Driver’s License with Restrictive Banner Is Now an Acceptable I-9 Document

by Sherry Lin, Esq.

Hot Topics,  Immigration

As mandated by the Colorado Road and Community Safety Act, foreign nationals and their family members in Colorado who are temporarily present in the U.S., including undocumented individuals or those with temporary legal status, may obtain Colorado driver’s licenses, driver’s permits, or identification cards. Such licenses contain a banner with a black background indicating “NOT FOR FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION, VOTING OR PUBLIC BENEFIT PURPOSES.” Several other states issue licenses with the same or similar restrictions in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act.

Until recently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had not addressed whether these restricted licenses were acceptable List B identity documents for I-9 purposes. Historically, MSEC advised employers not to accept these licenses until USCIS provided further guidance. After nearly a year, USCIS has addressed this issue, clarifying that a license with “NOT FOR FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION PURPOSES” or similar restriction language is an acceptable I-9 List B document, and that employers should not reject it.

Employers will review and examine these restricted licenses the same way as the unrestricted ones. Since an employee who presents an acceptable List B document also needs to provide a valid and unexpired List C document, the employer will also need to review and confirm the validity of the List C document establishing employment eligibility.

Contact MSEC’s Immigration Services attorneys if you have questions about this new guidance.

About the author
Sherry Lin, Esq.

Sherry Lin is the Managing Attorney of Immigration Services at Employers Council. She specializes in employment-based immigration law and I-9/E-Verify compliance issues. Prior to joining Employers Council, Ms. Lin managed the Immigration Legal Services Program at Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains, serving refugees and asylees. A native of Taiwan, Ms. Lin came to North America in 1993, later earning a Bachelor of Music (with honors with distinction) and a Master of Arts in music theory from McGill University in Montréal, Canada. She received her J.D. in 2005 from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. Ms. Lin is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.