New Development in Law Requiring Colorado Driver’s Licenses for Foreign Workers

On July 14, 2014, in an article titled Driver’s Licenses for Foreign Workers in Colorado Beginning August 1, 2014, we reported on the key provisions of the new driver’s license legislation, SB 251. To implement this new legislation, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) created a process to obtain driver’s licenses for undocumented individuals and for individuals with temporary legal status in the U.S.

The process initially required all foreign nationals who were present in the U.S., whether legally authorized or not, to submit their driver’s license applications at one of only five DMV locations: Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, or Grand Junction. In addition, applicants were required to schedule an appointment in advance. As of early July, appointments were booked through October 31, 2014.

The Department of Revenue (DOR), which oversees the DMV, has since revised this process based on feedback from various sources. The DOR recognized the potential impact the centralized process would have on persons who are in the U.S. with temporary employment-authorized status, and announced that foreign nationals who can show their temporary lawful presence will now be able to process their applications at any DMV office in Colorado without an appointment. This includes persons in H-1B, L, TN, O-1 and any other employment-based statuses as well as persons working on employment authorization documents.

The process for those who cannot demonstrate lawful presence remains unchanged. These individuals will still need to make an appointment at one of the five DMV locations.

As discussed in the previous article, these new licenses and identification cards will contain a banner on a black background stating, “NOT FOR FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION, VOTING OR PUBLIC BENEFITS PURPOSES,” and they cannot be used for I-9 purposes. The licenses will have the same effect as a restricted social security card, but do not constitute evidence that the presenter is undocumented or not legally authorized to work in the U.S.

Contact MSEC’s Immigration Services with questions about the new law at 800.884.1328 or immigration@msec.org.