Undocumented Immigrants to Receive California, Connecticut Driver’s Licenses

Undocumented immigrants living in the states will soon be able to obtain a driver’s license under a new program designed to teach the rules of the road to people who likely have been behind the wheel for years anyway.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is expecting thousands of immigrants to begin taking the steps needed to obtain a new state-issued driver’s license or learning permit.

The program, approved by  California and Connecticut legislatures in 2013, officially begins Jan. 2 and could affect tens of thousands of drivers who cannot establish their legal presence in the U.S. or may not have a Social Security number.  Eight states already offer such licenses, according to the DMV. The number will grow to 10 when Connecticut and California begin issuing them in January.

Connecticut officials have been preparing nearly two years for the new program by upgrading outdated Spanish versions of the written test and driver’s manual and creating new tests in French, Polish, Portuguese and Italian. There are also plans to develop a test in Mandarin Chinese. The DMV has also been meeting with immigrant advocacy groups to train them in how to help their clients study the driver’s manual and learn where to take the required eight-hour, safe driving practices course.

“Our goal is to make this work as easily as possible for our undocumented residents who may have been waiting a long time to obtain this credential, which can open many doors for them,” said DMV spokesman William Seymour.

The license will be stamped with the words “not for federal identification.” If immigrants pass the test, there’s a three-month practice driving time before the road test is administered, Seymour said.Some immigrant advocacy groups estimate that as many as 200,000 eligible immigrants live in Connecticut without legal permission, Seymour said.

Participants must bring two forms of identification when they apply for a Drive Only License and two pieces of mail from different sources to prove they’re living in Connecticut.

This news has massive relevance for any industry engaged in the scanning of IDs.  Prior to this decision, citizenship  was often categorized through the possession of a driver’s license.   With this legislation, the ID loses its functionality as proof of residence, but expands its functional coverage to a huge new demographic.  At IDscan.net we will be sure to update you on any advancements in this breaking news and keep you informed throughout.