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Immigration Alerts

Cuomo Signs Green Light Law Allowing Undocumented Immigrants to Apply for NY State Driver Licenses

By in Immigration Alerts

As of today, undocumented immigrants throughout New York can apply for an official NY State Driver’s License.

In what’s being hailed a historic act, New York State has restored equal access to driver’s licenses to all residents, regardless of immigration status. Since the 9/11 terror attacks, immigrants have been unable to apply for state-issued driver’s licenses without proper documentation.

New York’s Green Light Law has just changed all that. License applicants no longer have to reveal their immigration status or provide other documents, like a social security number, in order to undertake the licensing procedure.

Why is the passing of the New York Green Light legislation so important?

  • Without a driver’s license, immigrants have faced basic travel challenges that impede their economic, cultural and community integration.
  • Driving without a license has put many immigrants at risk of detention, arrest and possible deportation. Many have been driving without proper vehicular law training or mandated auto insurance, putting themselves and others at risk.
  • A NY State Driver’s License is an important form of ID which can introduce immigrants to opportunities and services they couldn’t obtain otherwise.

What You Need To Know:

  • The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can no longer ask driver’s license applicants for their immigration status or require them to present a social security number.
  • Applicants still need to pass standard written and in-vehicle driving tests.
  • Applicants will need to provide some form of identification such as a foreign passport.
  • Be prepared for long lines at the DMV. As thousands of immigrants across the state rush to obtain a driver’s license, be prepared for longer than usual waits.