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Undocumented Immigrants Can Now Apply for Driver’s Licenses Under New State Law

Undocumented immigrants line up outside the DMV in College Point this morning to apply for a license (Photo: Make The Road NY)

Dec. 16, 2019 By Allie Griffin

Undocumented immigrants can now apply for a driver’s license in New York state.

A new law went into effect today that allows 16-year-olds, no matter their immigration status, to apply for a driver’s license. The change stems from the passage of the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act that was signed into law in June.

State residents can apply for a license without having to provide a social security number and are able to meet licensing requirements through a combination of documents including foreign passports and a foreign driver’s license. Applicant must provide proof of their name and date of birth.

The driver’s license is no different from a standard New York driver’s license issued to a U.S. citizens or documented immigrants.

However, undocumented immigrants will not be able to receive a federal REAL ID license, which must be displayed to board a domestic flight or enter some secure federal buildings — unless a valid passport is shown — after Oct. 1, 2020 when the federal REAL ID Act takes effect.

After years of fighting for the new law — dubbed the Green Light law, many undocumented immigrants wasted no time and headed to the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) facilities across the state today.

“People are waiting in line in the cold because they know that having a license will enable them to drive their kids to school, to the doctor and get to work efficiently, especially in places where there isn’t access to public transit,” said Yaritza Mendez, Associate Director of Organizing of Make the Road New York.

Outside the College Point DMV Monday, immigrants with the Make the Road New York organization chanted “Sí se pudo” (“We did it” ) and “Licencias para todos” (“Licenses for all”) as they celebrated in line Monday.

“What an incredible feeling it will be to finally have a license,” Fausto Jimenez, a member of Make the Road New York, said. “This will mean that I can finally drive my family where we need to go with the peace of mind that I won’t be stopped and torn away from the people I love.”

Supporters of the Green Light law say it will improve public safety by increasing the number of drivers with insurance and reducing hit-and-run accidents. They also argue that it will bring substantial economic benefits to the state including an estimated $57 million in annual revenue and play a critical role in keeping families together across the state.

However, opponents say the new law gives undocumented immigrants privileges that should only go to those in the country legally and some worry about fraud, as a foreign records can be used as documentation to obtain a state license.

New York joins 12 states, as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, which have similar policies in place.

Make the Road New York will host an information session about driver licenses at its Jackson Heights office, located at 92-10 Roosevelt Ave. on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m.

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Tell it like it is

The Saudi nationalist that killed 3 people in Pensacola didn’t come to the US illegal, he wasn’t from a country was on travel banned list but he killed 3 us citizens. The 2 Boston bombers were white, their family was on some benefits. I am sure no trumpanzees would say anything.

Proud Trumpanzee

We would love to see that Boston bomber face the death penalty…some progressives will probably hold it up in court for years to satisfy their own ego-maniacal God complex…please stop spreading fake racism…it is just embarrassing at this point

Trump lover bots?

Certain Trump lovin’ (racist) accounts only make super-racist comments that have 1000 upvotes:

* JH Resident/Watcher
* ASensibleMan
* Pat Macnamaracist
* ???
* Tree of Liberty

…and more. They only make bigoted comments that have nothing to do with the article. ASensibleMan was fear-mongering about “muh immigrants” on a post about dogs. These have to be bots.

Sara Ross

The permit tests are now in every language (even though all of the signs in this country are in ENGLISH!). When I first got my license, I showed them my birth certificate. When I was born, they didn’t put the seal on it and I had a hard time explaining that to the clerk. Fortunately, there was a gentleman there who knew about this so my certificate went through. I took my permit test, took lessons and before I could schedule my road test, had to take a 5 hour defensive driving class (I took it at my driving school). Will these people with NO papers be required to do everything citizens have to do? I just renewed my license and had to show my birth certificate, proof of my address (a credit card bill, etc.) and other documents. If you’re undocumented, what documents do you have? PLUS, what insurance are they going to get? If somebody gets into an accident with somebody who isn’t insured, guess who gets to pay for the damage to their car and guess whose insurance rate goes up while the driver who was allowed to get a license gets away with paying nothing? Driving is a privilege NOT a right! If you get a license and are on some social program, you should be removed from those social programs – especially if you have a license and are going to get a car.

My God...

So now terrorists who are here illegally will be able to get a valid state ID and move about in our society freely?? And how will first time voters be able to prove their citizenship at the polls? They will have to show a passport instead of a state ID….isn’t that an unfair monetary burden that will disenfranchise voters? How will poor minority voters be able to vote now? How will they check the validity of the foreign documents used by these illegals? Do we have some sort of agreement with all these countries to have access to their data bases so we can check and validate them? will their criminal and medical histories be checked also? Do they have to show a federal tax ID number to prove they pay taxes in this country or will this just help to facilitate their victimization of our system by avoiding taxes? How can the State force DMV employees to break Federal law by issuing these IDs?? The 2020 election can’t come fast enough….see ya at the polls!!!


My God- Did you read the article? “Undocumented immigrants will not be able to receive a federal REAL ID license, which must be displayed to board a domestic flight or enter some secure federal buildings — unless a valid passport is shown” Terrorists? Like David Anderson and Francine Graham or Patrick Crusius? How do we know you’re paying your taxes? Are you here legally? These states already issue drivers licenses to illegal aliens Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. You’re way too opinionated and way too under informed. Go vote for your convicted con artist who just was convicted in defrauding veterans out of two million dollars and forced to pay restitution by a judge. Criminal behavior is obviously fine with you as long as the criminal looks like you.

Another racist progressive phony

I am not white and did not vote for trump…why do progressives always play the race card when they have no leg to stand on? these questions raised are legitimate questions…how does not having a federal REAL ID keep terrorists from moving freely about in non federal buildings? who said they condone criminal behavior even if the person looks like them? please seek psychiatric help for your trump derangement syndrome….see ya at the polls in 2020!!!


I thought that under New York State law, one had to pass a driver’s test by an inspector before a license could be issued. Is testing no longer required?

James MaCQuade

I don’t understand, if you can take the time to go and get a license (which they shouldn’t be getting) can’t you have taken the time over the years to file for legal citizenship?
We shouldn’t be rewarding criminals who are here illegally with a license

Tree of Liberty

Citizenship in these United States has its privileges. Those who come here illegally do not have the right to dilute and demand the same rights granted to citizens.
Can we put ICE on speed dial.


Why are they getting a license to drive the kids to school? If you have time to drive the kids to school maybe you should use the license to drive for a living and get off public assistance


What could go wrong? Let’s mark this as the day that being a citizen officially reached utter meaninglessness. America is just a big airport arrivals lounge now. It’s no longer a country.


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