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California Department of Motor Vehicles prepares to institute AB60, Allowing Undocumented Persons to Apply for Driver’s Licenses

California Department of Motor Vehicles prepares to institute AB60, Allowing Undocumented Persons to Apply for Driver’s Licenses

In a move to improve public safety on California roadways, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will be implementing new law AB60, starting January 1, 2015.  This new law requires the DMV to issue driver licenses to undocumented persons.  Consequently, AB60 also requires that undocumented persons meet the minimum driving proficiency standards established by the California Driving Handbook (  More specifically, undocumented persons would have to pass a written and practical driving test to obtain a license and carry proof of insurance before driving in California. 

The DMV plans to propose a new design for the licenses issued to undocumented persons.  The design is ultimately reviewed and approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for compliance with federal law.  Simultaneously, the license design must meet certain aesthetic requirements to be in compliance with AB60.  In order to meet both standards, the design will be very similar to the current California driver license, but some distinction on the license will appear so that AB60 regulations are met, such as using the abbreviation “DP” (“driving privilege”) rather than “DL” (“driver’s license”).  Although the law does prescribe distinguishing licenses issued to U.S. citizens from those issued to undocumented persons, AB60 explicitly prohibits using the distinctive license for criminal investigation, arrest or detention based on immigration status.   

The DMV is already preparing for the law to become active in two ways:  1) drafting new regulations and 2) establishing new field offices.

Drafting New Regulations

For AB60 to be an active piece of law, the DMV must adopt regulations that outline how undocumented persons can apply for a driver license.  The process will include proof of identity and residency in California, although the specific standards of evidence have yet to be determined. 

The DMV is currently in the drafting stages, writing proposed regulatory measures according to rules from the Office of Administrative Law.  Once a regulation is drafted, there will be a public notice of the proposed regulations, a public comment period, and a final decision by OAL whether to approve the regulations. 

Establishing New Field Offices

In conjunction with drafting the new regulations, the DMV will establish new field offices to accommodate application processing.  The government anticipates a sharp influx in applications once AB60 takes effect. 

Annually, the DMV processes around 10 million driver license-related transactions in their offices.  There are also about 12 million online transactions per year that funnel through the DMV’s system.

If you have any questions about how to qualify for a California Driver’s License under AB60, call or email Scales of Justice, LLP to set up a consultation.

The above information is not legal advice.  It is provided for informational purposes only.  Contact Scales of Justice, LLP to discuss how the above information may apply your case. 

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