In the United States, where driving and traffic are so commonplaces, it’s very easy to take a driver’s license as a given. DACA recipients and those without a social security number may have difficulty obtaining a driver’s license.
Homeland Security has extended protections to non-citizens arriving in the United States as children under the Deferred Action for Childhood Availals (DACA).
Joshua Despain is the Managing Attorney of Boise immigration law firm Wilner & O’Reilly. This means that the Department of Homeland Security won’t take any action against people who could otherwise be at risk of being removed from the country. He says anyone who entered the U.S. illegally or with expired permission is at risk. However, anyone who entered the U.S. prior to 16 years of age and entered before 2007, has a clean criminal record, and graduated from high school, can apply for deferred action.
DACA status can allow legal work authorization and other benefits. A driver’s licence is one of these benefits, and it is available to DACA-eligible citizens as well as undocumented individuals.
Despain adds, “Having a permit to work opens up a lot of possibilities.” They can obtain a Social Security number and can work freely or go to school. Additionally, they can apply for a driver’s licence.
It doesn’t have to be difficult to get a driver’s license. These expert tips will help you simplify the process and save money on applying for your driver’s license and purchasing a new car.
How to get a driver’s licence
Some states have -specific legislation regarding driving privileges for citizens who are not documented.
Max Pepper, a traffic attorney with Missouri Tickets Fixers says that undocumented immigrants have more trouble getting a driver’s licence. The former Missouri assistant prosecutor attorney has handled thousands of traffic cases in his career.
Despain of Wilner & O’Reilly urges that anyone who is eligible for a license should do so, regardless of whether they are documented or undocumented. A license and an ID are huge benefits. It allows a person to drive legally without being stopped for driving without a license. Having an ID also makes it easier to communicate with other institutions such as banks, insurance providers, employers, and immigration agencies.
These are the most current state laws governing driver’s licenses of undocumented citizens.
Undocumented citizens’ licenses will no longer be valid for federal or real ID purposes. This includes flying and voting. For those who are not able to prove their citizenship, some states have added restrictions on driver’s licenses.
Washington and New Mexico are notable states for not imposing license restrictions on undocumented residents. Common requirements require drivers to prove residency and to show proof that they have filed tax. They also need to provide supporting documentation as appropriate.
Some states have additional needs. Utah S227 states that undocumented immigrants can have a driving card for a year. Virginia law also allows drivers to keep their privileges until their second birthday. Maryland’s restricted driver license bans the purchase of firearms by recipients.
Driver’s licenses can only be issued at the state level. This means that, even if you are granted DACA status, federal protections don’t automatically grant driving privileges. You will need to review the laws of your state to determine what options you have for obtaining a driver’s licence.
Some DACA recipients may be eligible for a social security number. However, they will not be able to apply in most cases for a regular driver’s license. DACA recipients are not guaranteed a social security number or legal work authorization. Enumeration Beyond Entry (EBE) is a U.S. program that allows you to qualify. Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS and the Social Security Administration (SSA) are required to qualify. This allows you to apply simultaneously for your work authorization as well as your SSN. You can also apply in person at a social safety office.
Licenses offer additional benefits
Your driver’s licence can offer other benefits than driving privileges.
- A valid identification. A license is an official identification. It contains vital information such as your name, address and social security number that can be used for verification of your identity. Although it may not be recognized by all states as an official form of identification it can still provide vital, life-saving information in the event you are involved in an accident.
- Access to domestic flights. Access to domestic flights. Remember that restricted licenses in many states for undocumented citizens don’t comply with the REAL ID Act, which will be in effect October 2021. This means you won’t be allowed to use a restricted ID in order to board commercial flights.
- Cheaper car insurance. A clean driving record and a valid driver’s license can help you obtain lower car insurance rates from some best auto insurers in the nation.
Buying a car
Even if you are buying a used vehicle, few people have the money to buy a new car. An auto loan may be a solution. However, each individual will need to meet specific requirements before the loan can be approved.
Lenders will request your social security number to verify your identity and conduct a credit check. This can prove problematic if you’re not a citizen with proper documentation. An Individual Taxpayer Identification number ( ITIN ) may be accepted by some car companies and lenders in lieu of a social insurance number.
Despain helpfully suggests that “for someone who cannot obtain a Social Security number,” he or she can still get a taxpayer identification number (or ITIN). This number allows someone to file taxes, regardless of their immigration status. It could also replace a Social Security number in certain areas. It all depends on the institution (bank or insurance provider, creditor, etc.). Whether an ITIN is acceptable.
Ask about your options as they may differ from one company to the next.
DACA recipients often have low credit which can cause lenders to refuse loan approval. Undocumented citizens or DACA recipients should spend time improving their credit in order to get the best auto loan rates and financing .
There are many loan options
After you’ve found the vehicle that you like, it’s time to sign the contract. You can finance your car by taking out an auto loan if you don’t have enough money upfront.
- Dealership financing. If you require an auto loan, the dealership will likely offer in-house financing. While this may seem like a great fit, it is a good idea that you shop for financing rates in order to ensure you get a better rate on your new car.
- Credit unions. Another option for financing your car purchase is a credit union. Credit unions offer members low interest rates and great incentives that are hard to find elsewhere.
- Personal loans. You can also get a personal loan to finance your vehicle. You can get a loan with flexible terms that allows you to skip the down payment. Your lender will not hold your car as collateral if you take out an unsecured personal loan.
The best cars for teens
There are some cars that are more efficient in terms of cost and gas efficiency than others. Because younger drivers are less likely to get into an accident on the roads, the cost for car insurance can be more than the average price of auto insurance.
These popular models are also affordable and may work well for your teenager.
- Toyota Prius – The Toyota Prius, a compact car that’s economical and gets an average of 50 MPG, is the best.
- Toyota Corolla The Corolla is slightly larger, but still achieves an average of 27 mpg in the city.
- Kia Soul: The Kia Soul is a great value for money, has a high gas mileage and offers tons of safety features.
- Hyundai Elantra – The Elantra compact car is also cost-effective and reliable. It will last you well beyond 100,000 miles with proper maintenance.
- Honda Civic Honda is known for its reliability and excellent gas mileage.
Avoid sales tactics
You may find it helpful to bring a friend along who can help you navigate the car-buying process. A lot of car salespeople are known for their sales tactics. This is when they try to convince you to buy the vehicle before you leave the lot. They know you won’t return once you leave. They will instead keep the pressure on you, making it impossible for you to have a moment of peace or contemplation.
Hidden fees are another problem. Make sure you fully investigate all fees related to your vehicle. The processing fee, licensing fee and title and registration fees will likely all be additional and could cost hundreds of dollars or more. You may discover that the price of your vehicle is beyond your budget if you do not plan for these fees.
Pepper says that auto insurance is another obstacle for undocumented immigrants. “Insurance companies will only issue policies to people who have valid drivers licenses. This can then be used to assess their risk rating. DACA recipients should be able get insurance, provided they have a valid license. Undocumented immigrants will have a harder time getting insurance, especially if they don’t live in a state that grants licenses to them.
You will usually need to provide your social security number when you purchase car insurance . This is used by lenders to verify your identity and check you credit score in order to ensure that your financial responsibility and ability to pay your monthly payments. Some companies will still offer car insurance even if you don’t have an SSN. However, you might need to deposit the money first.
It doesn’t matter what type of auto insurance you choose, it is important to have the required coverage in your state. It is a good idea to have minimum liability insurance and, ideally, complete coverage.
You may be eligible to purchase nonstandard insurance if you don’t have a social safety number. Non-standard auto insurance covers high-risk drivers. Auto insurance providers can’t run a credit check without a SSN so they might charge higher rates.
Insurance companies may specialize in insurance that is not standard for DACA or undocumented individuals.
There are ways to lower your premiums
Non-standard car insurance is more expensive than average car insurance. There are tips that you can use to lower your monthly car insurance premiums .
- Students discounts: Many insurance companies offer teens, college students special discounts for high school grades. You could save as much as 25% on your policy at State Farm with its excellent student discount
- California Low Cost Program: California law requires all drivers to have minimum auto insurance. Drivers can choose to be part of California’s low cost automobile program (CLCA) so they can still get affordable auto insurance as a DACA driver or undocumented driver. To be eligible, your income must not exceed $29,425 per person or $60,625 per family of four.
- Pay-as you-go: Use-based insurance rates you based upon how many miles you drive. You could save money by getting insurance premiums that are more reflective of your driving habits. Milewise by Allstate offers one example of pay as you go auto insurance.
- Compare multiple quotes: Each car insurance company will weigh rate elements differently. Ask about types of discounts and special payment options.
Living in the U.S. can be difficult without a driver’s licence. It can also be challenging for DACA recipients or undocumented residents. It can be difficult to get the financing needed to buy a car without a social security card. It’s possible, but not impossible.
“Anyone can buy a car. Pepper says that anyone with cash can buy a car if they are able to negotiate a price. The two main issues for DACA recipients as well as undocumented immigrants are financing and compliance with driving laws after buying a car. A driver must have a valid license, keep an auto insurance policy, and maintain the car’s title to be legally licensed.
You don’t need a social insurance number to drive in the United States, but you do need a driver’s license. A driver’s licence is a form of identification that can be used to help you drive. It can be used to travel and go to school. It is also useful for DACA recipients and undocumented citizens who need it to purchase a car or obtain an auto loan. Your driver’s licence can be a helpful tool for DACA recipients or undocumented immigrants to get you one step closer towards car ownership and freedom.