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Prove Your Legal Presence

Who are you? Your identity is everything to you. It could be your career, your faith, your last name, your facial hair (it is Movember by the way) by which you place the most importance identifier. In business world, the cool buzzword is “branding”. Call it what you want, but if you are a CDL holder, your identity as an American is first and foremost. The article this week will tell you why.

Let’s take a walk memory lane. Go back to September 11th, 2001. Terrorists attacked our country, on our soil, in a big way. Fourteen years later we are still implementing new rules and regulations to help prevent another tragedy like that day. CDLs are no exception.

The earliest post 9/11 regulation for CDL holders was mandatory fingerprinting for those with the hazmat endorsement. Inconvenient? Yes. Costly? Yes. Necessary? Yes. Truck drivers are good people, but the risk of a driver living a double life as terrorist with a job hauling hazardous materials is probably worth the preventative efforts.

Now, effective July 1st 2015, if you are an American CDL holder, you have to prove your legal presence in the United States. The federal government has mandated it. You have no choice but to comply, or risk losing your CDL. It may seem counter-intuitive, because didn’t you already do this to obtain your driver’s license in the first place?

The answer is yes. Most law abiding Americans secured their driver’s licenses legally using legitimate documents. However, some did not. Remember the Illinois CDL scandal which landed former Governor George Ryan in prison? Who is to say there are not still some CDL holders out there who obtained their CDL feloniously? What if there are other “pay-to-play” schemes still in the works in other states which have yet to be detected?

This new proof of legal presence requirement for CDL holders is another attempt to weed out those CDL holders who are not supposed to have them with help from dui offense. Realize not all people with legitimate licenses have had to prove this in the past. Go back 50 years, and the documentation burden was far less than what it was pre-9/11 or even now. Those drivers may or may not have had to prove the lawfully could be in the United States, but yet they are driving trucks with CDLs.

Another similar situation is Illinois (like many other states) allowing for temporary visitors to obtain limited scope driver’s licenses. Politically, it seems these standards will probably loosen before they are tightened up. While the vast majority of visitors with these licenses are decent, hard-working people, the opportunities for the devilish ones to slip through the cracks are increasing. This new proof will help limit the criminals from that population from graduating to CDLs from regular Class-D licenses.

A great misconception is this new proof is about citizenship status. Incorrect. The basis of this new program is only to show you are living in the United States legally. Your status as a citizen is irrelevant.

Here’s what the Illinois CDL holder needs to know before stepping foot into a CDL facility: bring your proof of legal presence. Going to renew your CDL? Bring it. Adding an endorsement? Bring it. Changing addresses? Bring it. Re-certifying from intrastate to interstate? Bring it. Tendering your medical card? Bring it. Upgrading from a permit to a full CDL? Bring it.

It’s that simple – bring your proof with you the next time you visit an Illinois CDL facility for whatever reason. You will be asked to prove it, and if you don’t, you will be turned away. The Illinois Secretary of State CDL services has done an outstanding job of notifying CDL holders, yet time and time again people are walking into the facilities without the documentation and sent packing.

Good news! You only have to do this one time. For US citizens, a passport or raised seal birth certificate (no copies) is all your need. To learn more, click HERE.

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