Georgia DMV needs unexpired VISA stamp on passport for license renewals

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A couple of folks from Atlanta are facing an issue with Georgia DMV wherein they are refusing to renew our license even after showing them H1B extension approval notice I 797 A original document. They are asking us to show unexpired visa stamp on passport and below is the actual piece of rule posted on Georgia DDS office. This is a new rule which clerks are quoting from last week. This would mean that we need to go back home and get our new visa stamped before we can apply for renewal. Has any one faced this same issue in Georgia and is there any solution to avoid going for stamping? Just to add that two people have faced this issue at 5 DMV's in Atlanta and this is not an issue isolated to a single DMV enforced by an overzealous clerk. They are all quoting this rule which is posted on office. I believe this will affect many people who are on H1 and not yet received GC.  


First Immigration Document (For Proof of Identity) : 
Unexpired Foreign Passport with valid U.S. Visa (Immigration Status A, B, E, H, I, L, O, P, Q, R, or S) 
Second Immigration Document (For Proof of Lawful Status) : 
Valid I-94 or I-797A Notice of Action 
First Immigration Document (For Proof of Identity) : 
Unexpired Foreign Passport with valid U.S. Visa (Immigration Status F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1 or M-2) 
Second Immigration Document (For Proof of Lawful Status) : 
I-20 (for F-1, F-2, M-1, or M-2 Status) or DS-2019 (for J-1 or J-2 Status) and Valid I-94 or I-797A Notice of Action


Edited by bandrad
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I did have a chat with an immigration lawyer and he said DMV can formulate their own rules since it's a state related agency. Is there any precedent for this rule in other states wherein they refuse renewal quoting unexpired visa stamp? I have lived in Washington, Texas and Ohio and never heard of this rule.

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I have faced the same issue today with GA DMV in Sandy springs. I have a valid petition, but my visa was expired last year. I also had a letter from my HR as a proof of residence. The moment i went to the counter, they rejected my application stating my visa was expired and GA DMV can't take any action(renewals/address change etc..). I also had a word with their supervisor and she clearly mentioned that without a valid visa DMV can't take any renewals/address changes. They weren't ready to even see the HR letter which i had as a proof of residence. I have been asked to reach out to USCIS for any assistance and GA DMV won't be able to help without valid visa. This will force the people to travel to their home country for getting a valid stamped visa.

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I faced this same issue at 2 DMV locations - Sandy Springs and Norcross - At the both the places, the clerks refused and gave me no options. Letter from employer, letter from USCIS, letter from anyone - does not matter. They only need to see a valid US visa stamped on the passport.

@Kayan24x7 - Thanks for the info. Trusting your words, I am going to try my luck in Marietta. Need to wake up early again on Saturday morning three weeks in a row :-(

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/17/2017 at 5:06 PM, sannduc said:


@Kayan24x7 - Thanks for the info. Trusting your words, I am going to try my luck in Marietta. Need to wake up early again on Saturday morning three weeks in a row :-(

Did you manage to get your lic renewed? in which DDS?


I'm on my second H1B extension after I140 approval. My license is expiring end of Sept 2017. Can i go this week that is 1st week of Sept 2017 with my extension document to renew my license? 

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  • 1 month later...


I had the exact same thing happen and have had a HECK of a time.  I am the US sponsor of an F1 student visa holder.  The DDS website and GA law clearly states that your documents should be verified through the SAVE system (USCIS) NOT by the random (my word) people at the desk who have no knowledge of what makes an immigration document valid or not. states: "As of January 1, 2008, Georgia state law requires DDS to verify all immigration documents presented by non-citizens via SAVE prior to issuing a driver's license/permit/ID card (O.C.G.A. §40-5-21.1). In most cases, the verification can be completed immediately during the applicant's driver's license/permit/ID card transaction. In some cases verification can take several days. Until the documentation is verified by USCIS, DDS cannot issue a driver's license/permit/ID card."

The first time we went in (Sandy Sprints in August), we weren't aware of this.  We escalated when denied because of the "visa expiration" issue and were told on the phone by a District Manager that despite the dds website saying that a visa must be "valid" (not expired) that he would not allow this.  After more research, I called him back and told him that, in fact, the SAVE process must be used.   He said he DID NOT have to use the SAVE process and that DDS General Counsel, Angelique McClendon agreed with him.  We, then went to a different location as if we'd never gone before and they ran the documents through SAVE.  A few days later, I checked SAVE and we went back to that same different location, were told all documents cleared and received the temporary license.  2 weeks later, we got a letter in the mail stating that the temporary license had been issued in error and that we would need to return with an UNEXPIRED visa.  I was furious and fairly sure that this District Mgr had been checking the system to see if we had been back, then inactivated her license.  I checked SAVE again and noticed that not only was our application in the SAVE system, but a 2nd application from the day I called the DM and told him about SAVE.  So he had put her documents in and KNEW that she was legal and STILL denied her license.   Through all of this, I had tried the state department, USCIS, emailing board members, the DDS feedback system, their FB page and was getting no response at all.   OK then, we went to a 3rd location as if nothing had happened, gave them our SAVE application number.  The guy at the counter was quizzical, saying there was something odd in the system and he had to get his manager to override it, since clearly SAVE said all her documents were good.  I just KNEW that the DM had flagged her name in the dds system.  They did the override and we got a temporary license again.  We haven't received a cancellation letter yet, and did receive a permanent license but I live in fear that they'll cancel it again.  I've talked with an attorney who has handled other GA DDS cases. They are absolutely discriminating against LEGAL immigrants.  Infuriating.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi All, i live in Texas and I have a valid H1B extension till 2020 and also I have I-94 on my H1B extended. How ever I lost my passport few years back which had my visa stampings but they are expired. I havent been outside US for almost 4 years now. I got my new passport which is valid and not expired. I went to texas DMV to get license. How ever I was told to have a expired/unexpired visa stamping. Since I dont have my old passport I cannot show it. 

Is that necessary? I am confused here. Even my lawyer for the company I work also told me that my passport with H1B document is good enough to show as lawful presence and identity. Does anyone have the similar experieince?

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