A driver’s license is more than just a document that allows you to drive legally in the US It is also used as an identification tool for processing more important forms and applications. Although getting a driver’s license with a Social Security number (SSN) is easy, people who don’t have an SSN often have a hard time getting one. Immigrants are the most affected by this regulation.
On the bright side, things are changing, and some states are adopting the law to issue a driver’s license without an SSN, with New Jersey being the latest state to do so. In this article, we’ll explain how the regulation works and how you can get your driver’s license without a Social Security number.
Can you get a driver’s license in the US without an SSN?
The ability to obtain a US driver’s license without an SSN depends on the state in which you reside. In general, to obtain a license you must meet certain requirements, submit an application form, pass the driving test and pay the fee.
Also, additional documents are required which vary from state to state. As part of the documentation, you must submit a copy of your original Social Security card, which contains your unique Social Security number. Some states, like Indiana, accept alternatives like a W-2 form.
A Social Security number is often used to prove your immigration status. Therefore, undocumented immigrants suffer the most for not having an SSN and cannot obtain a driver’s license for themselves. However, you can still get a driver’s license without having an SSN by showing that you are legally authorized to reside in the US.
Where can you get a driver’s license without an SSN?
Some states issue a driver’s license without an SSN. Until this point in time, there are sums of 13 expresses that permit it: California, Colorado, Delaware, Connecticut, New York, Utah, New Mexico, Maryland, Illinois, Vermont, Washington, and Hawaii.
A few states have acquainted regulations with award driver’s licenses to undocumented migrants. Those states are Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Kansas, and Oregon.
If you reside in a US state not listed above, you will most likely not be able to get your driver’s license without an SSN. But if you are eligible, you must first apply.
How to apply for a driver’s license without a Social Security number?
The procedure for applying for and obtaining a driver’s license without an SSN varies from state to state. Therefore, you need to visit the official website of your state Department of Motor Vehicles for details. That said, the main objective will be to provide another document that can replace your Social Security card. As mentioned, you just need to prove that you are legally allowed to live in the US and that you can drive a vehicle properly.
For example, in Texas, you must submit an affidavit stating that you either do not have an SSN, or have never been issued an SSN for any reason, or are not eligible to apply for one. You have to present this affidavit when applying for the license. However, Texas will not issue the license if you are not eligible to apply for an SSN.
In states like Connecticut and Illinois, you need to get a letter from the Social Security Administration that explicitly states that you are not eligible for an SSN and why.
California is much more flexible because there is no need to submit an affidavit or an official letter. You just need to present documents to the California Department of Motor Vehicles indicating that you are legally authorized to reside in the U.S. These documents include, but are not limited to, a U.S. passport, a certificate of naturalization, and a green card permanent (also known as Green Card).
As you can see, the requirements to obtain a driver’s license vary from state to state. Therefore, always check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles first.
Some of the additional documents required may be other government-issued identity documents, US citizenship and state residency documents, military ID or birth certificate, mortgage agreements, etc. So you should be prepared to submit several documents with your application.
In addition to presenting the required documents, the officials will ask you to take a driving test to measure your ability to drive. Of course, this is mandatory throughout the country. You have to pass driving and road skills tests, vision tests, and a written driving law test. You may not have to take this test if you have had a driver’s license in the past and if you can provide proof of it.
Advantages of having a US driver’s license
A driver’s license is more than a document that validates your ability to drive on US roads. It is a document that opens up a world of opportunity for you, especially if you are an immigrant with inadequate documentation.
Access to an official ID
The driver’s license also serves as a personal identification document. This is very useful if you do not have any other government-issued identity documents. Driver’s license is generally accepted for identification purposes in most cases. With a license, you can open a US bank account, enroll in school/college/university, apply for government benefits, and more.
This document is important because it includes your photo and contact details that officials from other organizations can use to identify you. Finally, if you are involved in an accident, the authorities can identify you with your license and request immediate help.
Access to loans
If you are going to apply for federal or private loans, the driver’s license will be very useful. It will serve as identification and the loan approval process will be easier. You can also apply for payday loans and other types of loans with your driver’s license.
Access to domestic flights
All public carriers use, notwithstanding different reports, the driver’s permit to book tickets. The identification is simply important to book worldwide flight tickets. Since the driver’s permit will act as your ID archive, you will actually want to utilize it to book homegrown trips to and from anyplace in the US. This is very useful for settlers who need to travel significant distances in the US, either for individual or expert reasons.
Cheapest car insurance
Most vehicle insurers are reluctant to insure drivers with driving licenses issued in other countries. In some states, it is simply not possible to insure them. But with a US government-issued driver’s license, you can easily get auto insurance services. Better yet, you’ll also get cheaper insurance services with other insurance companies, once you have a longer insurance history.