What is a California “AB 60” Driver’s License?

by Jim Thompson | Last Updated: January 11, 2021

It’s possible to have a driver’s license in California without being a legal resident of the United States. Anyone located in the United States illegally can still obtain a legal driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle in the state of California, as long as they meet all the requirements.

AB 60 Requirements

To qualify for an AB-60 license, a person must be able to prove his or her identity. This can be done via a license from another country, a passport, or some other official item such as a national consular card, a national identification card, or a Federal Electoral Card. The individual must also be able to prove California residency. This confirmation can often be accomplished with a local utility bill. Other proof of residency documents include school documents, bank statements, insurance, employment, or medical documents.

The Benefits of the License

Holding one of these licenses allows the owner to drive legally throughout California. The license cannot be used as a form of identification, but it is often accepted by rental car companies and other local businesses as proof of driving eligibility.

It’s important to note that the license cannot be used as a method to prove a lack of citizenship or to hold the person for any reason. The only way that the license can be used against an individual is to punish them for traffic violations that occur while out on the road.

Dealing with a Secondary Review

In some instances, the DMV will require some people to complete a secondary review after the initial document process. This means that the person must supply the DMV with additional documentation, such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, birth certificate, adoption record, or documents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. A driver’s license or income tax returns could also be used to complete this process.

Obtaining the License

After the person has provided the necessary documents to prove residency and identity, they can apply for a license through the standard California procedures. They must first test for the permit, and then, later on, complete a driving test. The process is the same as for anyone else and will take some time to complete. While obtaining the license, applicants may pay slightly more money for the application and renewal fees. This is to help offset the cost of implementing the California program, and prices should drop after June 30, 2017.

Once the AB 60 license is obtained, the license holder is free to drive anywhere in the state without worry. The special license cannot be used for any identification purposes. As with any driver, the AB 60 holder is responsible for driving insured vehicles only.

As long as the applicant follows all the rules and procedures, it’s entirely possible to obtain a legal driver’s license and drive around the California roadways without issue, but getting the license can be a time-consuming process, and it will cost applicants a fair amount of money to accomplish as well.