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  1. An update for anyone who is trying or will try to get a California driver's license after entry to the USA, with new information we were not aware of before, even after two years of following posts on this site and being an active contributor. My husband had proper documentation to prove his LPR status as a recent CR-1 visa arrival (visa stamped at POE, equivalent to an I-551 for one year from entry as stated on the visa), but the California DMV we went to would not give him a driving permit after he passed the written test because his legal status in the US had to be reviewed by DMV's Investigative Unit, something called "Secondary Review." Basically this means that he was subject to another bureaucratic process, with a wait of up to three months for an interview at another location somewhere in the state: "Secondary Review You’ll have another opportunity to prove your identity and California residency using a wider variety of documents, and you’ll be required to attend an extra appointment with a DMV at a different office than the field office you originally visited. Secondary Review is conducted by staff members of the DMV’s Investigations Division, who will review your identity and residency documents. Your interview make take up to one hour. The Secondary Review process can take anywhere from two weeks to three months- it all depends on volume and the region you’re applying in." When my husband called the Investigative Unit phone number in Sacramento yesterday, to initiate the secondary review, they said it was to verify his legal status in the US and they gave us a different number to call but no one answered it, so we figured we could try again next week and wait and wait some more. Then his green card arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon (thank God), so today we went back to our local DMV and after more than an hour with a customer service person and many back-and-forths to supervisors, he finally got his driving permit and can start practicing, and set an appointment for his driving road test (two months out). I wanted to post this here for others who may assume that the CR-1 or IR-1 visa, stamped at POE, is all you need for a driver's license in California. It may be, but is subject to "secondary review," which can take weeks or months and requires an interview that could be many miles away. Fortunately for my husband, his green card arrived and that makes life so much easier. I hope everyone is doing well on your immigration journeys!
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