In October 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 60 (AB-60) into law. AB-60 removes the condition of proving lawful presence in the U.S. to apply for a California driver’s license. Starting January 1, 2015, this makes it possible for undocumented immigrants to apply for, and receive, a CA driver license as long as they can show satisfactory Proof of Identity and California Residency and pass the required tests.
Starting January 1, 2015, undocumented California state residents may apply for and obtain drivers’ licenses!
There are some things to watch out for, so check out the CAUTION! section below.
The AB 60 driver licenses will allow undocumented immigrants to drive without the fear of being fined, arrested, or ultimately deported for not having a license. The AB 60 licenses will look a bit different: it will read on the front, “Federal Limits Apply.” It will also state on the back, “not acceptable for official federal purposes.” Your AB-60 license will be accepted by state and local law enforcement as state-issued identification, but you cannot use the AB-60 license to enter federal facilities such as TSA screening, or to verify your identity with federal law enforcement, such as Customs and Border Patrol.
Make an Appointment with the DMV
The first step towards obtaining your driver license under AB 60 would be to make an appointment with the DMV online, in-app, by phone, or in person at a DMV office.
Select Field Office Visit Appointment in order to schedule your appointment for an AB-60 driver license.
App (Smartphone): http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/mobiledevices/iphone/dmvnow/default.htm
Office locator: http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/fo/offices/toc_fo.htm
Documents Needed to Apply for an AB-60 Driver’s License
Here is a link to the list of documents that are accepted. You need to prove both 1) Proof of Identity; and 2) California Residency.
For example, you can show your foreign passport or consular ID card as proof of identity, and a utility bill with your full name and California address on it to prove California residency.
Study for the License Tests!
Before you visit the DMV, you want to make sure that you are familiar with the rules of the road as instructed in the California Driver Handbook. The handbook is available in different languages and formats here:
You have to pass both: (1) Traffic laws written test; and (2) behind-the-wheel driving test.
Procedures for Obtaining Undocumented Resident Driver’s License
This is how it goes. Once you are at the DMV, pick up and complete a form DL-44 (see the tips under CAUTION! below), and pay the application fee of $33. This fee is paid directly to the DMV and is the only fee you will have to pay to obtain your AB 60 driver license. The form is the same for all driver license applicants, but be careful, as there is also a voter registration section included. Only U.S. citizens have the right to vote, so DO NOT register to vote.
You will present your documents to prove your identity and California residency, and then you will have your fingerprint taken. Next, you must pass your exams in the following order:
- Pass the vision exam.
- Pass the traffic laws written test (you get three tries). Once you do, you will have your picture taken and you will make a driving test appointment.
- Pass your behind-the-wheel driver’s test. Be sure that your vehicle meets the DMV’s test vehicle requirements and financial responsibility requirement. You can find more information on those here: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl22
- You get three tries for the behind-the-wheel test as well. Good luck! Once you pass this exam, you will be issued your California AB 60 driver license!
• Make sure that you have paid any outstanding traffic tickets.
• Immigration can access the DMV database based on an ongoing investigation. If you have any prior removal orders or warrants, and depending on your immigration history, you should be very cautious in considering whether to apply. Contact an attorney to discuss your issue first.
• You should also be careful if you have previously obtained a license by any kind of fraud… such as fake social security information, fake ID cards, and assumed identities.
• Don’t be scammed! No one can get you “through” faster by paying a fee. Also, the manual for studying for the exam is free on the DMV website, in different languages.
• Don’t register to vote!! It’s very easy to check the box in this section on the application form. DO NOT CHECK THE BOX! This can significantly affect your immigration case in the future.
• DO NOT file in the SSN unless you have a valid, legitimate social security number. That means, DO NOT enter a fake number, made-up number, purchased number, or your ITIN tax number.
• This license is not a work permit, and it does not give you the right to work.
• If you have any doubts about whether you should apply, and whether there are any particular risks to you, consult an attorney first!