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CA Driver’s Licenses And Immigrants: What Notaries Need To Know

California driver’s licenses are being issued to undocumented immigrants, leading to questions from Notaries.

Many California Notaries have been calling the NNA Hotline wondering if they can accept the new driver’s licenses being issued to undocumented immigrants as satisfactory evidence of identity. On January 1, a new law went into effect authorizing the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue driver’s licenses to these immigrants.

Can Notaries Accept These Licenses From Undocumented Immigrants?
 

The short answer is yes.

But many questions linger because, under the law, these licenses come with wording that limits how they may be used. In addition, with an estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants living in the state, it is likely that many Notaries may come across one of the new licenses.

Federal Limitations For New CA Licenses
 

Here’s what you need to know about them:

  1. Any driver’s license issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles that is current or was issued in the past five years is an acceptable ID for California Notaries to use as satisfactory evidence of identity. That includes driver’s licenses issued under the new law for undocumented immigrants.
  2. The new licenses for undocumented immigrants will contain the words “Federal Limits Apply” on the front of the license and, "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" on the reverse side. Any limitations on the use or acceptability of the driver’s license refers to U.S. federal government matters, not state Notary Public matters.
  3. As always, a signer must present the official license to a Notary Public. Notaries may not accept temporary licenses that are issued immediately after applying for a license.
  4. Notaries in other states may accept these new driver’s licenses if a statute or rule allows Notaries to accept a driver’s license from another state or jurisdiction of the United States or an ID issued by a state governmental agency.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association.

10 Comments

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Lorraine Short

09 Feb 2015

Because of the limits Of "federal limits" only, I quit doing notarys! I bet the undocmented person will yell at me that I am discriminating against him. It is a lose, lose situation. I QUIT!!!

W Denise Brown

09 Feb 2015

This article is confusing. In the first paragraph you state ".....Any driver’s license issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles that is current or was issued in the past five years is an acceptable ID......That includes driver’s licenses issued under the new law for undocumented immigrants. Then in the next paragraph you state how it has the federal limitations..... what is meant by "....acceptability of the driver’s license refers to U.S. federal government matters, not state Notary Public matters. For notarizing purposes are these new driver licenses acceptable for as ID or not?

Lydia Guillory

09 Feb 2015

This new driver licenses issued under the new law for the undocumented immigrants....is this valid to accept as identification for immigrants who wants to purchase a home in U.S.?

Nancy Larkin

09 Feb 2015

What am I missing here? The new California driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants is acceptable ID for a notarization, unless you have some reason to believe it isn't valid -- which would apply to a "regular" CA DL, too. As per the newly-required wording on CA notarizations, "A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document." If I am convinced the person is who they say they are, and that they indeed signed the document, what is the problem?? If it's a federal form and the federal agency doesn't want to accept it, that's their problem, not mine as the notary. Or am I missing something crucial here?

Michael Glatfelter

09 Feb 2015

There is much confusion about this new driver license. It is based on identification through the matricula consular which is a prohibited document. The matricula consular has been determined by the California SOS as unacceptable for ID purposes for California notaries. So the question that the SOS is sidestepping is whether the new driver license is acceptable because it is based on unacceptable identification. One communication the SOS sent to me told me to check with a lawyer. SOS is charged by the California legislature to enforce the laws relating to notaries. I do not understand why the sos will not take a stand on this issue.

Rick Easter

10 Feb 2015

I deal with this daily due to our locale. I work with immigration attorneys often, and have their take on the situation. For anything outside of Federal documents, we may provide notary service. They are doing so. It may be challenged at the state level at some point, but is not being challenged now. So, I have adopted the position that anything outside of Federal documentation required be treated as any other document within the State of California statutes requirements. To be sure, I have been yelled at, accused, and threatened. I take this as any other incident relating to my duties as an officer of the state. If threatened, I call the local police and file a report. If yelled at or accused, I fold up my journal, put away my stamps, and leave. We are bound by our oath and the laws of the land, whether Federal or State to uphold them. That there are grey areas is not an issue to me. I know my duties under the law, and will perform them to the best of my ability. When I can't, it's usually the clients' fault, therefore I have no consternation other than a waste of my time.

DEBORAH J CONNER

13 Feb 2015

A driver's license based on bogus information for a person who is illegally here. If you do not think this is going to cause problems in the future, when California acknowledgements/jurats, go to other states, or eventually relate to federal documents that do not recognize this ID. It is going to come back to the notary, even though we are only following a bad bad idea from Sacramento. New paragraph or not.

cmeril@nobhillnotary.com

01 Mar 2015

I'll just send them over to the local UPS for those kind of notarizations and let them take the potential liability due to the laws being unsettled based on the following. The downside of the UPS is they take walk ins. My biz is by appointment only so I screen them. There is much confusion about this new driver license. It is based on identification through the matricula consular which is a prohibited document. The matricula consular has been determined by the California SOS as unacceptable for ID purposes for California notaries. So the question that the SOS is sidestepping is whether the new driver license is acceptable because it is based on unacceptable identification. One communication the SOS sent to me told me to check with a lawyer. SOS is charged by the California legislature to enforce the laws relating to notaries. I do not understand why the sos will not take a stand on this issue.

Bernie

10 Oct 2016

How about mexican driver license, they are in the ok ID to be accepted by a notary. These licenses are issue in Mexico and back by ellection card or IFE. Now to get the IFE you need to have a birth certificate, proof of residence, a valid ID and at least to afffidevites as proof of your identity. So most of inligal mexicans have this document, mexican driver license so why not use instead of matricula consular?

National Notary Association

11 Oct 2016

Hello. California law permits Notaries to accept a driver's license issued by an appropriate public agency from Mexico as proof of identity for a notarization.

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