Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Praises DPS for New Driver License Guidelines

Regulations require proof of lawful status for non U.S. citizens or non permanent residents

Wednesday, October 08, 2008  •  Press Release

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today praised the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) for implementing new guidelines requiring non U.S. citizens to present proof they are in this country legally before being issued an original, renewal or duplicate Texas driver license or identification card.

“Texas is a great place to live and work, and while we welcome legally documented individuals to the Lone Star State, we must ensure that this privilege is not abused by those seeking to enter our country illegally,” Gov. Perry said. “The safety of Texans remains a paramount concern of my administration, and these new guidelines will provide additional security.”

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States were carried out by terrorists whose visas had expired yet possessed valid driver licenses and identification cards issued by other states.  Some of those hijackers had been stopped for traffic violations shortly before the attacks, yet law enforcement officers had no way of knowing at the time of the stops the hijackers were in the country illegally.

Under the new regulations, which took effect Oct. 1, DPS will issue a driver license or identification card to non U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents only if they present acceptable documentation to confirm their lawful status in the U.S. Upon verification, the applicant will receive a license with a “temporary visitor” designation and the date the temporary status expires on the face of the card. The face of the driver licenses also will look different so that they are immediately recognizable to law enforcement officers. The new rule also requires the cardholder to provide proof that their lawful status has been updated or extended before DPS will issue a duplicate or renewal. The license or ID card will be canceled if the cardholder is unable to present valid documentation that shows federal approval to remain in the U.S. beyond the status date.

The new guidelines also will protect the integrity of the licensing process and reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud.

For more information on the new regulations, please visit http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/driver_licensing_control/LawfulStatusDLID.htm.

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