Real ID Law Create Driver’s License Chaos for Immigrants
Although the REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005, its requirement that people possess REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses has not become a nationwide obligation. On October 1, 2021, that will change. As of that date, every person who wants to get on a commercial plane in the United States using their driver’s license must present a REAL ID-compliant license. This is true even if the flight is only a domestic flight.
States have been moving towards complying with the REAL ID Act over the years, and now, Massachusetts is also in compliance with the REAL ID Act. This has created issues for many non-U.S. Citizens and non-U.S. permanent residents who apply for an initial driver’s license or for a renewal of their driver’s license, even though they may have an Employment Authorization Document (work permit) issued by the Department of Homeland Security or even a green card. As a result, there have been many improper denials by the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).
If you are applying for a driver’s license for the first time or are renewing your license, it is critical that you bring certain documentation to your appointment at the RMV. This documentation includes proof of your eligibility (such as your work permit) and the USCIS notice of the automatic 180-day extension of work permits if required. If the RMV official denies your application, asking to speak with a supervisor often resolves the issue. However, if the supervisor agrees with the denial, it is extremely important to request a written denial. With the written denial in hand, you can file an appeal, which will allow you to argue your case at a hearing. The hearing normally takes place 30 – 60 days after you file your appeal. The hearing panel should approve your case, as long as you establish eligibility, and issue your license.
The litigation attorneys of FitzGerald Law Company understand the incredible value and importance of having a driver’s license and we are available to assist individuals experiencing difficulty with the RMV. During these particularly hard times that this country is experiencing, especially the immigrant community, it is our privilege to help people navigate the RMV system.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our immigration, criminal and personal injury lawyers, please call our office at: 617-303-2600 or fill out an online appointment request. In your appointment you will learn about available legal options as well as the risks you face and this can help you make better decisions. We look forward to working with you.