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A new law signed by Gov. Tim Walz in March allows Minnesota residents, regardless of their immigration status, to get a driver’s license starting Oct. 1, 2023.
Previously the state’s process required providing proof of “lawful presence” in the U.S.
The new law states that application forms cannot inquire about a person’s citizenship, immigration status, or lawful presence in the U.S. No indication of a person’s citizenship or immigration status is made on a standard Class D driver’s license.
For the other two licenses available in Minnesota, enhanced and Real ID driver’s licenses, applications are required to prove their citizenship or a qualifying immigration status.
A press release from Gov. Tim Walz’s office estimates that there are 81,000 undocumented immigrants in Minnesota. The state joins 19 states and the District of Columbia that issue driver’s licenses without requiring proof of lawful presence.
This fact brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
- Minnesota Legislature Chapter 13 – Driver’s Licenses
- Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota Frequently Asked Questions: Driver’s Licenses for All
- Department of Corrections Governor Walz Signs Bill Expanding Access to Driver’s Licenses
- National Conference of State Legislatures States Offering Driver’s Licenses to Immigrants
Jayne Williamson-Lee is a freelance science journalist who is part of MinnPost’s fact briefs team.