Can I Apply for a Professional License if I Am Undocumented?

Can I Apply for a Professional License if I Am Undocumented?

As a general rule, state law and state licensing boards govern the eligibility requirements for professional licenses, including immigration status. However, federal law prohibits undocumented immigrants from obtaining professional licenses, unless a state specifically enacts legislation that permits an undocumented immigrant to obtain a professional license. Currently, ten states, including the state of California, allow some populations of undocumented immigrants to become professionally licensed in all or some occupations. For example, in California, undocumented immigrants can get any of 40 professional licenses available under state law so long as they meet all other eligibility requirements, and they can produce a federal individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) rather than a Social Security number (SSN). Other states’ laws about professional licensing for undocumented immigrants are generally less expansive than California’s law. For example, Florida and Illinois allow participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program to become licensed to practice law, although this may change with the upcoming demise of the DACA program. Wyoming also no longer requires that applicants for law licenses be U.S. citizens. New York allows teacher licenses and certifications for DACA recipients, and Nebraska allows DACA recipients to obtain all professional and commercial licenses. Nevada allows undocumented immigrants to obtain teaching licenses, South Dakota allows dentist licenses, and Utah allows occupational therapist licenses. Many states permit the professional licensing of undocumented immigrants in order to address occupational shortages, boost their economies, benefit from educational investment, and promote self-sufficiency for the immigrant population. States benefit from an economic perspective from the payment of local and state taxes; in 2014, undocumented immigrants in Texas in various industries contributed almost one billion dollars in state and local taxes from their employment. Professional licensing is only one of the many challenges that impact undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., knows federal immigration law and has the experience to guide you through any type of deportation proceeding, that you may be facing. We are familiar with the wide range of defenses that are available to individuals facing deportation, and how to build the strongest defense that is available to you, based on the evidence relevant to your case. Contact your California deportation defense lawyers today, and discover what we can do for you.
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