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U.S. Drivers License Application
PROOF OF LEGAL IMMIGRATION STATUS:
After 9/11, the federal government has added extra security measures when obtaining a state identification card, driver license, and social security card among other legal documents. A new federal law (called the Real ID Act) was introduced that made it a requirement to show proof of legal immigration status in the United States to obtain a drivers license from any state. As of May 2008, driver licenses issued by the states that do not meet these requirements will not be accepted as legal identification to gain entry into a federal building or to board an airplane in the United States. All 50 U.S. states are gradually updating their requirements and starting to request proof of [legal] immigration status in the United States. However, in several states it is still possible for illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses and state IDs.
Eligibility Requirements: There are generic requirements for obtaining a U.S. drivers license such as a written test, road test and vision test. However, each of the 50 U.S. states and U.S. territories has their own requirements and application procedures. There are also different procedures for first-time applications, out-of-state transfers and renewals. Certain states allow foreign licenses to be used as proof of an individual’s ability to operate a motor vehicle, thus not requiring the individual to take the road test again. There are also different “classes” of licenses depending on what type of vehicle you wish to drive: cars, motorcycles, trucks or commercial vehicles. You can also transfer your out-of-state license to your new home state. This process differs from state to state, but in general you have to take the vision test and/or the written test excluding the driving test.
Some temporary visitors, students and workers on non-immigrant visas are also allowed and sometimes required to obtain a Social Security number. The Social Security card is a very important document in the United States. Not only does it entitle individuals to certain benefits once retired, but employers, banks, schools and the USCIS all use the social security card as a form of identification. Social Security is a complex system that is linked to many other government and private databases and services.