Immigration law changes vehicle registration process

Published 3:51 pm Friday, August 26, 2011

Motor vehicle registration procedures will change when the new immigration law signed by Gov. Robert Bentley goes into effect Sept. 1.

According to an Aug. 26 press release, Act 2011-535 of the Alabama Legislature, also known as the Immigration Act, will require everyone to show proof of U.S. citizenship for every business transaction made through the Alabama Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division and County Licensing Offices.

“Business transactions” include applying for or renewing a license plate, a driver’s license, a non-driver identification card or a certificate of title.

“It’s really going to change the way we do everything in our office,” said Tim Little, Chilton County tax collector. “Just be patient with us. We’re going to suffer along with the public until we can get the wrinkles ironed out.”

Beginning Sept. 1, any person applying for or renewing a license plate, driver’s license, non-driver identification card or certificate of title must come into the Motor Vehicle Registration Office and present documents proving U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the U.S.

“You will have to go in and show the proper I.D.,” Little said. “No more online renewals. It’s going to be bad.”

Examples of acceptable documents for U.S. citizenship, original or photocopied clearly, include:

•A valid, unexpired driver’s license or non-driver identification card issued by the Alabama Department of Public Safety.

•A U.S. birth certificate.

•A valid or expired passport with I.D. and passport number.

•Naturalization documents or the certificate of naturalization number.

According to the press release, applicants trying to prove lawful presence must present one document for verification each year, such as a valid, unexpired Alabama driver’s license, a valid, unexpired non-driver identification card or a valid tribal enrollment card.

“It (immigration law) can be interpreted so many different ways,” Little said. “We’re trying to let the public know what to expect come September 1.”

According to the press release, the best time to renew a tag is between the 11th and 25th of each month. The best time to submit renewals online or by regular mail is no later than the 20th of the month.