National Immigration Law Center
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Our mission is to defend & advance the rights & opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members.

Access to Driver's Licenses

Compose

THE ONGOING DEBATE ABOUT whether all age-eligible immigrants who can pass state driving tests should be able to obtain driver’s licenses has been a distraction from the real issues that states face in promoting public safety and protecting their communities. States need to create practical, workable solutions, and denying certain immigrants licenses because of their immigration status is simply bad public policy. It increases uninsurance rates and the number of unlicensed drivers, and it undermines effective law enforcement.


TOOLKIT

Access to Driver's Licenses

Provides links to access-to-driver's-license campaign resources created by NILC and other immigrants’ rights, legal services, and community-based organizations from across the U.S. Its main sections are: "State Laws and Policies"; "Fact Sheets, Talking Points, Policy Analysis"; "Campaign Materials"; and "Legislative Testimony, Research, and Related Issues."


MAP

Current & Pending State Laws & Policies on Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants

Showing (1) enacted law, (2) driver's license bill passed by one house of legislature, (3) bill introduced this session, and (4) states that deny driver's licenses to youth granted deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.


DACA & DRIVER’S LICENSES

Access to Driver’s Licenses for Immigrant Youth Granted DACA

Immigrant youth who've received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) have been able to obtain driver’s licenses in nearly every state. This short issue brief provides basic information about DACA, including that DACA recipients are lawfully present in the U.S. It then summarizes state policies about DACA recipients' eligibility for driver's licenses.

Older Resources


Driver’s Licenses for All Immigrants: Quotes from Law Enforcement (PDF)

Law enforcement officials comment on the overall benefits of allowing immigrants to hold driver's licenses.


Questions and Answers about Driver’s Licenses Now That Final REAL ID Regulations Have Been Issued (PDF)

Congress passed the REAL ID Act as part of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005 (HR 1268), and it was signed into law by the president on May 11, 2005. It provides that beginning three years after REAL ID’s enactment (May 2008), driver’s licenses cannot be accepted by federal agencies for any “official” purpose unless they meet the requirements of the act.