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Driver's License Eligibility for Non-Citizens in New Jersey

William J. Quirk, Esq., LLC Dec. 5, 2023

Happy young african man showing his driver's licenseFor immigrants in New Jersey, the journey towards obtaining a driver's license can often seem daunting. It's more than just a piece of plastic; it’s a key to independence, a necessary tool for daily life, and a valid form of identification.

Yet, the process of obtaining this vital document can be complex and confusing, especially for non-citizens. 

That's where William J. Quirk, Esq., LLC steps in. Operating out of Hackensack, New Jersey, and serving clients throughout Clifton, Paterson, and West New York areas, the firm offers comprehensive guidance and support to non-citizens seeking to obtain a driver's license. With a deep understanding of immigration law, Attorney William Quirk is dedicated to ensuring that non-citizens are well-informed about the process and their rights. 

Can a Non-Citizen Obtain a Driver’s License? 

Yes, in New Jersey, non-citizens, including undocumented immigrants, can obtain a driver's license. Recognizing the importance of mobility for all its residents, New Jersey has specific eligibility categories for non-citizens, making the process similar to that for citizens. 

Legal Non-Citizens 

Legal non-citizens, such as permanent residents, refugees, and asylees, can apply for a driver's license in New Jersey. They need to provide necessary identification documents and pass the required tests, just like any other resident of the state. 

Unauthorized Immigrants

Even unauthorized immigrants have a path to obtaining a driver's license in New Jersey. In 2021, the state began issuing Standard Driver’s Licenses, which cater to individuals who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States but meet other requirements. 

Are Non-Citizens Required to Have a U.S. Driver’s License?

While not a legal requirement, having a U.S. driver's license significantly simplifies life in New Jersey. It serves as a valid form of identification and allows non-citizens to legally operate a motor vehicle in the state. 

Non-citizens may wonder if they can use their driver's license from their native country. Although some states may recognize foreign driver's licenses, New Jersey requires non-citizens to obtain a state-issued driver's license to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations. 

Identification Requirements in New Jersey

To apply for a driver's license in New Jersey, non-citizens, including undocumented immigrants, must provide several identification documents. These documents are used to verify the applicant's identity and immigration status. Here's a more detailed look at those requirements: 

  1. Proof of Identity: This could be a valid passport or another form of government-issued identification. For non-citizens, certain documents are worth different points based on NJMVC's six-point verification system: 

  1. 4-Point Documents: Foreign passport with INS or USCIS verification and a valid record of arrival/departure (I-94), foreign passport with INS or USCIS verification and a valid Form I-551 stamp, current alien registration card (new Form I-551) with an expiration date and verification from INS or USCIS, refugee travel document (Form I-571), U.S. re-entry permit (Form I-327). 

  1. 3-Point Documents: Current photo of an employment authorization card (Form I-688B or I-766). Must be presented with a valid Social Security card. 

  1. 2-Point Documents: Current alien registration card (old Form I-551) without an expiration date and with INS or USCIS verification, photo of a temporary resident card (Form I-688). 

  1. Proof of Residency in New Jersey: Applicants must show that they have been living in New Jersey. This can be proven with documents such as utility bills, rental agreements, or bank statements that show the applicant's name and address. 

  1. Valid Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN): If applicable, applicants must provide one of these numbers. An ITIN can be used for those who do not have a Social Security number. 

Remember, any combination of the documents above that total six points will be sufficient proof of identity for NJMVC. With the correct documents, even non-citizens, including undocumented immigrants, can successfully apply for a driver's license in New Jersey. 

Driver’s Courses & Tests

First-time drivers, including non-citizens, are required to complete certain courses and tests. These include a written knowledge test to assess understanding of traffic laws, road signs, and safe driving practices, a vision test to ensure they meet the minimum visual acuity requirements, and a behind-the-wheel test with a licensed examiner to demonstrate their driving skills. 

Get Legal Support Today

Obtaining a driver's license as a non-citizen in New Jersey doesn't have to be an overwhelming process. With the guidance and support of William J. Quirk, Esq., LLC, you can navigate through the process with confidence. His knowledge of immigration law will help you understand the requirements, gather the necessary documents, and successfully apply for your driver's license. 

Reach out to Attorney William Quirk today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards obtaining your driver's license in New Jersey. With an attorney's support, you'll soon have the freedom and independence that comes with being a licensed driver.