AB-60 Driver's License in California
As of January 2015, California residents who cannot establish legal presence in the United States may apply for a driver's license if they can show eligible proof of identification and residency in the state. These driver's licenses may not be used for identification purposes. By law, no one may discriminate against a holder of an AB-60 license, or use this license to attempt to question the holder's citizenship or immigration status.
What is California AB-60?
California Assembly Bill 60 ( AB-60) is a bill passed into law that, in effect, allows illegal immigrants to the United States to apply for a California driver's license with the CA Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Previous to this bill, driver's licenses were only issued to California residents who could prove their legal presence in the United States, usually by providing a Social Security number. Per AB-60, a California resident who cannot prove their legal presence in the U.S. can still apply for a driver's license as long as they can prove their identity AND California residency, as well as pass all required tests for an original driver's license.
This is a special driver's license that:
- May NOT be used for identification purposes.
- MAY be used to drive anywhere throughout the state of California.
- Has a distinguishing feature and notice on the front of the license indicating that it is for driving purposes only, per the AB-60 law (i.e. “DP" instead of “DL").
- Cannot be used against the license holder to determine their immigration status or citizenship, or detain them in any way for reasons other than valid traffic violations.
NOTE: California AB-60 does NOT allow for the issuance of a commercial driver's license (CDL). To obtain a CDL in California, you must still provide a valid Social Security number.
AB-60 Required Eligibility Documents
To be eligible for a California driver's license under AB-60, you must be at least 16 years old, and be able to provide proof of identity AND California residency.
The CA DMV provides a full list of eligible documents:
Proof of Identity
- 1 document from Table A (see below).
- 2 documents from Table B (see below).
TABLE A DOCUMENTS
1 document of primary identification:
- A previously issued California driver's license or identification card (October 2000 or later).
- A valid foreign document that can be electronically verified by the DMV with the applicant's country of origin, including:
- A Mexican passport, issued 2008 or later.
- A Mexican Consular Card, issued 2006 OR 2014.
- A Mexican Federal Electoral Card, issued 2013 or later.
- A valid foreign passport. A full list of acceptable passports can be found here:
If you do not have all of these documents, or the CA DMV determines that they need additional documentation, you may need to undergo a secondary review (see “Secondary Review" below the Table A and Table B document lists).TABLE B DOCUMENTS
2 documents of identification requited:
- A valid national identification card from:
- Argentina – issued 2009 OR 2012
- Chile – issued 2013
- El Salvador – issued 2010
- Peru – issued 2005
- Guatemala – issued 2012
- Ecuador – issued 2006 OR 2009
- A national consular card from:
- Guatemala – issued 2002 OR 2015
- Brazil – issued 2010
- Ecuador – issued 2015
- Colombia – issued 2015
- A valid foreign passport:
Residency documents include, but are not limited to:
- Mortgage bill or rental/lease agreement.
- Employment documents or pay stub.
- Utility bills or cell phone bills.
- Medical documents.
- School documents.
- Bank statements.
- Insurance documents (home, auto, health, dental, etc.)
A full list can be found on the CA DMV website.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles may require a secondary review of your application. If this happens, you may need to supply them with additional proof of your identity.
Acceptable documents include, but are not limited to:
- A marriage certificate or divorce decree (translated into English).
- An original birth certificate or adoption record.
- Eligible documents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS):
- Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal (Form I-589).
- Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J1) Status (Form DS-2019).
- Foreign driver's license.
- Income tax returns.
Apply for an AB-60 Driver's License
To apply for your California driver license under AB-60, you will need to:
- Make an appointment with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Sign an affidavit stating that you are ineligible for a Social Security number or similar legal proof of legal presence.
- Provide the required proof of identification and residency documents.
- See AB-60 Required Eligibility Documents above.
- Submit a completed Driver License or Identification Card Application (Form DL 44), only available at the DMV office.
- If you are under 18 years old, provide proof of completion of a CA driver's education program.
- Pass the following tests:
- Vision test.
- Written knowledge exam.
- Submit your thumbprint and have your photo taken.
- Pay the applicable licensing fee.*
The California DMV provides practice tests in multiple languages to help you prepare for your written knowledge exam.
Once you pass your test, you may schedule an appointment for an in-car driving exam. This is the final step to obtaining a California driver's license.
* NOTE: Applicants for a driver's license under AB-60 may pay a slightly higher application and renewal fee, effective until June 30, 2017, to offset the costs to the state of implementing this program.
Driver's License Restrictions
The California driver's license under AB-60 is meant to be used for driving purposes only. It CANNOT be used as proof of identification in any way. The license will carry a distinguishing mark indicating that it is an AB-60 license, as well as a message explaining that it is a driving-only license.
Additionally, you may NOT use your CA driver's license to operate any vehicle that is unregistered or uninsured. Whether the car you're driving is your own, or someone else's, it must have a valid registration and California car insurance.