MN DVS gearing up for “Drivers Licenses for All”

Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 4:39 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (GRAY) – Beginning October 1st, all adult Minnesotans will be allowed to own a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status.

On Thursday, Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety explained the process as it gets underway.

“We’re incredibly proud to be a part of a handful of states that offered a driver’s license for all,” said Pong Xiong Director of DPS Driver and Vehicle Services.

The state passed the law this past spring after a DFL-led push got the bill to the Governor’s desk. After a few months of planning, the new law will be implemented on the first of next month.

Xiong explained his own view on the matter, stating the importance of opening access to licenses.

“We understand how important it is to have a driver’s license and what that means to be able to access all of Minnesota’s resources, from employment to medical care,” he said.

Leaders with the Department of Vehicle Services explained they expect about 81,000 residents to be eligible on day one. Despite the steep number of new applicants, they’re confident they can handle the surge. Anyone looking to obtain a license is advised to make an appointment in advance.

“We are expected to be able to meet the demand and again be able to take appointments,” said Jody Kay-Peterson, DPS’s Driver Services Program Director.

In addition to meeting the staffing demands necessary for the influx of new drivers, DVS will make an effort to make the test as accessible as possible.

“We do have the knowledge test in eight different languages at DVS locations. That is in English, Somali, Hmong, Vietnamese, American Sign Language, Russian, Korean, and Spanish,” she said.

Additionally, those with the department say there will be no risk of deportation tied to the new process.

“DVS will not be submitting any names, any information personal information to any immigration law enforcement or deportation,” said Kay-Peterson.

Standard license rules still apply, meaning residents who get an appointment on October 1st will still need to complete a minimum of three months with a permit before taking the final test.

You can find more information on DVS’s website.