DACA Recipients Can Get Driver's Licenses in Some Parts of the U.S.

Approved for temporary status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program? A driver's license may be among the benefits.

Young people approved for DACA (the program created by Executive Order of President Obama and described in Nolo's articles on "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)" will not only receive a work permit from the immigration authorities but can now, in some U.S. states, apply for a driver's license. (Moms and dads, get ready for requests for the car keys. But at least there's a chance they'll be driving to work.)

A number of states have already indicated that they'll issue driver's licenses to DACA recipients, and others may eventually join in. The joiners include (as of early 2014):

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

In the states of New Mexico, Washington, and Utah, immigration status is not a prerequisite for a driver's license, and so DACA recipients are as eligible as any other applicants. Some states have, however, expressly stated that they will refuse to issue drivers' licenses to DACA recipients, such as Nebraska. (Residents of those states, don't expect to be able to get one from another state -- driver's license applications usually require you to prove state residency.)

For more information on the exact eligiblity requirements for a driver's license in your state, contact the nearest department of motor vehicles.