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California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

Old Aug 26th 2009, 10:55 pm
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Default California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

Hi,

So ive been told that while awaiting your EAD (which is required for a California Driving License) you can still use your foreign one. However I came across a few topics where people who were in the middle of adjusting status were pulled over and fined over $1000 even though they argued they couldn't get a US license yet and weren't technically residents, but the cop said the fact that they were in a US residence for over 10 days showed they were for California purposes.

Unfortunately they accepted a plea bargain so its never come before a judge.

If this is true that means that a 45-80 day gap exists where you can't drive!
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Old Aug 26th 2009, 11:29 pm
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Default Re: California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

You don't need an EAD per-se in order to get a CA driver's license.

You do need evidence of "lawful presence" in the US, and a social security number (if you are eligible for one) or a letter from the social security administration that says you are not eligible for one (if you are not).

If this means that there is a period of time during which you are required to have a CA driver's license in order to drive legally in CA but do not have the necessary documents to obtain a CA license then, yes, you will not be able to drive in CA.

I know that this sounds crazy but that is the way it is - driving in CA is a "privilege" not a "right" and in order to exercise that privilege you have to follow their rules - and, if the rules mean that, for a period of time, you are not eligible for a license, then that means that you can't get a license and you can't (legally) drive without one ...

... and guess what ... as far as CA is concerned that is your problem - they don't care ...
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Old Aug 26th 2009, 11:48 pm
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Default Re: California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

But it makes zero sense. If the Federal Government says your not a resident yet how could you be a state resident? That would require some sort of wormhole.
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Old Aug 27th 2009, 12:27 am
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Default Re: California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

Originally Posted by KnightSaber View Post
But it makes zero sense. If the Federal Government says your not a resident yet how could you be a state resident? That would require some sort of wormhole.
The immigration (Federal) definition of 'resident' is different from the State's definition of 'resident'. As far as the State is concerned, you're a resident there as soon as you set yourself up there (10 days?).
What's your current legal status, and what documents can you use to satisfy California's DMV regulations?
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Old Aug 27th 2009, 12:36 am
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Default Re: California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

Originally Posted by meauxna View Post
The immigration (Federal) definition of 'resident' is different from the State's definition of 'resident'.
... and just to make things even more fun it is also different from the IRS (ie Federal tax) definition ...
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Old Aug 27th 2009, 12:50 am
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Default Re: California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

Originally Posted by KnightSaber View Post
But it makes zero sense. If the Federal Government says your not a resident yet how could you be a state resident? That would require some sort of wormhole.
No, in fact all that it requires is the United States Constitution.

The Tenth Amendment spells it out explicitly:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Constitutional scholars will, however, tell you that the Tenth Amendment didn't really "amend" the constitution in any meaningful way it just restated something that was implicit in the original document.

Welcome to the United States of America ...
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Old Aug 27th 2009, 12:51 am
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Default Re: California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

Oh, well my wife and I are fine...have 2 year GC and license. I was advising someone else when I found this out. Other states say its fine and even a woman at the DMV said it was fine (though didn't get it in writing)

Obviously If I were in that situation where an officer asked I would phrase things very carefully ie.

Do you live in California? No officer I am currently a resident of the UK - name uk address etc.

What are you doing here in this vehicle? I am staying with my wife at the moment.

How did you get here and how long have you been here? I came on a non immigrant visa and have been here X number of days...i'm enjoying my holiday etc. (which isn't a lie given you can't work right away anyway)

So on and so on....obviously carefully treading the line of truthfulness without giving the officer ammunition to charge me.

I'm the USC and when I moved to the UK the DVLA gave me one year to get a UK license (which I did)....I am surprised that my own state doesn't even provide the curtisy of having the opportunity to maintain a license in some form.

Last edited by KnightSaber; Aug 27th 2009 at 12:56 am.
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Old Aug 27th 2009, 12:59 am
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Default Re: California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

Originally Posted by meauxna View Post
The immigration (Federal) definition of 'resident' is different from the State's definition of 'resident'. As far as the State is concerned, you're a resident there as soon as you set yourself up there (10 days?).
Bingo! When we first got here, I found I was juggling three different periods of residence:
  • The Feds' definition of how long I'd been a resident of the USA.
  • Texas' definition of how long I'd been a resident of TX.
  • And the Feds' definition of how long I'd been a resident of TX.

And, at first, all three were different. In time, it all smooths out as you get past the minimum periods for each.
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Old Aug 27th 2009, 1:05 am
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Default Re: California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

Originally Posted by KnightSaber View Post
I'm the USC and when I moved to the UK the DVLA gave me one year to get a UK license (which I did)....I am surprised that my own state doesn't even provide the curtisy of having the opportunity to maintain a license in some form.
Gotcha now (and thanks for the IRS reminder, md.. gaaaa!).. this seems to be particularly harsh in California at the moment. When it was discussed last week, consensus was, it's revenue-driven.
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Old Aug 27th 2009, 2:20 am
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Default Re: California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

So...

I've been here for over 10 days, but don't own a car.

Next week I am going to the DMV to do the test and get my license. In order to that, I need to hire a car.

Does this mean I am not actually allowed to drive the car to the DMV to get the license? Am I supposed to get someone else to drive me?

-G
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Old Aug 27th 2009, 3:12 am
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Default Re: California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

Originally Posted by caleyjag View Post
So...

I've been here for over 10 days, but don't own a car.

Next week I am going to the DMV to do the test and get my license. In order to that, I need to hire a car.

Does this mean I am not actually allowed to drive the car to the DMV to get the license? Am I supposed to get someone else to drive me?

-G
Technically (ie in the handbook) it says that someone else should drive you to your test, in case you fail and then can't legally drive yourself back home!
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Old Aug 27th 2009, 3:16 am
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Default Re: California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

Originally Posted by caleyjag View Post

Does this mean I am not actually allowed to drive the car to the DMV to get the license? Am I supposed to get someone else to drive me?

-G
technically, yes because they'll have to drive you away if you fail...and double check you are allowed to do a test in a rental, not all states will allow it.
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Old Aug 27th 2009, 3:19 am
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Default Re: California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

Originally Posted by caleyjag View Post
So...

I've been here for over 10 days, but don't own a car.

Next week I am going to the DMV to do the test and get my license. In order to that, I need to hire a car.

Does this mean I am not actually allowed to drive the car to the DMV to get the license? Am I supposed to get someone else to drive me?

-G
Call a driving school, some will provide a car and instructor for a fee in order to take a road test.

If you do happen to fail the test you may not be allowed to drive the car back anywhere.
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Old Aug 27th 2009, 3:55 am
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Default Re: California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

Originally Posted by KnightSaber View Post
Obviously If I were in that situation where an officer asked I would phrase things very carefully ie.

Do you live in California? No officer I am currently a resident of the UK - name uk address etc.

What are you doing here in this vehicle? I am staying with my wife at the moment.

How did you get here and how long have you been here? I came on a non immigrant visa and have been here X number of days...i'm enjoying my holiday etc. (which isn't a lie given you can't work right away anyway)

So on and so on....obviously carefully treading the line of truthfulness without giving the officer ammunition to charge me.
You talk too much. That kind of thing'll get you in trouble, one of these days.
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Old Aug 27th 2009, 5:48 am
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Default Re: California - Residency and the 10 day rule for licenses

Originally Posted by KnightSaber View Post
Hi,

So ive been told that while awaiting your EAD (which is required for a California Driving License) you can still use your foreign one. However I came across a few topics where people who were in the middle of adjusting status were pulled over and fined over $1000 even though they argued they couldn't get a US license yet and weren't technically residents, but the cop said the fact that they were in a US residence for over 10 days showed they were for California purposes.

Unfortunately they accepted a plea bargain so its never come before a judge.

If this is true that means that a 45-80 day gap exists where you can't drive!
I've just had the fun of trying to get a license here in CA when I got here in May. What I did was:

1. 10 days after arriving got SS number. That didn't arrive till about 15 days so technically I was driving for 5 days when I shouldn't have been.
2. When I had the SS number and my passport I was given a 2 month temp driving license (paper printout) as I had a valid foreign license and told (incorrectly as I had no immigration docs) it could be extended for up to one year as long as I went back every two months for a new paper printout. I had to pass both written and behind the wheel test within that year. So legally OK to drive by myself for the time-being with the temp license.
3. Passed both tests (after having to wait nearly 4 weeks for a behind the wheel test). Driving test was 5 mins long the instructor told me when he got in the car 'you're from the UK, I know the tests over there so I know you can drive. Mind if I make a couple of phone calls whilst you drive round the corner and back?'
4. Was then told I couldn't have a proper (i.e. card) license as I had no immigration docs, so they extended my temp paper license to the end of my I-94.
5. Luckily my EAD arrived in July before that expired, so I went back and they ordered the proper license and gave me my 3rd temp paper license valid for another two months. Actual card license arrived a few days ago after another 4 week wait!
6. Unfortunately it's only valid for one year, the length of my EAD so I've got to go back before July of next year with my green card. Don't you just love the DMV?

Simple really!
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