Published by the ACLU, Northern California

Should I Apply for an AB 60 License?

AB 60 was a great step forward for California’s immigrant communities. Now (January 2, 2015), all eligible California residents will be able to apply for a driver's license, regardless of immigration status.

Applying for an AB 60 license »

Making the right decision for you
Some benefits of getting an AB 60 license include:

Being trained, tested, licensed and insured will help protect you, your family and the broader community by increasing safety on our roads.

Having a license will help ensure that you are not ticketed or arrested for driving without a license, and that you do not risk having your vehicle impounded for this reason.

Your license can also be used to identify yourself to state and local law enforcement for citation and arrest purposes when you are not driving.

State and local law enforcement (including your local police, sheriffs and highway patrol) cannot use your AB 60 license to make assumptions about your immigration or citizenship status.

Your immigration history, including any prior contact with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or prior deportations or deportation orders, is not a factor for eligibility for an AB 60 license.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE, however, are federal law enforcement agencies, and may have access to some of the information you give the DMV. The DMV can respond to requests from DHS if DHS is looking for someone, and will provide information including name, address and photo. This means that if ICE is already looking for a specific person, getting an AB 60 license may put that person at more risk of being arrested.

The risks of applying
According to recent announcements from President Obama, undocumented immigrants who meet any of the following criteria should be particularly concerned that ICE may be looking for them:

Convictions for a felony, gang-related activity, three or more misdemeanor offenses, or a “serious” misdemeanor (e.g. DUIs, domestic violence assaults, being sentenced 90 days in jail).
The new immigration enforcement priorities are available here.
Reentry without inspection after January 2014.
Reentry after previous deportation.
Outstanding order of removal or prior deportation order.
It is a personal decision whether or not you should apply for a driver’s license, based on your individual situation and needs. While having an AB 60 license can protect you from being arrested for not having a license (and possibly referred to ICE), if you are in one of the categories above, you should consult with a licensed and trusted attorney before you apply for a license.

Use caution
If you obtained a California Driver's License in your own name in the past using false information (a social security number that was not issued to you, false documents, etc.) or bought a license when you weren’t eligible for one, the DMV is likely to know about this when you apply for an AB 60 license and you could be denied an AB 60 license or get in legal trouble if the DMV decides to involve law enforcement in the situation. Consult with a licensed and trusted attorney if this is a concern.

If you have outstanding traffic tickets that you received in your own name, regardless of whether you were licensed or not, you will need to pay those tickets before being issued an AB 60 license. Visit the DMV offices to obtain your driving record.

After you get your driver's license
Remember that everyone has rights - regardless of your immigration status. Learn more about your rights with an AB 60 license and inform yourself about consumer issues for AB 60 license holders.

Your voice matters!
To get involved, email us and join the Drive California Coalition.