Georgia changes ID requirements for driver's license renewal
Last month, Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) announced the launch of Secure ID, a program aimed to further ensure the integrity of driver’s licenses and identification cards. Secure ID places Georgia in compliance with the Federal Real ID Act of 2005 prohibiting the federal government from accepting DL/IDs issued by noncompliant states for boarding a commercial flight or entering a federal building.
“This program will give Georgians the most secure IDs we’ve ever issued in this state,” said Deal. “It is our duty to protect our residents’ identities to the best of our ability.”
Beginning July 1, customers who need to renew, reinstate or apply for their first Georgia DL/ID will have to visit a DDS Customer Service Center and present their original identification documents. They will have to prove their (1) identity, (2) full Social Security number and (3) residential address. Citizens have been required to personally provide these same types of documents and go through this same process for over a decade when applying for their first Georgia DL/ID.
The new Secure ID process will be phased-in with existing Georgia DL/IDs remaining valid until their expiration date. After presenting documentation at a DDS Customer Service Center, Georgians will be issued a new card with a gold star symbol in the upper right corner. Customers with a current Georgia DL/ID may continue to use it as an acceptable form of identification and/or for boarding a commercial flight and entering federal buildings as long as it is valid.
Non-US citizen requirements:
Effective January 1, 2008, Georgia law requires DDS to verify all immigration documents presented by non-citizens through the United States Custom and Immigration Service (USCIS) via a program known as SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement.) In most cases, the verification can be completed immediately during the customer’s driver’s license or identification card transaction. In some cases verification may take several days or several weeks. Until the documentation is verified by USCIS, DDS is unable to issue a driver’s license or identification card. If the verification is unsuccessful, the customer will be given a form with instructions and time frames to contact USCIS or return to the Customer Service Center at a later date.
To obtain a Georgia driver's license, identification card, or any other service provided by Georgia Department of Driver Services, a non US citizen must comply with the following eligibility requirements:
Previous Licenses or Instructional Permits: You should present your Out of Country/International License or Identification card to receive a Georgia license or Identification card.
Social Security Number Requirements: An applicant must provide either a Social Security number or a letter of ineligibility for a Social Security number (Form SSAL 676). Letter of Ineligibility - You must obtain Form SSAL676, from the Social Security Administration if the Department of Homeland Security has not given you permission to work in the United States.
Federal law requires that states collect social security numbers (SSN) from driver’s license applicants under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. Non-citizens who have permission from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to work in the United States can apply for a Social Security number. To apply for a Social Security number or for further details on social security numbers for non-citizens visit, www.ssa.gov.
Legal Presence Requirements: Present one of the following immigration documents in person at a Customer Service Center to prove legal presence in the US (only originals or certified copies accepted):
1. Valid (not expired) foreign passport with I-94 card or stamp or I-551 stamp
2. Permanent resident alien card (I-551)
3. Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
4. Reentry Permit (I-327)
5. For Refugees/Asylees: I-94 only (no passport required), or Refugee Travel Document (I-571)
6. For F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2 status – I-94 with valid foreign passport AND I-20 (F-1/F-2) or DS-2019 (J-1/J-2).
7. For customers from Visa I-94 waiver countries: Valid foreign passport with Visa I-94 Waiver stamp
Proof of Residency: Must provide one document from Proof of Residency document list. Acceptable documents include utility bills, rent or mortgage receipts, pay check stubs, and income tax returns.
Once immigration documentation is verified with USCIS, a Georgia driver's license or identification card may be issued with an expiration date that matches the immigration documentation expiration date, but no longer than 3 years. If there is no expiration date on the immigration documentation, a license/identification card can only be issued for a period of 1 year. The cost of the license/ID is $20.