Green Light Law – Expanded Access to NYS Driver’s Licenses and Learner’s Permits

Green Light Law – Expanded Access to NYS Driver’s Licenses and Learner’s Permits

Green Light Law – Expanded Access to NYS Driver’s Licenses and Learner’s Permits

Effective on Dec. 16, 2019, lee en español aquí, download here

This new law will enable over 270,000 New York residents who have no proof of legal presence in the U.S.       or no valid Social Security card/ number, to qualify for a driver’s license or learner’s permit. The application is supported by presenting a combination of new proofs to establish one’s identity, one’s age, and, New York residency. 6 points of proof are needed for the standard driver’s license. For example, an unexpired foreign passport or driver’s license (expired less than 24 months) are worth 4 points. Border Crossing card (3 points), foreign school ID or records (1 to 2 points), expired Employment Authorization (EAD) card (2 points), expired Permanent Resident Card, (2 points), valid Municipal I.D., U.S. tax records, ITIN card, U.S. court documents, marriage or divorce records, credit card, utility bill, health or Rx document (1 point), etc.
Before you go to a DMV or any County Clerk Office to apply for a driver’s license, please take time to review DMV’s manual and procedures. See the list of documents corresponding to their point values, in your language or in English.       Go to:  ww.DMV.NY.gov  and  www.greenlightnewyork.org/

ALERT:  Several western and northern County Clerk’s offices (Erie, Rensselaer, Clinton, Niagara, Monroe, others) do not support the Green Light Law. Some filed lawsuits to stop this law. Some even encourage reporting suspected undocumented applicants to U.S. ICE / Homeland Security. At this time, it is best to go apply for the licenses at New York State DMV offices in such safe counties as Albany, Onondaga, Rockland, Westchester, Long Island, and in New York City.

Tips from Immigrant Rights Advocates:

  1. We recommend waiting until early 2020 to apply. Let DMV staff get better trained with new protocols.
  2. Go online to make a DMV office appointment for permit-testing.
  3. Bring a friend or someone to observe your encounter at the DMV.
  4. You can legally use your cellphone voice recorder to make a record of the office visit.
  5. DMV staff provide interpreter assistance to assist English-limited applicants.
  6. No DMV staff should ask about anyone’s current immigration status or lack thereof.
  7. If an improper question arises, remain silent. Do NOT answer questions about what country you were  born in, what visa you have, or, when you legally came into the U.S. Reply, “That is not relevant. I want   to speak to your supervisor.”  Report this incident to your immigration lawyer and groups that protect immigrants.
  8. Special equipment at DMV will scan foreign passports and verify foreign-issued photo ID, such as, consular matricula. After the 6-point test is determined, copies of these ID will NOT be stored by DMV   and copies will be destroyed at the end of the business day to protect one’s privacy under this law.
  9. Do NOT use or present counterfeit or altered documents. DMV may seize suspected fraudulent materials under regular laws. You can be arrested.
  10.  Do NOT check the box or sign at the bottom of the form to “register to vote” if you are NOT a U.S. citizen. (This false statement can be used for deportation or puts lawful permanent residency at risk)
  11.  Beware of consumer fraud promises. Only the applicant can take the road exam. No extra fees will quicken the DMV approval process.

If you or your loved ones have experienced any issues when applying for a driver’s license, please contact our hotline at 1-833-LJP-LTNX (1-833-557-5869), check legal aid groups at www.LawHelp.org or call the New Americans Hotline 1-800-566-7636 and LatinoJustice 1- 833-LJP-LTNX  . It is toll-free, multilingual and confidential.