All New Yorkers Will Have a Green Light to Drive Beginning December 16

DMV Staff Trained and Ready to Implement Greenlight NY Across the State

New York, NY—For the first time in nearly two decades, all New Yorkers, regardless of their immigration status, will be able to apply for standard driver’s licenses starting December 16, when the recently passed Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act (Greenlight NY) takes effect.

Facing politically motivated lawsuits and disinformation intended to scare immigrants and halt implementation of the law, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) along with its members and partners have launched a public education campaign across the state to ensure the law is implemented fully and freely accessible. Meanwhile, the Department of Motor Vehicles has and will continue to train and resource staff across the state to fulfill the requirements of the law.

"After months and years of collective efforts, our undocumented community will finally be re-eligible to apply for driver’s licenses this month. This is a major step forward for all New Yorkers as we keep building New York to live up to its full potential of equity, opportunity, and justice. We also look forward to the significant economic and safety benefits the law will bring to communities across our state. In a climate of divisive fear-mongering and politically-motivated legal challenges, I commend the NY Immigration Coalition for their tireless work in advocating for some of the most marginalized amongst us, and committing to being on the ground to ensure the Green Light law is fully upheld and properly implemented by all stakeholders, advancing true progress for New York State,"said NYS Senator and original Greenlight bill sponsor Luis Sepúlveda.

“The implementation of this law is a victory for all New Yorkers. Thank you to Commissioner Schroed for issuing the new regulations so that more prospective drivers across the state can now apply for a driver's license, regardless of their immigration status. My office will continue hosting workshops in Brooklyn to inform the community about the new regulations and encourage our newly eligible neighbors to apply next week,” said NYS Senator Julia Salazar.

“The passage and implementation of Green Light NY is a testament to the dedication of the Governor, the legislature and the advocates to immigrant communities statewide. We passed a strong, comprehensive bill that not only permits undocumented individuals in the state to obtain driver’s licenses, but also protects their personal data from the federal government. Now, the DMV, at the lead of it’s Commissioner and the Governor, have worked collaboratively with the advocates to develop regulations and codify a successful implementation of the program. I applaud the Assembly and Senate sponsors of this bill, as well as the DMV Commissioner, the Governor and his office, and especially the advocates, for their tireless work and commitment to improving the lives of countless New Yorkers,” said Assembly Member Catalina Cruz.

“December 16 will be a historic day for New York’s hard-working immigrant community. After waiting 18 years to have their right to drive restored, thanks to our legislature, New York can now officially join 12 other states in making driver’s licenses legally available to all residents,” said NYIC Executive Director Steve Choi. “We are grateful to the state for providing DMV staff and county clerks the training, equipment and resources they need to ensure the smooth implementation of Greenlight NY. As a result, we fully expect every county clerk to do what they were hired to do—uphold the law. And if any county clerk stands in the way of our communities being able to fully exercise their legal right to apply for a Standard Driver’s License, we are ready to take them to court. Because when immigrant New Yorkers can take a driving course, prove their residency, take the official driving test, get their cars inspected and buy car insurance—just like the rest of us—our roads will be safer, our state economically stronger and all families will be able to thrive in NY."

"We are happy to finally see NYS moving forward in implementing Driver's Licenses for All, including updated websites like the DMV looking more like they did two decades ago before the ban took place restricting many immigrants from driver's licenses. As the 13th state to pass this type of legislation, the Driver's License Access and Privacy Act includes some of the strongest privacy and confidentiality policies of any state, and we encourage our community members and allies to spread the news about this upcoming opportunity. This is a large step in the right direction, but we must continue to stay vigilant in holding our representatives and government agencies accountable for a smooth and efficient implementation,"said John Park, Executive Director of MinKwon Center for Community Action.

GREENLIGHT NY—KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

  • All New Yorkers can apply for a Standard Driver’s License regardless of immigration status.
  • Undocumented applicants go through the same process as all Standard License applicants, taking the same written and road test and paying the same fees.
  • The NYIC urges newly eligible drivers to prepare for the new law by studying the state Driver’s Manual (English and Spanish only, with additional translations to come), take practice written tests, save money to pay for fees or driving lessons and ensuring passports or consular IDs are valid.
  • The DMV cannot share your personal information with immigration officials, but individual application information can be disclosed in response to a court order, warrant or subpoena. For additional information, see our privacy protections fact sheet.
  • County clerks who run DMV offices cannot legally refuse to issue licenses to undocumented people, though it might be unsafe to apply in certain communities until legal issues are resolved.
  • Applicants must provide documents proving their age, identity and residency but are no longer required to provide a Social Security number. Examples of valid documentation include school ID, pay stubs, bank statements, a health insurance card, utility bills, a lease agreement or W-2 income tax form. The following is a partial list of requirements. For a complete list visit https://dmv.ny.gov/driver-license/driver-licenses-and-green-light-law or https://greenlightnewyork.org/implementation/ (multilingual fact sheets).

To apply for a standard license applicants must get to a total of 6 points (as it relates to required documentation), prove their age and residency. For example:

  • Foreign unexpired passport – 4 points
  • Valid consular card – 4 points
  • Foreign driver’s license with photo (valid or expired less than 24 months) – 4 points
  • Foreign school report card – with photo 2 points; without photo 1 point
  • Valid Border crossing card – 3 points
  • Expired permanent resident card – 2 points. Cannot be expired over 2 years
  • Expired employment authorization card – 2 points. Cannot be expired over 2 years
  • Social Security card – 2 points
  • Municipal ID card with photo – 1 point
  • Court document with applicant named – 1 point
  • IRS tax transcript – 1 point
  • Annual SSA statement – 1 point
  • Foreign birth certificate – 0 points, but can be used as proof of age

COVID-19 Resources

Find resources for immigrant New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic here