the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Lodi NJ, On May 1, 2021, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) will begin to accept applications for standard driver’s licenses and non-driver identification cards from immigrants without federal status. This expanded license program is expected to benefit nearly 750,000 residents, including more than 400,000 undocumented New Jerseyans.
Improved and expanded access to driver’s licenses will allow immigrant New Jerseyans to drive to work, school, and go about their daily lives with better mobility and less fear of being stopped and reported to ICE, or ticketed with fees and fines for driving without a license. It will also allow immigrants to have an official state identification document that will identify them as New Jerseyans.
Implementation was delayed by 6 months during a pandemic which has slowed down and put a strain on many government services including the MVC. The delayed roll-out and impact of pandemic slowdown is expected to affect public awareness about the program and access to initial license appointments made available at local MVC agencies.
More than 400,000 immigrants without status are newly eligible to apply for a standard driver’s license. Starting on May 1st, immigrants with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) can begin to apply for a driver’s license. Beginning on June 1st, those without an ITIN number will have the option to submit a signed affidavit indicating their ineligibility for an SSN in order to begin the process of applying for a driver’s license.
All individuals regardless of their status must meet the MVC’s requirements in order to earn a standard driver’s license. The NJ MVC’s Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) program requires all applicants to meet the 6-points-of-ID, proof of NJ residency, and pass the knowledge, vision, and road test in order to qualify for a standard driver’s license in New Jersey. Drivers under the age of 17 must also complete an approved behind-the-wheel driver training.