Demand for driver’s licenses in Colorado is higher than expected under a new law that offers state-issued IDs to residents regardless of immigration status.
In August, the first month the law went into effect, 100 percent of the slots to apply were filled, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue. Only five DMVs offer the service, and they are limited to 155 appointments a day. In that time, 1,655 driver’s licenses, permits and ID cards were issued. Another 1,166 people who had an appointment didn’t receive any form of ID because they did not fulfill requirements, which include documentation they’ve lived in the state continuously for 24 months and a passport or other form of identification from their country of origin.
Funding for the program was determined by the state’s prediction that about half of Colorado’s 150,000 immigrants seeking licenses would apply within three years. Funding was set at $436,291, down from an initial $855,686.
“We were providing the best estimate we could when the legislature needed it,” Chris Ward, fiscal note manager for the Colorado Legislative Council, told the Denver Post. “We just didn’t think demand was going to be this high.”
According to estimates from the Denver Post, it will take about four years for those who want to obtain licenses to make an appointment with DMV. But it could take longer because the licenses expire after three years and a high percentage of those with appointments don’t receive a license the day of their appointment.
Colorado is one of 11 states that allow immigrants who are not in the country legally to receive driver’s licenses.