On June 17, 2019, the New York State Senate passed the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act (also known as the Green Light Bill), that grants noncommercial driver’s licenses and learner’s permits to undocumented immigrants. The bill passed with just one more vote than the minimum required, 33 to 29, and was signed into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. The law will take effect in 180 days and will allow undocumented immigrants to legally acquire driver’s licenses as of December 2019.
After the law passed, New York State Senator Luis Sepúleveda stated that “this legislation will not only provide undocumented immigrants with a legal solution to obtain a driver’s license, but its positive impacts will include significant economic growth, improved road safety and keeping hard-working families together.” Ultimately, supporters of the legislation contend that the bill will create a more prosperous New York State by providing driver’s licenses to the estimated 940,000 undocumented immigrants in the state (Migration Policy Institute).
Alternately, there have been officials and county clerks that have vowed not to cooperate with the new law and to bring legal action to challenge the constitutionality of the plan. PPID will continue to inform of changes that may occur until the law comes into effect later this year.
UPDATE: December 16, 2019
New York’s law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses went into effect on Monday, December 16, 2019. Many Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices had lines that stretched for blocks of people seeking to take advantage of the new state law. A similar bill in New Jersey is expected to pass.
If you have any legal questions about getting a New York driver’s license as an undocumented immigrant, please call our NYC immigration attorneys at 212-203-4795.