A driver’s license is more than just a document that allows you to drive in the U.S. legally. It is also used as a valid form of identification, which is a great tool to have when filling out applications/forms. Even though obtaining a driver’s license with a Social Security Number (SSN) is easy, people who do not have an SSN often struggle to obtain one. Immigrants are most affected by this regulation.
However, that is slowly changing. As of March 2023, 19 states plus the District of Columbia (D.C.) grant driver’s licenses to non-citizens regardless of immigration status.
Each state has different rules and regulations on obtaining a driver’s license without legal status. In this article, we will answer the following questions:
- Which states offer driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants?
- What are each state’s requirements?
Which states offer driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants?
As of June 2022, the following states are where undocumented immigrants can obtain a driver’s license (or its equivalent):
California residents may apply for a driver’s license by presenting eligible proof of identification and residency in the state, regardless of immigration status.
For more information, please visit the California DMV website.
You must present proof of identity and residence and your individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) to apply in Colorado.
For more information, please visit the Colorado DMV website.
To apply, you must first make an appointment online to schedule a written exam. This test is offered in English and Spanish as well as a few other languages.
For more information, visit the Department of Vehicles website.
Delaware offers a Driving Privilege Card (DPC). To apply, you must submit fingerprints and other documents for a criminal background check. This process is done by appointment only.
For more information, on scheduling an appointment, visit the following link or call 302-739-2528.
District of Columbia (Washington D.C.)
The Limited Purpose Driver’s License (LPDL) allows District residents who cannot provide a Social Security number to drive legally. . To be eligible, you cannot have an SSN.
For more information, visit the page of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
All state residents, 17 years of age or older, can obtain their driver’s license, regardless of their immigration status.
For more information, please visit the Hawaii DMV website.
Illinois offers two types of Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL). For the first, you qualify if you are authorized to be in the U.S. for one year or more and if you have been present in the U.S. for at least six months. For the second, you qualify if you do not have legal status but have been in the U.S. for at least one year.
For more information, please visit the Illinois DMV website.
If you have filed a Maryland tax return or were claimed as a dependent of someone who filed a Maryland tax return for the past two years, you are eligible.
For more information, please review the online document guide.
A result of the 2022 midterm elections was Massachusetts voters upholding a new law that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s license. Currently, Massachusetts transportation officials are updating regulations before the new law takes effect on July 1, 2023.
To apply, immigrants must show two forms of identification, such as an unexpired foreign passport, a consular identification document, or a certified copy of a birth certificate. For more information, please visit the Registry of Motor Vehicles webpage.
In February 2023, Minnesota state senators approved the bill called ‘Driver’s Licenses for All,’ which will benefit thousands of undocumented immigrants who do not have access to the document. State Governor Tim Walz will be signing the new law this week, which will go into effect on October 1.
For more information, visit the Driver and Vehicle Services webpage.
Residents who cannot meet the proof of identity requirements for a driver’s license or identification card may obtain a Driving Authorization Card (DAC). These cards authorize the holder to drive a motor vehicle but are not valid as identification.
For more information, please visit the Department of Transportation website.
The law creates two types of licenses. One is the federally accepted REAL ID. The second is a Standard Basic license available to any New Jersey resident regardless of immigration status.
For more information, visit the official page of the state.
Regardless of your immigration status, you can apply as long as you have an individual tax identification number (ITIN).
For more information, visit the New Mexico DMV website.
Any state resident, 16 years of age or older, can apply for a non-commercial driver’s license regardless of their immigration status.
For more information, please visit the New York State DMV website.
Individuals must provide proof of Oregon residency and electronically sign a statement stating that they do not have an SSN.
For more information, please visit the Oregon DMV website.
On June 28, 2022, Rhode Island enacted legislation extending driver’s licenses and identification cards to undocumented immigrants. To apply, you must have filed a personal income tax return as a Rhode Island resident or have been claimed as a dependent on a personal income tax for that year. You must also provide two forms of identification and two proof of residency documents. For more information, visit the Division of Motor Vehicles.
Utah offers a Driving Privilege Card to undocumented immigrants who can prove Utah residency.
For more information, please visit the Utah DMV website.
To apply, you will need to prove your identity and that you are a Vermont resident.
For more information, visit the official page of the state.
Virginia offers a Driving Privilege Card (DPC). To be eligible, you must have filed Virginia taxes or have been reported as a dependent on Virginia taxes within the year.
For more information, visit the Virginia DMV website.
To apply, you must prove your identity and residence in the State of Washington.
For more information, please visit the Washington DMV website.