Starting after Jan. 1, California will become the eleventh state to allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers licenses, when Assembly Bill 60 goes into effect.
Friday, the DMV released the list of documents required for applicants to prove their identities and to prove they are California residents.
DMV spokesperson Armondo Botello says the biggest challenge was finding acceptable documents for proof of identity.
“What we had to make sure is that the documents that we put on this list are secure enough, that they meet our requirements,” said Botello.
The DMV will accept things like foreign passports and Mexican electoral cards. In some cases, two documents together will be adequate. But the third option is what will make California different from the 10 other states with similar laws.
It’s called “secondary review.” It will allow applicants to provide an assortment of other documents like school paperwork or tax returns and then they’ll undergo an interview.
Forty of the 900 employees hired to help with AB 60 will be responsible for conducting the interviews.
“I think it’s interesting because you have the government going through these one on one interviews trying to determine who this person is,” said immigration attorney Thomas Baker.
Baker says although the licensing process is complicated, it’s well worth it for undocumented immigrants currently breaking the law by driving without a license.
“When they get a driving without a license ticket if they’re not arrested it’s incredibly expensive and they have to go to court and then they’re worried about getting deported at a traffic court because they don’t know our laws so they’re excited about getting some sort of legality out of living here,” said Baker.
Baker encourages applicants to start preparing their documents and preparing for their drivers test right away, so they’re ready on Jan. 2.
Undocumented immigrants’ licenses can only be used for driving. They will say “not for federal purposes” on them.
Applicants under AB 60 must make an appointment to go in and get a license. That process can start on Jan. 2.