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Immigrants may find it easier to get Colorado driver's licenses

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Thanks to legislation passed this year, immigrants living in Colorado will be able to use a Social Security number to obtain or renew a driver's license starting Jan. 1. While many will find the legislation — aimed at those living in the state illegally — to be odd (why would they have a Social Security number if not authorized to work in the United States?), immigrant advocates say the change is necessary to accommodate more people. Increasing the number of acceptable IDs used to obtain a license, they say, will help streamline a process that has faced years of backlogs.

Immigrants currently have to provide proof of an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) in order to get a license, permit or ID card, and must visit one of four offices in the state to renew. The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Sen. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa), simplifies the process by allowing them to use either an ITIN or a Social Security number.

Another key change: They can renew credentials online.

Other documents required for immigrants include: proof of tax return filing for the previous year and proof of current residency in Colorado; or three documents proving continuous residency for the previous 24 months, an affidavit of residency, an ID from the individual's country of origin, and an affidavit that the applicant has applied, or will apply as soon as they are eligible, for lawful presence in the U.S.

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