Written by attorney Thomas Esparza Jr.

Texas Dept. of Public Safety Lawful Presence Requirement presented by Thomas Esparza

Lawful Presence Requirement

The Department of Public Safety requires applicants who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States to present proof of lawful presence in the U.S. before being issued an original, renewal, or duplicate Texas driver license or identification card.

37 Texas Administrative Code § 15.171 effective October 1, 2008, is intended to enhance the security of the Texas driver license and identification cards, protect the integrity of the licensing process, and reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud. Strengthening identity and residency requirements assists DPS in issuing secure documents that are routinely used by financial institutions, retailers, law enforcement, and other entities to establish the identity of their customers.

Under the rule, the DPS will issue driver licenses or identification cards to applicants only when acceptable documentation has been provided to the Department to confirm the applicant’s lawful presence in the United States. Upon verification of temporary lawful presence in the U.S., an individual will receive a license with a Temporary Visitor designation and status date on the face of the card.

If the lawful admission period in the U.S.expires in LESS than six monthsfrom the date of application,noDL or ID card (original, renewal, or duplicate) will be issued. If unable to present Lawful Presence documentation,noDLorID card will be issued. Additional documentation may be required by Driver License personnel to verify conflicting information.

Prior to expiration of the Temporary Visitor status date, the applicant must present in-person at a driver license office, valid documentation of a status change or extension of stay in the U.S. and obtain a duplicate (or renewal) with an updated Temporary Visitor status date. If the applicant does not provide the necessary documentation and update the Temporary Visitor status date on or before the status date expiration, the card will be cancelled and the person may not operate a motor vehicle until the cancellation has been lifted. If the expiration date of the card expires on or before the Temporary Visitor status date, documentation will be required to update theTemporary Visitor status date when the card is renewed.

To verify US Citizenship or lawful permanent residence, the applicantmust present one of the following:

  • Certificate of Birth issued by appropriate U.S. State, Territory, or District of Columbia;
  • Department of State Certification of birth issued to U.S. Citizens born abroad (Form FS-240, DS-1350, or FS-545);
  • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (Form N-560, N-561, N-645);
  • U.S. Dept. of Justice – INS U.S. Citizenship Identification Card (Form I-197)
  • U.S. Dept. of Justice – INS Identification Card for Resident Citizen of the U.S. (Form I-179)
  • U.S. Passport
  • Valid U.S. Resident Alien Card (Form I-551); or
  • Passport or I-94 stamped "Approved I-551";
  • Passport or I-94 stamped "Processed for I-551" or
  • Permit to Re-enter (Form I-327).

All others who are NOT a citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States must present:

  • Valid documentation issued by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, U.S. Dept. of State, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, that shows LAWFUL TEMPORARY ADMISSION to the U.S. for a period of six months or more.

NOTE: Border Crossing cards are NOT acceptable for establishing a lawful temporary admission for a license or identification certificate.

Follow this link to receive detailed information regarding the Department’s Identification policy or the Temporary Visitor Issuance Guide.

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