Q&A on Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Many residents have expressed concerns about the new New York law that will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for state driver’s licenses. Others have said granting licenses will ensure drivers are trained and insured.
Here are a few questions and answers.
Question: Will all undocumented applicants have to take a road test? And a written one?
A.: Anyone seeking a license will have to take a road test. To get their learner’s permit, applicants have to pass a written test and an eye test.
Q.: Are driver’s license tests given in English–do applicants have to prove that they can read traffic signs in English?
A.: DMV already offers tests in multiple languages (https://dmv.ny.gov/driver-license/learner-permit-written-test-and-drivers-manual-different-languages) and the test requires an understanding of traffic signs (https://process.dmv.ny.gov/PracticeQuiz/index.cfm?cpe=04).
Q.: When will people be able to start applying?
A.: The law takes effect in 180 days so people can start applying then in December.
Q.: Since the selling point on these licenses has been that they will be able to get insurance, will there be extra attention paid to making sure they and maintain it?
A.: Maintaining insurance will be required for all car owners holding a driver’s license.
Q. : Will undocumented applicants get the same licenses as those here legally?
A. Licenses issued to the undocumented will be marked “Not for federal purposes” because the issuance of the license is based on foreign, not American, documents.

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