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Undocumented Immigrants’ Driver’s License Measure Finally Approved in California

Joyful young driver sitting on car raising arms up to the sky on summer trip.

Assembly Bill 60, also known as AB 60, the New Driver’s License for California residents who do not have proof of legal U.S. immigration status, is on its way to becoming law – much to the relief of some two million unlicensed and uninsured drivers in California.

On September 12, 2013, the California State Senate approved Measure AB 60, which will allow all eligible drivers in California who cannot prove their legal immigration status to apply for a special driver’s license. The new bill, which takes effect on January 1, 2015, makes California the 11th state to approve driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.

A Law That’s Good For Everyone in California

Why it’s great news for all licensed California drivers:

  • Offering drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants makes the streets safer by giving drivers’ training to people who would otherwise be driving on the streets without adequate education. Unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to get into a fatal crash than licensed drivers.
  • Proper insurance is crucial in ensuring safe streets for all drivers. Allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses enables them to gain driver’s insurance.

Why it’s great news for undocumented immigrants:

The new driver’s license will provide peace of mind to undocumented immigrants and their families.  The new licenses:

  • Provide proof that they are complying with driving laws.
  • Cut down on abuse by making it harder for towns and cities to confiscate vehicles in the case of a routine traffic stop or an accident, so they can keep their car.
  • Decrease the cost of car insurance, because they will be able to show that they have a clean driving record. (Insurance companies provide up to a 20% discount to drivers with a clean record).

What are the requirements to get the license?

  • Pass written, vision and driving tests
  • Provide a valid and current form of identification, such as an unexpired passport from the country of origin, or a valid, unexpired consular identification – matrícula consular of their country of origin),
  • Proof of California residency (such as utility bills, property titles and lease or rental agreements).

What will the driver’s license look like?

  • Uses the initials “DP” (Driver’s Privilege) instead of “DL” (Driver’s License) in the license.
  • Adds a notice that says: “This card is not acceptable for official federal purposes. This license is issued only as a license to drive a motor vehicle. It does not establish eligibility for employment, voter registration, or public benefits.”

Will I have to pay additional fees in order to obtain this license?

  • From January 1, 2015, to June 30, 2017, immigrants who apply to obtain a driver’s license may need to pay an additional fee to offset the cost of issuing these new licenses. The costs will be determined by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.


Are you concerned about obtaining a license or confused about AB 60? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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