‘Green Light Law’ Allows Illegals to Have NY State Driver’s Licenses

‘Green Light Law’ Allows Illegals to Have NY State Driver’s Licenses

The Department of Motor Vehicles (D.M.V.) is about to get even busier now that the ’Green Light Law’ has officially gone into effect. According to Spectrum News, the D.M.V. issues an average of 1,000 Class D standard permits in a single day. This Monday, the D.M.V. issues an average of almost 3,000.

As of December 16, all individuals claiming residency in New York State are now able to apply for a standard driver license. With thousands of interested immigrants eager to apply, this could mean D.M.V. lines will be out the door for the next few months. These are the changes you can expect to see.

‘Green Light Law’

The Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act, more commonly known as the ‘Green Light Law,’ was first enacted on June 17 of this year. This monumental legislation grants all New Yorkers, regardless of their citizenship or lawful status, the right to apply for a driver’s license.

The requirements for undocumented immigrants to apply for an NYS license are pretty similar to the criteria for citizens with respect to a few changes. Unique to the ‘Green Light Law’ is Form NSS-1A, or the Affidavit Stating No Social Security Number form. Undocumented residents who are over the age of 16 and applying for a standard license must complete this affidavit before they can be considered. This form states the individual applying has never received a social security card, without questioning citizenship plans any further.

What You Will Need To Apply

To apply for a New York State driver license under the new law, applicants must bring a combination of documents to prove the following: name, date of birth, and New York State residency. These documents may include, but are not limited to:

  • a valid, unexpired foreign passport issued by your country of citizenship
  • a valid, unexpired consular identification document issued by a consulate
  • a valid foreign driver license that includes your photo, and which is either unexpired or expired for less than 24 months
  • Permanent Resident Card, which is either unexpired or expired for less than 24 months
  • Employment Authorization Card, which is either unexpired or expired for less than 24 months
  • Border Crossing Card
  • S. Municipal ID Card (e.g. NYC ID) with photo
  • foreign marriage or divorce record or court issued name change decree
  • foreign birth certificate

In compliance with current state law, applicants will be required to pass a knowledge test to get a permit and a road test before a driver’s license is issued.

Exceptions To The Law

Drivers who wish to apply for a commercial driver’s license are not covered under the Green Light Law. The law also does not apply to drivers looking for licenses for federal purposes.

Undocumented immigrants under the Green Light Law are still unable to apply for non-driver ID cards. Any driver who does not have a social security card or proof of lawful U.S. status will also be ineligible to apply for a REAL ID, a form of identification that will allow New Yorkers to board airplanes after October 1, 2020 as a substitute for a passport.

Finally, the law states that undocumented immigrants who receive an NYS driver license may not use these documents as proof of citizenship. The license will also not allow individuals to vote or register to vote if they are ineligible.

To prepare for an uptick in disagreements, the D.M.V. has preemptively created a hotline for immigrant applicants to call if they experience issues applying for a driver’s license. The New York State New Americans Hotline is a toll-free, multi-lingual, confidential hotline that can assist customers with their concerns anonymously.

Regardless of which side you are on, staying informed about the laws in our state is critical to knowing your rights. For more information on the ‘Green Light Law’ and how it affects your family, click for resources provided by the NY Department of Motor Vehicles.

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