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carmel34

California DMV Refuses to Recognize CR-1 Visa Endorsement as Valid I-551

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I just went to the California DMV with my husband to get his driver's license, we had all the necessary documents, or so we thought.  The person helping us looked at his Brazilian passport, and said that the stamp endorsing the CR-1 visa was "not an I-551 stamp" according to the very old policy manuals.  For a number of years now the visa itself has a statement near the bottom that reads "Upon Endorsement Serves as Temporary I-551 Evidencing Permanent Residency for 1 Year."  Meaning that a simple entry stamp at POE with the date and status (CR-1) and Alien number is the endorsement referred to on the visa.  I asked for a supervisor, so she went and spoke with her boss.  Then came back and looked on her computer some more.  In the end she said, "sorry, this stamp in the passport has to specifically say "processed for I-551.  I cannot give you a driver's license until you have this or a green card."  We drove to the Sacramento Airport to try and get a stamp that would satisfy this but could not speak with a CBP officer.  Our only option now is to try for an appointment at an USCIS office and get something that a California DMV might accept.  Or return to the same or different DMV and try to explain to them that the entry stamp is all that is needed to endorse the I-551 already stated on the visa.  Any suggestions anyone??  This is very frustrating to say the least....

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Different DMV.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Which DMV did you go to? I live in Sacramento and went to the DMV in Rocklin.  They said everything is fine. We just needed to go open up a bank account so he could have proof of address for a REAL ID and SSN which you can go to the SS office and they will give it to you even if is card is not here yet depending on POE

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I would try a different office . When we got a bank account, at first they denied us and then after I had to point it out to them where it says UPON ENDORSEMENT SERVES AS TEMPORARY I-551 EVIDENCING PERMANENT RESIDENCE FOR 1 YEAR.” and then they honored it. Most people are just misinformed. And if that doesn't work then contact DMV headquarters,speak to a Supervisor there and they can call the office and tell them to honor it.  

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On 8/31/2019 at 4:10 PM, carmel34 said:

I just went to the California DMV with my husband to get his driver's license, we had all the necessary documents, or so we thought.  The person helping us looked at his Brazilian passport, and said that the stamp endorsing the CR-1 visa was "not an I-551 stamp" according to the very old policy manuals.  For a number of years now the visa itself has a statement near the bottom that reads "Upon Endorsement Serves as Temporary I-551 Evidencing Permanent Residency for 1 Year."  Meaning that a simple entry stamp at POE with the date and status (CR-1) and Alien number is the endorsement referred to on the visa.  I asked for a supervisor, so she went and spoke with her boss.  Then came back and looked on her computer some more.  In the end she said, "sorry, this stamp in the passport has to specifically say "processed for I-551.  I cannot give you a driver's license until you have this or a green card."  We drove to the Sacramento Airport to try and get a stamp that would satisfy this but could not speak with a CBP officer.  Our only option now is to try for an appointment at an USCIS office and get something that a California DMV might accept.  Or return to the same or different DMV and try to explain to them that the entry stamp is all that is needed to endorse the I-551 already stated on the visa.  Any suggestions anyone??  This is very frustrating to say the least....

Well it might  be regulation by each State, I've got my Driver license in New York  and I didn't have any issue showing them my visa saying I 551 valid for one year on the visa, they didn't ask nothing, they  just told me to wait because they had to check the visa which took 2 hours and that was it. Got the license 7 days later. 

Edited by Francony

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A quick update.  On Saturday after trying unsuccessfully to get an I-551 stamp on the passport at the airport, we went home and I checked the USCIS website regarding the endorsement at POE of the CR-1 visa with a simple entry stamp and the wording on the visa itself that it serves as a one-year I-551 from date of entry, printed the two pages from the USCIS website showing an example (which looked exactly like my husband's POE stamp), and we returned to the same DMV in Fairfield and explained the situation to the first lady, she apologized and said we were misinformed by the previous DMV person and supervisor, that the passport stamp and visa were sufficient to get a driver's license effective until one year from the date of US entry.  His SSN and proof of CA residency were also sufficient to get a REAL ID driver's license.  So in the end in it worked out after a frustrating day.  Good luck to everyone in your US visa journeys!

Edited by carmel34

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On 9/3/2019 at 7:00 AM, carmel34 said:

A quick update.  On Saturday after trying unsuccessfully to get an I-551 stamp on the passport at the airport, we went home and I checked the USCIS website regarding the endorsement at POE of the CR-1 visa with a simple entry stamp and the wording on the visa itself that it serves as a one-year I-551 from date of entry, printed the two pages from the USCIS website showing an example (which looked exactly like my husband's POE stamp), and we returned to the same DMV in Fairfield and explained the situation to the first lady, she apologized and said we were misinformed by the previous DMV person and supervisor, that the passport stamp and visa were sufficient to get a driver's license effective until one year from the date of US entry.  His SSN and proof of CA residency were also sufficient to get a REAL ID driver's license.  So in the end in it worked out after a frustrating day.  Good luck to everyone in your US visa journeys!

May I ask which docs you used to show proof of CA residency besides a bank statement?


Our CR-1 story so far...
3/15/19: I-130 sent via USPS Priority Mail
3/18/19: Delivered to Phoenix Lockbox
3/22/19: CC Payment Processed
3/22/19: USCIS NOA1 Receipt via Text (Case routed to Texas Service Center)
3/28/19: USCIS NOA1 Receipt via Mail (I-797C)

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10 minutes ago, twoworldsonelove said:

I used a pge bill and went to the one in Rocklin.

Thanks! That’s really good to know. I’m in Roseville. I called PG&E this afternoon to add my husband to my account, but it’s too soon (no ssn yet).


Our CR-1 story so far...
3/15/19: I-130 sent via USPS Priority Mail
3/18/19: Delivered to Phoenix Lockbox
3/22/19: CC Payment Processed
3/22/19: USCIS NOA1 Receipt via Text (Case routed to Texas Service Center)
3/28/19: USCIS NOA1 Receipt via Mail (I-797C)

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1 minute ago, erzengel said:

Thanks! That’s really good to know. I’m in Roseville. I called PG&E this afternoon to add my husband to my account, but it’s too soon (no ssn yet).

Did he just enter? My husband got his SSN exactly 1 week from DOE so hopefully it will arrive soon. Also he passed his written exam but the behind-the-wheel test are so far out. Soonest appt is Nov 6th.

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13 minutes ago, twoworldsonelove said:

Did he just enter? My husband got his SSN exactly 1 week from DOE so hopefully it will arrive soon. Also he passed his written exam but the behind-the-wheel test are so far out. Soonest appt is Nov 6th.

Umm, we’re still waiting for NOA2 approval. Lol  I’m just preparing. ;o) Thanks again. 


Our CR-1 story so far...
3/15/19: I-130 sent via USPS Priority Mail
3/18/19: Delivered to Phoenix Lockbox
3/22/19: CC Payment Processed
3/22/19: USCIS NOA1 Receipt via Text (Case routed to Texas Service Center)
3/28/19: USCIS NOA1 Receipt via Mail (I-797C)

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On 9/3/2019 at 7:00 AM, carmel34 said:

we returned to the same DMV in Fairfield and explained the situation to the first lady, she apologized and said we were misinformed by the previous DMV person and supervisor

Good thing they accepted it. There are misinformed DMV employees all over the state. I know someone that is a stepdaughter of USC so she entered with an IR-2. Oakland Coliseum DMV employees also didn't accept her CBP-endorsed IR-2. Luckily, her Green Card arrived a few days later.

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