Now that our clients are getting their applications for deferred action and employment authorization approved, it is time to talk about obtaining social security numbers, driver's licenses, as well as authorization to travel abroad.
Here is how to apply for these benefits:
Getting Your Social Security Number
If the USCIS approved your application for deferred action AND granted your request for employment authorization, you may be eligible to obtain a social security number. First, wait to get your employment authorization card (I-766). Once you receive it, locate the nearest Social Security office at www.socialsecurity.gov/locator and simply go to the office. You do not need to make an appointment. In order to receive your card, you must bring the following documents with you:
1. Your Employment Authorization Card (I-766);
2. ONE of the following documents to prove your age and identity:
- Foreign birth certificate;
- Foreign passport;
- U.S. military record;
- U.S. military identification card;
- Religious record showing age or date of birth;
- U.S. driver's license;
- U.S. state-issued identification card;
- School record showing age or date of birth;
- School identification card; or
- Copy of a medical record.
Please make sure that the document you use to show your age and identity is an ORIGINAL or a certified copy of an original. Social Security Administration will not accept copies of documents.
Also note that if you go to the SSA office immediately after receiving your employment authorization document, you might not be in their system just yet. It takes the USCIS several weeks to update the SSA with regards to the names of approved applicants.
Getting your Driver’s License
Since most of our clients are located in Virginia, I am writing about the requirements for obtaining the driver’s license particular to this state. However, if you are a resident of another state, please go to your state’s department of motor vehicle’s page and read the instructions there. You should be able to locate your state’s DMV by visiting this website: http://www.dmvlocator.com/.
Please note that if you are a resident of Arizona, Nebraska, or Taxes, you are not eligible to obtain a driver’s license at this time, as unfortunately, the Governor of your state has issued an executive order denying this benefit to deferred action applicants.
Virginia Code Sec. 46.2-328.1(h) states that individuals with approved deferred action status are eligible to apply for a driver’s license or an ID card. Once your deferred action application is approved, go to your local DMV office and bring the following:
1. TWO proofs of identity
- Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
AND any ONE of the following:
- Unexpired foreign passport with expired I-94 and expired visa;
- Social Security Card
- Virginia DMV-issued driver’s license, commercial driver’s license, learner’s permit or ID card unexpired or expired for not more than 5 years;
- Unexpired U.S. state-issued (state other than Virginia) driver’s license, commercial driver’s license, learner’s permit, or photo ID card at least 60 days old;
- Unexpired U.S. Active Duty/Retiree/Reservist Military ID card;
- Marriage certificate issued by a U.S. state, jurisdiction, territory or municipality;
- Medicare Card/Medicaid Card;
- Unexpired military dependent ID card with photo;
- U.S. Military discharge papers;
- U.S. Selective Service Card;
- Veterans Universal Access Identification Card;
- Certified copy of school records/transcript issued by a school accredited by a U.S. state, jurisdiction or territory (a report card is NOT accepted);
- Virginia Department of Education Certificate of Enrollment form Virginia-issued court order for restricted driving privileges (must include signature of court official).
2. ONE Proof of Virginia Residency
- Deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement or residential rental/lease agreement;
- U.S. or Virginia income tax return form from the previous year along with evidence of acceptance of the return by the appropriate tax agency;
- Utility bill, not more than two months old, issued to applicant;
- Examples include gas, electric, sewer, water, cable or phone bill (Cellular phone and pager bills are not accepted);
- U.S. Postal Service change of address confirmation form or postmarked U.S. mail with forwarding address label;
- Virginia Voter Registration Card mailed to you by your local registrar;
- Virginia driver’s license, commercial driver’s license, learner’s permit, or DMV-issued ID card displaying the applicants current Virginia address;
- Monthly bank statement not more than two months old issued by a bank;
- Payroll check stub issued by an employer within the last two months;
- U.S. Internal Revenue Service tax reporting W-2 form or 1099 form not more than 18 months old;
- Receipt for personal property taxes or real estate taxes paid within the last year to the Commonwealth of Virginia or a Virginia locality;
- Current homeowners insurance policy or bill;
- Current automobile or life insurance bill (Cards or policies are not Accepted);
- Cancelled check not more than two months old with both name and address imprinted;
- Annual Social Security Statement for the current or preceding calendar year;
- Certified copy of school records/transcript issued by a school in which the applicant is currently enrolled and is accredited by a U.S. state, jurisdiction or territory (a report card is not accepted);
- Virginia Department of Education Certificate of Enrollment form.
3. ONE proof of legal presence in the U.S.
- USCIS Notice of Deferred Action Approval.
4. Proof of a Social Security Number (only required if applying for a commercial driver's license).
Getting Travel Authorization
If the USCIS decided to defer action in your case and you need to travel outside the United States, you must apply for a document called advance parole. Application consists of filing a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document and paying the $360 fee. Generally, the USCIS will only grant advance parole if you are traveling for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes. You may not apply for advance parole unless and until the USCIS defers action in your case pursuant to the consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals process.
CAUTION: Before applying for travel authorization, please check with an immigration attorney (me, one of my colleagues, or any other immigration attorney of your choosing)!
If you have reached the age of 18 and you travel abroad, you may be subject to inadmissibility bars, which could prevent you from getting permanent resident status in the future. Additionally, you might trigger a deportation order, or there could be other serious consequences. Traveling abroad can have severe consequences on your future ability to adjust status to that of a legal permanent resident in the United States! Avoid this gamble by learning the consequences of traveling applicable to your case!
I hope that you find the information in this post useful. If you have any questions or concerns, please post comments or submit inquiries on our website. All of us at Gardner & Mendoza are happy to assist you!