Virginia Governor Bars Immigration Work Permits As Proof of Legal Status

Posted on September 8th, 2010, by Jennifer Varughese in Immigration Law. Comments Off on Virginia Governor Bars Immigration Work Permits As Proof of Legal Status

In a major decision by current Governor Bob McDonnell, Virginia DMVs will no longer accept USCIS-issued work permits (also referred to as employment authorization cards) as proof of legal status necessary for a driver’s license or license renewal.

For scores of Virginia residents with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), asylee status, pending green card cases, etc., the work permit is often the only proof that one is in the United States legally. Therefore, the Governor’s action has been met with both confusion and frustration on the part of many lawful Virginia residents. On the other side of the debate, proponents of the new measure cite the ability of criminally-charged foreign nationals to obtain work permits as proof that it should not be the basis of one’s ability to obtain a driver’s license. Regardless, the fact remains that this new measure will negatively affect countless foreign nationals who come to the United States legally, lawfully remain in Virginia, and make their way through an often lengthy, complicated pathway to a green card.

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Jennifer S. Varughese is the lead immigration attorney at Livesay & Myers, P.C. Her immigration law practice covers both family-based and employment-based green cards, temporary visas, adjustment of status for those already present in the country, citizenship, and deportation cases. Ms. Varughese has been recognized for her work in the area of the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.

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