Under the Green Light law, immigrants over the age of 16 can use their current documentation to qualify for a driver's license in New York state. The law took effect on December 16, 2019, in New York.
This means that border officials won't be able to access New York state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database. Legally getting information from the DMV requires a court order, subpoena, or warrant from a judge. The NY DMV also doesn't have to release information to ICE, Citizenship and Immigration Services, or Border Protection.
Who Is Affected by the NY Green Light Law?
All New York residents over the age of 16, including undocumented immigrants, can now legally apply for a New York State driver's license. The license also serves as a legal form of photo identification. One month after New York's Green Light law took effect, more than 50,000 undocumented immigrants received a New York State driver's license.
States with Green Light laws:
How to Get a New York Drivers License Under the Green Light Law
There are specific requirements a driver must meet to get a New York license. Beginning December 16, 2019, the New York DMV will accept any form of identification on their license and permit document guide.
Proof of identity accepted under Green Light Law:
Foreign birth certificate
Drivers over the age of 18 who want a New York driver's license must pass a written test as well as a road test. Applicants must take a state-approved driver education course or pre-licensing course before scheduling a road test. New York State driver's license fees are $80 to $90.
Driver Education Requirements Include Those Protected by the NY Green Light Law
There are a few key steps to getting a New York driver's license that apply to everyone over the age of 18. Since state-approved driver's education is mandatory for New York licensed drivers, make the most of the opportunity to improve driving skills. There are also money-saving advantages associated with participating in driver education.
"Continued driver education sends signals that you have been proactive in becoming a better driver," said Nathan Barber, auto insurance expert. "Some companies offer a 10 to 15 percent discount for those who can prove completion."
Consider a New York Driver's Permit
Getting a driver's permit before taking the road test offers immigrants a chance to gain valuable experience driving. Drivers under the age of 18 must pass the written test and complete a minimum of 50 hours of supervised driving training with 15 hours of night driving.
Drivers over the age of 18 aren't required to go through the extra step of getting a permit before they apply for their license, but it's wise to practice with a licensed driver before scheduling a road test.
Drive Legal and Safe in New York
New York has some of the heaviest traffic and challenging driving conditions in the country. Congested roads, winter weather, and city traffic patterns cause difficulties for even the most experienced drivers. The Green Light law makes it possible for immigrants to drive legally, but it's crucial to include supervised behind-the-wheel experience in preparation for the New York road test.