The California Department of Motor Vehicles is preparing for Assembly Bill (AB) 60, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2015.
Signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October, 2013, AB 60 will allow all eligible drivers in California who cannot prove their legal immigration status to apply for a special driver’s license.
According to the bill, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) estimates there are about 1.4 million drivers who are not licensed or insured.
Following through on initial plans to handle the anticipated influx of requests from undocumented immigrants who will qualify for a California driver’s license, the DMV plans to hire about 1,000 new employees and open five new temporary offices—in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, South Central Coast and Santa Clara/San Jose. These offices are projected to remain open for two to three years.
Governor Brown has proposed diverting nearly $65 million from his state budget plan to pay for new hires and five temporary facilities. The increased workload from those areas would be served by two recently added facilities in Fresno and in Lancaster-Palmdale. The plan does not include new sites for San Bernardino and Riverside, but residents in these areas will be able to get their new licenses from existing facilities – once they meet eligibly requirements and pass the required tests.
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).
The cost of the program was initially projected to be $140 to $220 million for the first three years. The new licenses would bring more revenue to the state because of additional money coming in from registration fees, raising about $50 million.
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. DMV officials have not yet decided whether to increase the $33 application fee for undocumented residents.
What unlicensed drivers should do now:
Those undocumented immigrants who are unlicensed and lack car insurance are reminded to prepare now to ensure they’re ready to qualify for their driver’s license.
That starts with learning California’s motor vehicle laws. DMV encourages future applicants for a driver’s license to prepare for the written exam by studying the California Driver Handbook, available on the DMV webpage at www.dmv.ca.gov. The website also features sample tests that can be helpful study material for the applicants. The California Driver Handbook is available in 10 languages at all DMV field offices: English, Armenian, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
Enabling undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses and auto insurance will make the streets safer by giving drivers’ training to people who would otherwise be driving on the streets without adequate education.
Are you concerned about obtaining a license or confused about AB 60? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!