California implementation of Assembly Bill (AB) 60
The beginning of 2015 marked a big step for many undocumented immigrants in fulfilling their dreams to drive legally in California without fear or taking risks. It marked the implementation of Assembly Bill (AB) 60, which requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue an original driver license to an applicant who is unable to submit satisfactory proof of legal presence in the United States (upon passing the required tests, of course). Within the first week of implementation, the California DMV saw almost 50,000 AB 60 applicants.
While driver license applicants under AB 60 must still meet other qualifications for licensure and provide satisfactory proof of identity and California residency, meeting these qualifications is far less stressful than the daily fear of possibly being pulled over, ticketed, and suffer the costly expenses of car impounding. Additionally, the opportunity to obtain a driver license under AB 60 also ensures more safety on the roads. Approximately 12 percent of all California drivers do not have licenses, and almost one in five car accidents involve someone driving without a license.
Applicants applying for a driver license under AB 60 can make appointments online (including via the DMV Now iPhone/Android applications) or via telephone at 1-800-777-0133 to visit a Department of Motor Vehicles office. Applicants should then study for the driver license knowledge test prior to their appointment. On the day of their appointment, applicants will have to complete a driver license application form (DL 44) available at the DMV office, provide proof of identity and California residency, pass a vision and knowledge test (and a road sign test, if applicable), give a thumb print, have a picture taken, and schedule a future appointment for the behind-the-wheel driving test (if applicable).
It is no wonder that many undocumented immigrants are still hesitant to apply for their driver license under AB 60, as it requires an individual to provide the DMV with their name, proof of California residency, and thumb print. However, this fear is unfounded. Any information an AB 60 applicant provides to the DMV is kept secure and confidential unless part of a federal investigation. DMV officials cannot turn in applicants to law enforcement, regardless of the applicant’s status.
AB 60 helps to give undocumented immigrants an opportunity to obtain identification and prevent the high costs of traffic tickets and car impounding that can come from being pulled over by law enforcement while driving without a license. It also allows undocumented immigrants the opportunity to work on obtaining other legal documents without worrying about being pulled over while driving to their attorney’s office. Come show off your new driver license to us, and let us help you reach your goal of obtaining your visa, green card, or United States citizenship.