As of May 1, 2021, the list of documents that can be used to obtain a driver’s license has expanded, allowing undocumented immigrants to get their permit with an Individual Taxpayer ID Number (ITIN) or Social Security Number. Starting on June 1, a notarized affidavit that someone cannot obtain a Social Security Number can be used in place of the ITIN or SSN. New Jersey is home to 450,000 undocumented residents who have been forced to rely on public transportation or take the risk of driving without a license due to the past restrictions.
While the list of documents that are accepted has expanded, the actual process of applying for a license remains the same. Applicants are still required to present documents to pass the MVC’s six-point verification test. Accepted primary identification documents, the first four point of the six point verification, will now include a foreign passport or driver’s license with another document issued by the other country’s government. Once the identification has been verified, they will receive their learner’s permit and take the road test. If someone already has a driver’s license from another country, not only can it be used for the primary identification, but it also may be used to show that they have prior driving experience and reduce the time that they have to wait to take the road test.
These updates finally put into practice legislation that was passed back in December 2020. The legislation allowed for the creation of two different kinds of licenses: one that follows the federal Real ID Act, allowing the holder to board domestic flights and identifying their citizenship status; and a standard driver’s license, which does not include citizenship status. While undocumented immigrants are the main focus group of this updated legislation, this is also helpful to many other groups who might not have access to all of their accurate legal documents, including senior citizens, formerly incarcerated residents, transgender people whose documents may not match their given gender identity, domestic violence survivors who are unable to retrieve documents, and any low-income residents who cannot afford to recover legal papers.
Here at the Law Offices of Eric B. Morrell, we are staying on top of these updates in order to get the best results for our clients. We have handled many cases where someone has been charged with driving without a license or driving with a suspended, and while we have found defenses for them before, these changes will make the path to licensing much easier. If you have had any trouble due to driving without a license or you want to see how these updates affect you, please do not hesitate to contact us.