienced attorney to represent you in court. Many traffic violations can have serious immigration consequence. Please click our contact us link and schedule a consultation.