Beginning January 1, 2014, Georgia will issue temporary driver’s licenses to non-U.S. citizen applicants who have filed a request for an extension of their immigration status with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). Previously, Georgia required applicants to present an original I-797, Approval Notice evidencing an extension of status before it would issue a driver’s license renewal. Now, any applicant whose driver’s license will expire within 30 days or has already expired can provide the Georgia Department of Driver Services an original I-797, Receipt Notice, evidencing his or her extension of status request is pending with USCIS to obtain a temporary license valid for 120 days from the date of expiration of the applicant’s current license.
It should be noted that applicants cannot get a renewal of the 120-day temporary driver’s license, so anyone with a temporary license must get his or her final approval notice secured prior to the end of the 120-day period. To avoid driver’s license renewal issues, applicants should file applications or petitions to extend immigration status as close as possible to the earliest filing date (for most filings this is 180 days prior to the applicant’s current immigration status expiring). Alternatively, USCIS offers a premium processing option for certain types of filings. Under this option, for an additional fee of $1225, USCIS will issue an Approval Notice within 15 calendar days of receipt of the premium processing request unless a request for evidence is issued by USCIS or the case is denied. In addition, depending on the visa type, some applicants may be eligible to avoid USCIS wait times by filing a visa extension at a port-of-entry or U.S. Consulate abroad.
At this time of this posting, the Georgia Department of Driver Services has not yet updated its website with the acceptable documentation to evidence a pending extension. As such, applicants may want to carry a copy of the newly passed legislation when requesting a temporary driver’s license based on a pending extension.
New legislation: http://gov.georgia.gov/sites/gov.georgia.gov/files/related_files/document/SB%20122.pdf
GA DDS website: http://www.dds.ga.gov/drivers/dldata.aspx?con=1741471757&ty=dl