EAD No Longer Enough for VA Driver's License

travelusa2010

Registered Users (C)
#1
Hello,
I'm have some serious problems renewing my driver's license on the basis of my Employment Authorization Document (I-765/I-766). I live in Virginia, therefore my license and registration is based in Virginia and is bound by the Virginia DMV Policies. For the past 6 years I have always renewed my driver's license every year, using my EAD as my proof of legal presence. Today, I was informed that the EAD is no longer a proof of legal presence for the Virginia DMV, yet the EAD is the ONLY proof of legal presence I have in the United States. I was granted Withholding of Removal (WOR) many years ago, and I do have the papers that the Immigration Judge gave me verifying my WOR status, but the DMV does not accept that either.

I have ALWAYS been able to renew my driver's license on the basis of EAD up until today. Supposedly, a new section of required documents has been added for obtaining a VA Driver's License, which does NOT include the EAD. Here is the excerpt from the new section:

Proof of Legal Presence
All first time applicants must present proof of legal presence. Applicants
whose Virginia credential has expired or been suspended, revoked or
canceled will need to provide proof of legal presence prior to obtaining a
new license or ID card
. Documents presented as proof of legal presence
must show your full legal name and date of birth.
This really confuses me as to why this section even applies to me. I am NOT a first time applicant, I have 6 driver's licenses from the past 6 years, and my current driver's license expires on 11/28/10, so it is not "expired or been suspended, revoked or
canceled
."

This new section (which I believe I do not need to prove), includes the following acceptable documents:
-Official birth document issued by a U.S. state, jurisdiction or
territory (Birth documents issued by a hospital, notifications
of birth registration, birth registration cards, and foreign birth
certificates are not accepted.)
• Unexpired or expired U.S. passport or U.S. passport card
(Temporary passports are not accepted.)
• U.S. Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. Certificate of Citizenship
• Unexpired foreign passport with any one listed below:
Unexpired or expired U.S. visa and unexpired I-94
F1/F2 applicants must present an I-20
J1/J2 applicants must present a DS-2019
Unexpired I-94W
Unexpired U.S. Immigrant visa presented within one year
of entry
Unexpired or expired up to one year I-551 stamp
• Unexpired passport from Canada or Micronesia with an
unexpired I-94
• USCIS form I-797 displaying applicant’s name (Depending on the
purpose and nature of the form, the I-797 may not be accepted.)
• Resident Alien Card, Permanent Resident Card, or Northern
Marianas Card (I-551) unexpired or expired for not more than
one year (Conditional residents aliens see next bullet)
• Unexpired Permanent Resident Card (I-551) valid for two years
issued to a conditional resident alien
• Unexpired or expired not more than one year temporary I-551
stamp on an I-94, with photograph of the bearer
• Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-151)
• Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)
• Certification of Report of Birth of a U.S. Citizen (DS-1350)
• Certificate of Birth Abroad (FS-545)
• U.S. Citizen Identification card (I-179, I-197)
• Unexpired Re-entry Permit (I-327)
• Unexpired Refugee Travel Document (I-571)
• Form I-94 Record of Arrival and Departure stamped Refugee,
Parolee or Parole, humanitarian parolee (HP), or public interest
parolee (PIP)
• U.S. Department of Receptions and Placement Program
Assurance Form (Refugee) and I-94 stamped Refugee
• Asylees may present documentation from the United States
Citizenship and Immigration Service or U.S. Immigration Court
such as a Form I-94 stamped Asylee indicating that asylum has
been granted. (Verification is required.)
• Applicants for asylum may present an application for asylum
along with documentation from the United States Citizenship and
Immigration Service or U.S. Immigration Court indicating receipt
of the application. (Verification is required.)
The VA DMV also requires 1 proof from the primary documents, 1 proof from the secondary documents, 1 proof of SSN, and 1 proof of Virginia Residency. I am able to provide proofs for all those sections, except this new one called "Proof of Legal Presence", but because I am neither a first-time applicant nor has my current license expired, been suspended, revoked or canceled, this section should not apply to me. I have lived legally for over 10 years, paid all taxes, and never had issues renewing my driver's license.

How can I renew my license?

Source: www[dot]dmvnow[dot]com/webdoc/pdf/dmv141.pdf
 

namecheckvictim

Registered Users (C)
#2
Interpretation of law varies from person to person, you have a legal document issued by Uscis which validates legal presence, try going to a different office, I know it does not make sense, but in my experience you will get two different answers from two different people but yet it will be same clause of law.
Keep us posted here.
 

namecheckvictim

Registered Users (C)
#3
I just thought about something, nowadays DMV verifies all documents from USCIS, just make a info pass and see if everything is OK with your status before going, it could be that the DMV is not able to verify your EAD.
 

travelusa2010

Registered Users (C)
#4
I visited 3 different DMVs at 3 different times on Friday. Everything is fine with my status as I just received a NEW EAD a few weeks ago. Apparently in September, the VA Governor ordered the DMV to stop accepting EADS as proof of legal presence:
Harrisonburg- On Wednesday, a crowd of forty community members gathered in front of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Harrisonburg to call attention to Governor Bob McDonnell’s anti-immigrant, discriminatory policies including his recent decision to make it difficult for legal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.
Governor McDonnell has angered Virginia residents with his latest call for the DMV to deny federal Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) as a form of identification in obtaining a driver’s license which protesters say is an act of discrimination against all immigrants. The law causes significant risk for Virginians, especially those who are undocumented, and those on Temporary Protection Status from countries such as Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Somalia and Sudan.
The protesters stood on the sidewalk in front of the DMV chanting “Hey McDonnell shame on you, immigrants are people too” and “Land of the free? Not for me! McDonnell canceled EAD!” Protestors say that denying EAD as a form of identification when obtaining a driver’s license takes away the ability of legal immigrants to drive legally in Virginia.
The call for banning of EAD’s as a means of gaining a driver’s license is a response to a drunk driving accident caused by an undocumented immigrant. However, protestors say that this does nothing to prohibit drunk driving, and instead hurts an entire population of Virginia residents, many of which are in fact legally residing within the US on Temporary Protected Status.
“Governor McDonnell is clearly out of touch when it comes to immigration issues and is using this as an excuse to discriminate against immigrants. Banning EADs as documentation for obtaining driver’s licenses does nothing to make Virginians safer. It simply makes it more difficult for those who are here legally and are playing by the rules,” said Virginia Organizing leader Ana Maria Mendez. “Legal immigrants who have done everything the government has asked of them will now have no way to transport themselves to work, to the doctor, even to the grocery store. This is a policy that hurts all Virginians.”
The ACLU of Virginia and independent law firms are questioning the legality behind the Governor’s latest ruling, and lawsuits are likely. In the meantime, people are taking to the streets. Protests began at the Arlington DMV in mid-September, and will continue in a different city every Wednesday at noon until the Governor repeals the new law.
“The reckless discriminatory actions of the Governor are hurting all Virginians. It concerns me that instead of having a reasonable, honest conversation about immigration, the Governor is finding new ways demonize specific groups of people,” said Rick Castaneda, local activist and Virginia Organizing leader. “Now is the time to find responsible solutions, not to make it more difficult for law abiding, legal immigrants.”
The protestors expressed their support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform at the national level and showed their support of the Dream Act, a piece of legislation designed to give young immigrants a path to citizenship through higher education or military service. Protestors also commended the work of Dream Activists—Virginia, a multicultural, migrant, youth-led movement whose goal is to pass the Dream Act. Dream Activists—Virginia has been active on immigration issues in the Valley and statewide.
Source: Harrisonburg Times

This is ridiculous because the EAD would not have been given to me if I didn't have legal presence in the US... Virginia DMV is known for having crazy policies... but this has gone too far. Now, law-abiding, innocent, hard-working immigrants can no longer DRIVE?? Hell, the Federal Employment Authorization Card has more security features than the VA Driver's License, the governor's excuse for stop accepting them was that they were "unreliable" means of determining one's legal presence... last time I checked, the Federal Government was the most reliable entity when it came to determining one's legality in the US. Looks like Virginia is the only state to think otherwise.

My EAD, SSN, and current DL was faxed to DMV Headquarters in Richmond on Friday, I'll see if they approve me for a renewal or not...
 

König

Registered Users (C)
#6
EAD is a proof that a person was granted the right to stay and work in the country. In America, everything is set up in such a way that you cannot work if you cannot drive. Strictly speaking, immigrant or not, a person legally present in the country should not be denied certain state benefits just because the right-wing governor decided what federal documents to accept and what not to accept.
 

BigJoe5

Registered Users (C)
#7
http://www.uscis.gov/files/article/PostOrderInstr.pdf

For WOR, an EAD is all you can get. If you have some other basis to apply for LPR status, you need to pursue it.

WITHHOLDING OF REMOVAL (WOR)

Withholding of removal (“WOR”) is a form of relief from removal similar to asylum in that it provides protection for persons fleeing persecution. Like asylum, there must be a threat to life or freedom on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

However, WOR has a higher standard of proof than asylum. Whereas asylum applicants must prove a “well-founded fear” of persecution, applicants for WOR must prove that they face a threat to life or freedom by a “clear probability” standard.

The “clear probability” standard

This means that it is “more likely than not” that the person will be subject to harm. It is a more difficult standard to meet than the “well-founded fear” standard. There must be better than a 50% chance of threat to the individual’s well-being.

Differences from asylum

Unlike asylum, a grant of WOR does NOT provide successful applicants with the following benefits:

(1) WOR does not lead to lawful permanent resident status (green card holder);

(2) WOR does not give the individual the possibility of travel outside the U.S.;

(3) WOR does not grant benefits to spouses or children of applicants.

Mandatory

WOR is a mandatory form of relief. Whereas asylum is discretionary, which means that it will only be granted upon a finding that the applicant is deserving, WOR is mandatory, which means that it MUST be granted if eligibility is proven.
 

CalGreenCard

Registered Users (C)
#9
An EAD is no proof of legal status.
Although I think the OP should be able to drive, I can also understand the governor's frustration in this case. I believe the change in policy was motivated by a case where an illegal immigrant was arrested and convicted for drunk driving. The immigrant was then placed in removal proceedings but was/is fighting removal. He was then granted an EAD on a temporary basis as he fights removal, and used the EAD to get a driver's license. He was then accused of killing someone while (again) driving drunk, and that led to the change in policy.

In other words the only reason why he has the document (EAD) he used to get his driver's license is because he is a convicted drunk driver. A very ironic--and, in this case, tragic--combination of circumstances. I can understand why the governor wanted to review using the EAD as valid evidence of legal status in the USA.

Unless it has changed since I had my last EAD, I believe that the EAD actually notes the area of immigration law under which it was granted. Sometimes an EAD is a good thing--someone is in the process of adjusting status and has demonstrated prima facie evidence that adjustment of status will eventually be granted. Sometimes an EAD is a bad thing--someone is in removal proceedings and is basically on their way out of the country. What VA and other states really should be doing is reviewing the various categories of EAD and deciding which categories qualify someone to drive, which categories qualify someone to drive with additional evidence, and which categories should not be driving.
 
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travelusa2010

Registered Users (C)
#11
This issue still remains, all states accept EAD as proof of legal presence for a driver's license, but not Virginia. Though the VA General Assembly has decided to pursue a report on the issue: lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=111&typ=bil&val=hj678&Submit2=Go

I, on the other hand, do not understand how denying EAD is going to benefit the battle against drunk driving and what the point of this action is. I believe the governor responded childishly, I honestly do not think he even knows exactly what an EAD is and how one gets it. The fact that this decision hasn't been touched for months shows that he, quite simply, doesn't care.

So if a US citizen drives drunk and kills people in a car accident, should citizens not be allowed to drive anymore because of one spare incident? On the same note, why should everybody who only have the EAD as legal proof be held responsible for this one mans' actions?

However, its not the EAD's fault this man was granted a driver's license, it's the DMV's. Before he applied for the license on the basis of EAD, he already had multiple DUIs on record. It doesn't matter whether he had an EAD, GC, Passport, etc., the fact he already had a dismal record should have been a red-flag to not give him a driver's license.

How about passing a law for stricter license renewals for DUI convicts, rather than blaming federal documents on the problem? Banning a federal document does NOTHING to stop drunk drivers; A heavily intoxicated person, given keys and a car, will simply NOT care if he has a drivers license or not, he will get behind the wheel and drive and may make innocent people lose lives. Yet this causes a huge issue to all, non-DUI convicted, law-abiding, persons with EAD as their only proof of legal presence...
 

playus

Registered Users (C)
#13
I'm had a same situation but in South Carolina and the DMV refused but I wrote to the Director DMV and explained my position and within a week I got my drivers license mailed to us.
 

O753I951

Registered Users (C)
#14
Wow. This is scary. I did not know this. I was waiting on my EAD to be able to update my drivers license. I guess I will not be able to do that now...
 
#15
This issue still remains, all states accept EAD as proof of legal presence for a driver's license, but not Virginia. Though the VA General Assembly has decided to pursue a report on the issue: lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=111&typ=bil&val=hj678&Submit2=Go

I, on the other hand, do not understand how denying EAD is going to benefit the battle against drunk driving and what the point of this action is. I believe the governor responded childishly, I honestly do not think he even knows exactly what an EAD is and how one gets it. The fact that this decision hasn't been touched for months shows that he, quite simply, doesn't care.

So if a US citizen drives drunk and kills people in a car accident, should citizens not be allowed to drive anymore because of one spare incident? On the same note, why should everybody who only have the EAD as legal proof be held responsible for this one mans' actions?

However, its not the EAD's fault this man was granted a driver's license, it's the DMV's. Before he applied for the license on the basis of EAD, he already had multiple DUIs on record. It doesn't matter whether he had an EAD, GC, Passport, etc., the fact he already had a dismal record should have been a red-flag to not give him a driver's license.

How about passing a law for stricter license renewals for DUI convicts, rather than blaming federal documents on the problem? Banning a federal document does NOTHING to stop drunk drivers; A heavily intoxicated person, given keys and a car, will simply NOT care if he has a drivers license or not, he will get behind the wheel and drive and may make innocent people lose lives. Yet this causes a huge issue to all, non-DUI convicted, law-abiding, persons with EAD as their only proof of legal presence...
Hello
Were you able to get drivers license in VA?
I just moved to Virginia and I have the same status: withholding of removal. I went to the Woodbridge office and they told me I am not able to get a drivers license with an EAD. I live in Florida for 10 years with the same inmigration status and I never had issues to renew my license. I need help of what I need to do. I appreciate any help. Thanks so much
 
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