Code Section

Vehicle Code - VEH

DIVISION 6. DRIVERS' LICENSES [12500 - 15326]

  ( Heading of Division 6 amended by Stats. 1961, Ch. 1615. )
  

CHAPTER 1. Issuance of Licenses, Expiration, and Renewal [12500 - 13008]

  ( Chapter 1 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )
  

ARTICLE 3. Issuance and Renewal of Licenses [12800 - 12819]
  ( Article 3 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

  
12801.9.  

(a) Notwithstanding Section 12801.5, the department shall issue an original driver’s license to a person who is unable to submit satisfactory proof that the applicant’s presence in the United States is authorized under federal law if he or she meets all other qualifications for licensure and provides satisfactory proof to the department of his or her identity and California residency.

(b) The department shall adopt emergency regulations to carry out the purposes of this section, including, but not limited to, procedures for (1) identifying documents acceptable for the purposes of proving identity and California residency, (2) procedures for verifying the authenticity of the documents, (3) issuance of a temporary license pending verification of any document’s authenticity, and (4) hearings to appeal a denial of a license or temporary license.

(c) Emergency regulations adopted for purposes of establishing the documents acceptable to prove identity and residency pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be promulgated by the department in consultation with appropriate interested parties, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code), including law enforcement representatives, immigrant rights representatives, labor representatives, and other stakeholders, which may include, but are not limited to, the Department of the California Highway Patrol, the California State Sheriffs’ Association, and the California Police Chiefs Association. The department shall accept various types of documentation for this purpose, including, but not limited to, the following documents:

(1) A valid, unexpired consular identification document issued by a consulate from the applicant’s country of citizenship, or a valid, unexpired passport from the applicant’s country of citizenship.

(2) An original birth certificate, or other proof of age, as designated by the department.

(3) A home utility bill, lease or rental agreement, or other proof of California residence, as designated by the department.

(4) The following documents, which, if in a language other than English, shall be accompanied by a certified translation or an affidavit of translation into English:

(A) A marriage license or divorce certificate.

(B) A foreign federal electoral photo card issued on or after January 1, 1991.

(C) A foreign driver’s license.

(5) A United States Department of Homeland Security Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.

(6) An official school or college transcript that includes the applicant’s date of birth, or a foreign school record that is sealed and includes a photograph of the applicant at the age the record was issued.

(7) A United States Department of Homeland Security Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.

(8) A deed or title to real property.

(9) A property tax bill or statement issued within the previous 12 months.

(10) An income tax return.

(d) (1) A license issued pursuant to this section, including a temporary license issued pursuant to Section 12506, shall include a recognizable feature on the front of the card, such as the letters “DP” instead of, and in the same font size as, the letters “DL,” with no other distinguishable feature.

(2) The license shall bear the following notice: “This card is not acceptable for official federal purposes. This license is issued only as a license to drive a motor vehicle. It does not establish eligibility for employment, voter registration, or public benefits.”

(3) The notice described in paragraph (2) shall be in lieu of the notice provided in Section 12800.5.

(e) If the United States Department of Homeland Security determines a license issued pursuant to this section does not satisfy the requirements of Section 37.71 of Title 6 of the Code of Federal Regulations, adopted pursuant to paragraph (11) of subdivision (d) of Section 202 of the Real ID Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-13), the department shall modify the license only to the extent necessary to satisfy the requirements of that section.

(f) Notwithstanding Section 40300 or any other law, a peace officer shall not detain or arrest a person solely on the belief that the person is an unlicensed driver, unless the officer has reasonable cause to believe the person driving is under 16 years of age.

(g) The inability to obtain a driver’s license pursuant to this section does not abrogate or diminish in any respect the legal requirement of every driver in this state to obey the motor vehicle laws of this state, including laws with respect to licensing, motor vehicle registration, and financial responsibility.

(h) It is a violation of law to discriminate against a person because he or she holds or presents a license issued under this section, including, but not limited to, the following:

(1) It is a violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Section 51 of the Civil Code), for a business establishment to discriminate against a person because he or she holds or presents a license issued under this section.

(2) (A) It is a violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (Part 2.8 (commencing with Section 12900) of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code) for an employer or other covered person or entity, pursuant to Section 12940 of the Government Code and subdivision (v) of Section 12926 of the Government Code, to discriminate against a person because the person holds or presents a driver’s license issued pursuant to this section, or for an employer or other covered entity to require a person to present a driver’s license, unless possessing a driver’s license is required by law or is required by the employer and the employer’s requirement is otherwise permitted by law. This section shall not be construed to limit or expand an employer’s authority to require a person to possess a driver’s license.

(B) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), this section shall not be construed to alter an employer’s rights or obligations under Section 1324a of Title 8 of the United States Code regarding obtaining documentation evidencing identity and authorization for employment. An action taken by an employer that is required by the federal Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. Sec. 1324a) is not a violation of law.

(3) It is a violation of Section 11135 of the Government Code for a state or local governmental authority, agent, or person acting on behalf of a state or local governmental authority, or a program or activity that is funded directly or receives financial assistance from the state, to discriminate against an individual because he or she holds or presents a license issued pursuant to this section.

(i) Driver’s license information obtained by an employer shall be treated as private and confidential, is exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code), and shall not be disclosed to any unauthorized person or used for any purpose other than to establish identity and authorization to drive.

(j) Information collected pursuant to this section is not a public record and shall not be disclosed by the department, except as required by law.

(k) A license issued pursuant to this section shall not be used to consider an individual’s citizenship or immigration status as a basis for an investigation, arrest, citation, or detention.

(l) On or before January 1, 2018, the California Research Bureau shall compile and submit to the Legislature and the Governor a report of any violations of subdivisions (h) and (k). Information pertaining to any specific individual shall not be provided in the report.

(m) In addition to the fees required by Section 14900, a person applying for an original license pursuant to this section may be required to pay an additional fee determined by the department that is sufficient to offset the reasonable administrative costs of implementing the provisions of the act that added this section. If this additional fee is assessed, it shall only apply until June 30, 2017.

(n) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2015, or on the date that the director executes a declaration pursuant to Section 12801.11, whichever is sooner.

(o) This section shall become inoperative on the effective date of a final judicial determination made by any court of appellate jurisdiction that any provision of the act that added this section, or its application, either in whole or in part, is enjoined, found unconstitutional, or held invalid for any reason. The department shall post this information on its Internet Web site.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 303, Sec. 538. (AB 731) Effective January 1, 2016. Conditionally inoperative as provided in subd. (o).)