CA Drivers License for Non Citizens Information

By otmseo on August 24, 2020

The California Legislature has ordered the DMV to provide licenses to people who reside in California, even if you don’t have proof of citizenship.

The big picture is if you are a non-citizen, you can now get a driver’s license and avoid fees and convictions for driving without a license.

Let’s take a closer look at the details:

Will these alert other agencies (like the Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to my status?

No, the bill specifies that the information collected is not public record and cannot be disclosed to any other agency by the DMV. The bill also makes it a crime to discriminate against someone based on the license they hold. A non-citizens license would say DP instead of DL.

Can I get a Commercial Provisional License if I am a Non-Citizen?

No, the bill applies to cars and motorcycles, but doesn’t apply to commercial licenses. You still need proof of citizenship to obtain a commercial driver’s license.

Do I need a Social Security number?

The law previously required that the applicant for a license have a Social Security number. Under the new law, you can fill out a declaration attesting that they are ineligible for a Social Security number. The public can not view this declaration.

What’s the process like?

You have to complete an application, pay a fee, pass the vision test and pass the written and driving tests. You would still have to submit identification.

What if I have something on my Criminal or Driving record?

Like anyone applying for a license, your record would have to be clean. If you have criminal offenses, warrants for charges of an unlicensed driver, DUI or other driving offenses you have to clean up your record before you can obtain a license.

I can help with that! Clearing up your record requires setting and appearing at court dates, negotiating the recall of bench warrants and resolving traffic and criminal cases.

If your record is clean (and I can help you find out if it isn’t), what’s your first step?

Set up an appointment with the DMV right away. They expect to be crushed by the immediate demand.

Cynic Alert: The State of California estimates that there are 1.4 Million unlicensed drivers. Getting them licensed would require each of them to pay the license fees. This is a huge cash grab for a fiscally challenged state.

How will this affect safety?

Since there is NO reason not to study and get your license, safety should improve.

Insurance Costs?

There could be some insurance issues, like documenting your prior driving history. John D. MacDonald Insurance ( can help with obtaining insurance and is able to obtain a Good Driver Discount based on your driving record in another country.

Will it reduce insurance and licensing scams?

The statute removes the need to drive without a license and so should reduce the types of scams that prey on Non-Citizens.

If you have more serious immigration issues, consult an immigration attorney.

Call me to discuss licenses, clearing your record or defending you in a criminal case at 213-479-5322.

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