Immigrants and Driver’s Licenses. What are the Specific Eligibility Requirements?

Most everyone needs a driver’s license to get around for work and to take care of their daily needs. When it comes to immigrants and driver’s licenses, what are the requirements? Although Arizona is not one of the states that allows immigrants without lawful status to obtain a license, those who are in the U.S. on visas are generally eligible to apply for a driver’s license. There are specific requirements that must be met in order to get a license.

Residency Requirements

In Arizona, in order to obtain a driver’s license you must first meet the residency requirements. A person is considered a resident of Arizona if they work in the state (not including seasonal farm workers), are a registered voter in Arizona, you own a business that operates in Arizona, your children go to school in Arizona as residents, or you have lived in the state for 7 months or more. If you meet any of these criteria you are eligible to seek a driver’s license.

Steps to Obtain a License

In order to obtain a driver’s license you must pass both a written exam and a road test. These tests are offered through the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). There are various locations and application must be made in person. There is a fee for getting a driver’s license. At the MVD you will pay the fee, take a vision test, and must pass the written driver’s exam. Applicants who fail the test are allowed three total attempts in a 12-month period.

Road Test

Applicants must provide a properly licensed vehicle in which to take the road test. The examiner rides along with you and scores your driving performance. It will also ensure that you are able to understand English and understand and obey traffic signs and signals. It is helpful to review the rules of the road and practice driving prior to attempting to obtain your license.

Immigrant Status

Arizona is not one of a handful of states that allow illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license. Therefore, applicants are required to provide their green card or visa as proof of legal residence status in Arizona. Those who are here without proper documentation must obtain the required legal status before they apply for driving privileges. If you are an immigrant seeking a driver’s license in Arizona, you may have questions. Consult with the experienced legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to discuss your status today.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Immigrants and Driver’s Licenses, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at  480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.