Q:

Which states offer driver's licenses to undocumented residents?

A:

Quick Answer

As of September 2015, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia all issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. Delaware and Hawaii have passed bills permitting undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses in 2016.

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Full Answer

The Departments of Motor Vehicles in all of these states require applicants to provide some form of identification. Most states accept a valid foreign passport or consular identification as a proof of identity. Some states also accept an immigrant's tax identification number. Others, such as Colorado and Maryland, require proof that the immigrant has paid state taxes. Similar to the DMV's process with legal residents, proof of residence in the state where the immigrant is applying is also required.

Unlike the driver's licenses that legal residents receive, these licenses are not considered legally valid forms of identification. In some states, such as California, the licenses are marked as "Driving Privileges Only," alerting employers, bank managers and government officials to the driver's legal status. Despite the risks, many see recent bills that have allowed illegal immigrants to apply for licenses as a positive move. To qualify for a license, the applicants have to be tested and insured; this contributes to safer roads for all drivers.

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