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State seeks emergency OK of license rules for immigrants in U.S. illegally

State seeks emergency OK of license rules for immigrants in U.S. illegally
California Gov. Jerry Brown celebrates after signing bill AB60 on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall in 2013. The bill allows immigrants in the country illegally to get driver's licenses. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

Facing a deadline of Jan. 2 to begin issuing driver's licenses to Californians in the country illegally, state officials said Friday they will pursue emergency approval of regulations that spell out which documents must be provided to prove identity and state residency.

The Legislature and governor in 2013 approved a new law that requires the state Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a driver's license, starting in 2015, to anyone who can prove their identity and California residence as well as pass a driving-knowledge and road-skills test.

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The public process for approving the documentation has taken months so the normal 180-day timeline for enacting regulations will take too long to meet the Jan. 2 deadline. The state will pursue the normal process but also an emergency process that takes 15 days and goes through the state Office of Administrative Law.

"Our commitment is to successfuly implement this law to increase safety on California roads and protect the high level of security in our licensing and identity verification process," said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto in a statement.

An estimated 1.4 million people are expected to apply for the new driver's license during the first three years.

To prove identity, residents can provide specific documents including a California driver's license or identification card, a Mexican federal electoral card, a consular card or a foreign passport that is accompanied by a verifiable Social Security number.

If those documents that are electronically verifiable are not available, applicants must provide a foreign birth certificate and other documents including a foreign identification card. If the described documents don't prove residency in California, applicants can submit documents including school records, income tax returns, court documents and marriage certificates.

"Californians planning to apply for a new driver license under AB 60 should study for their exams and gather the required documents for proving identity and residency," Shiomoto said.

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