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Legislature Ties Drivers' Licenses to Visa Expiration Date

Lynn’s HB 1 links right to drive to authorized legal length of stay

Friday, February 28, 2014, Juneau, Alaska – With passage in the Alaska Senate, the Alaska Legislature approved a bill tying a non-citizen’s driver’s license to their visa or other legal presence document, fixing a discrepancy in state law that allowed some to receive licenses past their legally authorized length of stay.

House Bill 1, sponsored by Representative Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, proposes amending the current state law granting an automatic five-year license to only granting a driver’s license for the term stated on an applicant’s visa or other legal presence document.

“Today, a foreign national can walk into the DMV with a visa that expires in two weeks, and get a driver’s license issued for five years,” Lynn said. “This bill does one thing, and one thing only; it makes a common sense change and permits the DMV to issue a license for less than five years.”

HB 1 would also have DMV issue a one-year license to someone with an indefinite length of stay. In 36 states and the District of Columbia issue driver’s licenses that are valid for no longer than the period of time that the driver is legally permitted to reside in the United States.

HB 1 passed the senate by a vote of 13-4 and now heads to the governor for signature.

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