Assembly Bill 60: Driver’s Licenses
Up until 1994 all immigrants had access to a driver’s license in California, regardless of immigration status. They were able to get to work, drive their children to school, and run everyday errands without the fear of being pulled over.
After having the ability to apply for licenses revoked, they were left without any other option but to go on with their daily lives and drive without a license. Unfortunately, doing so has resulted in tickets, vehicle impoundments, arrests, and even deportations.
For those and many other reasons, immigrants and their allies spent the past two decades organizing and fighting to restore access to licenses. The result of this mobilization was the passage of Assembly Bill 60, The Safe and Responsible Driver Act (AB 60) in 2013.
Under this new law, any eligible California resident will be able to apply for a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status, beginning January 1, 2015!
An AB 60 license will have a visible distinguishing feature and cannot be used for certain federal purposes, such as to enter restricted areas of federal facilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is an AB 60 driver’s license?
Governor Brown signed AB 60 into law in 2013, directing the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue an original driver’s license to any California resident who is eligible for a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status. An applicant who does not have proof of lawful presence can receive an AB 60 license. An AB 60 license will have a visible distinguishing feature and cannot be used for certain federal purposes, such as to enter restricted areas of federal facilities. AB 60 driver’s licenses are available since January 2nd, 2015.
2.What if I obtained a license with documents that were not mine in the past?
The DMV has stated that it won’t refer past cases of perjury or fraud to obtain driver’s licenses for prosecution as long as the person used the license for driving purposes only and did not commit any other criminal activity, like identity theft. We have not yet seen how that policy is playing out but people who used false Social Security Numbers or documents in the past to obtain a license will likely be referred to an investigator and should use caution.
3. Should I apply for an AB 60 license if I have been convicted for a felony, “serious” misdemeanor (for example, certain DUIs) or certain other crimes? Or what if I have re-entered the U.S. in the past after a previous deportation, or have an outstanding order of removal / deportation order issued for me?
It is your personal decision whether or not you should apply for a driver’s license based on your individual situation and needs. If any of the above situations apply to you, however, ICE may be looking for you and you may want to exercise caution or consult with a licensed and trusted attorney before you apply for a license. It is important to remember that the DMV can respond to requests from DHS if DHS is looking for someone, please see our “Should I Apply” document for further information.
4. Does AB 60 contain protections from discrimination?
The law prohibits state or local government agencies, officials, or programs that receive state funds from discriminating against someone because he or she holds or presents an AB 60 license. This includes state and local law enforcement officials. Additionally, AB 60 specifies that it shall be a violation of law, including, but not limited to, a violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act, to discriminate against an individual who holds or presents an AB 60 driver’s license. To monitor potential discrimination, AB 60 requires the California Research Bureau to compile and submit a report to the Legislature and the Governor about any incidents of discrimination perpetrated on holders of marked licenses. The Drive California Coalition will be monitoring statewide to identify and address discrimination.
5. How will law enforcement treat AB 60 licenses?
State and local law enforcement agents may not discriminate against someone because he or she holds or presents an AB 60 license, and are prohibited from using AB 60 licenses “to consider an individual’s citizenship or immigration status as a basis for investigation, arrest, citation or detention.” You can use your AB 60 license to identify yourself to police officers, for example in a traffic stop.
6. Will information I provide to the DMV be confidential?
The documents you provide to the DMV to prove your identity, name, residency, and age are not a public record and the DMV may not disclose this information, except when requested by a law enforcement agency as part of an investigation.
7. Where can I get help and information to fill out the AB 60 application or other driver’s license related documents?
You can get information for free at the DMV. Visit their website at http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/ab60/index.html
If you have any other questions, please reach out to the Drive California Coalition, which has member organizations across California that work with immigrant communities in many diverse languages. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
You do not need to pay anyone for information or services. In fact, it is against the law for someone to charge you to fill out the application form on your behalf. It is a simple form and you, a friend or a relative can fill it out. No one can speed up the process for you. Be wary of scams and rely on the DMV and trusted community organizations for information and assistance.
8. How much will the AB 60 license cost?
The AB 60 license will cost the same as other driver’s licenses: $33 for a Class C/M application fee. Class C licenses allow applicants to drive most 4 axel vehicles and Class M is for motorcycles and certain electronic scooters. For more DMV fee information, please visit: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/fees/driverlicense_fees.htm
9. Are DMV services (including the application, tests, etc) offered only in English?
No, the DMV provides language access services in Spanish and a multitude of languages. For the front desk, if you cannot request a DMV staff interpreter in your language, you can request that they call a contractor interpreter, which will call the DMV back within five minutes to assist the applicant with the application (at the front desk). If you brought a translator to help with the application form for a language the DMV does not provide, the DMV will pay the translator up to 2 hours at $24 per hour for translation services. The written test is also offered in a number of different languages. Additionally, the written test can be administered in an audio format, or in an interview with a DMV examiner, by request.
10. How can I get help practicing for the driving test?
After you apply for an AB 60 license, you will be issued a permit to practice driving with another licensed driver in the car. We encourage you to reach out to friends or family that have driving experience to help you practice. The DMV website outlines the driving maneuvers that will be tested. Many community colleges and organizations offer paid driving classes. You can also take driver training (behind-the-wheel) classes in California secondary schools (high schools, technical schools, or adult schools) or at a state-licensed professional driving school.
11. Can I use an interpreter for the driving road test?
No, interpreters are not permitted for the driving test. You will need to be able to respond to driving instructions given in English, including pointing to safety features of your vehicle and performing the requiring driving maneuvers. DMV examiners have experience administering tests to applicants with limited English proficiency, and will also use hands signals and gestures to the extent that is safe. However, you should practice responding to driving instructions in English to pass this test.
12. What happens if I fail the written test or the road test?
You have three chances to pass each test. However, if you do not pass you should use available resources to prepare before retaking the test.
13. What type of license can I get through AB 60? Can I also drive a truck or motorcycle?
AB 60 allows you to apply for all non-commercial driver’s licenses offered through the DMV. This includes Class C (most cars), Class M1/M2 (motorcycles), Noncommercial Class A or B (travel trailers, some RVs).
14. What documents do I need to show to get an AB 60 license?
Every applicant will need documents to prove 1) his or her identity and 2) residency in the State of California. The Mexican Consular ID and the Mexican passport will be accepted as primary identification. The DMV will also accept specific consular IDs together with valid passports. For those who do not have other forms of identification, the DMV will accept documents related to a child or other family member, along with proof of the relationship. Gather and update your documents, such as a consular ID or passport, utility bill or lease agreement. If your documents have expired, you should visit your consulate to renew them as this process can take some time. Please visit apps.dmv.ca.gov/ab60/ for the full list of documents accepted.
15. How can I use my AB 60 license?
You can use an AB60 license to drive, and to identify yourself to police officers, e.g. in a traffic stop. It is unlawful for businesses, landlords, government agencies or officials, or program or activity that receives state funds to discriminate against you based on the type of license you have. Driver’s licenses do not give you a right to vote and do not make you eligible for any benefits that you were not eligible for without the license. A driver’s license does not give you the right to work as an employee. However, if in the future you are granted a status that allows you to work, you will be able to use the driver’s license as proof of identity along with a valid work authorization document, when you complete the I-9 form.
16. What will my license look like?
The front of the AB 60 license will state “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY” in the top right corner above the Class designation, in the same color and front as other words. The back of the card will include the statement “not valid for official federal purposes”. The license will otherwise look similar to those currently issued California drivers’ licenses.
17. How can I get involved?
We invite you to join the Drive CA coalition by emailing email@example.com or visiting www.driveca.presentista.org. You can find resources to educate yourself and your community about AB 60 at the Drive CA website and at the DMV.