Half a Million Apply: California's Immigrant Driver License Program by the Numbers

DMV had expected to reach the half-million milestone in July 2015

New information released Friday from the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows the agency has received nearly twice the number of applications for driver licenses from undocumented immigrants as projected.

As of March 27, 2015, nearly half a million people have applied for the license under AB 60 which went into effect earlier this year. Here’s a look at the numbers:

  • 493,998 Total number of applications for a driver license
  • 448,693 Applicants with necessary documents to obtain a license without further review
  • 203,000 Approximate number who have obtained a license
  • 28,163   Applicants requiring additional review (duplicate records or other administrative process)
  • 17,142 Applicants without necessary documents who can schedule a second review

DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said the agency had expected to reach the half-million milestone in July 2015.

California is one of 10 states that now provide licenses to immigrants in the country illegally. The licenses issued to immigrants without legal status will include a distinctive marking and are not considered a valid form of federal identification.

Before the law went into effect, it was estimated that approximately 1.4 million people would apply over the next three years.

Immigrant advocates have cheered the licenses as a way to integrate immigrants who must drive to work and shuttle children to school.

Critics have questioned state officials' ability to verify the identity of foreign applicants, citing security concerns.

In preparation for the added workflow, the DMV opened four locations in San Diego County on Saturdays: Clairmont, Chula Vista, San Ysidro and El Cajon.

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