Government Identification

Headline:

New driver privilege permits will soon be available to Rhode Islanders who do not have a social security number.

Last-reviewed: 9am, June 22, 2022

Key Resource:

The Basics

  • Driver privilege cards will soon be issued to Rhode Islanders who can’t provide social security numbers but who have filed a RI tax return or be dependent of someone who filed a tax return. This new legislation still requires the Governor to sign the bill into a law. More information to come.
  • The Cranston, Middletown, Wakefield and Woonsocket DMVs are open by reservation only. Some satellite DMVs remain temporarily closed. Masks are recommended, but not required, at DMVs.
  • DMV appointments must be made online, a now permanent requirement. The DMV will not resume walk-in services once pandemic-related restrictions are lifted. Here is full list of DMV services available online or by mail.
  • The City of Providence offers its own municipal identification card.

The Breakdown

  • Pending the Governor’s signature, driver privilege permits will allow Rhode Islanders without social security numbers, but who have filed tax returns permission to legally drive in RI.
    • Unlike traditional driver’s licenses, these permits could not be used to vote, register to vote, get onto an airplane, or enter a federal building.
    • Permits will cost $50 and last for two years.
  • Online reservations here.
  • Providence residents are eligible for the Providence Municipal ID program. Municipal IDs are generally not accepted as substitutes for government issued IDs (e.g. driver’s licenses, passports, etc.)

Note: The RI General Assembly is expected to take up legislation that would permit people in RI who are “unable to establish legal presence in the United States” to obtain driver’s licenses. This bill has not yet passed but expect more news updates as this story evolves.

The Bottom Line

  • DMV services are offered by appointment.

Spotlight on Consumer Rights

All state agencies and their employees (or contractors) are prohibited from engaging in unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, ancestry, color, religious affiliation, national origin, age, mental or physical disability, gender, sexual orientation, or political beliefs. The DMV may in the course of its official duties make decisions or take actions based on a person’s age, mental or physical disability, citizenship or legal status in the U.S. For example, the DMV may need to suspend a person’s license based on a health condition that impairs a person’s ability to drive safely. Care teams working with people who believe they have been discriminated against by a DMV employee (or contractor) can share information about the DMV Customer Service Agreement, the RI DMV Customer Feedback Form that people can complete on-line, or refer them to the RI Commission for Human Rights to file a complaint.