If you are homeless, one of your main concerns is probably finding employment so that you can stop being homeless. However, a major stalling point for many homeless people is the necessity of having a drivers license in order to apply for jobs or legally transit to and from work if no bus or train system is available. Fortunately, while it is little known, there are a wide variety of ways that homeless people can obtain drivers licenses even if they do not currently have a permanent address.
The points of a drivers license are manifold. Not only does it certify that you are able to safely drive a car, but it also provides a reference and contact point. A drivers license gives an employer an idea of where you are located and indicates that you are able to pass basic responsibility requirements in order to obtain the license. It also provides identification to prove that you are legally present in the United States and that the employer will not get into legal trouble of their own for hiring you.
Read More: How to Establish ID for a Homeless Person
Because a drivers license is important for so many reasons outside of driving, it can be very difficult to move through the professional world without one. However, many homeless people are compelled to do so because they cannot provide a permanent address. They may be compelled to do so because they are unable to pay the fees associated with getting a drivers license, or they perhaps cannot provide sufficient amounts of documented identification to prove who they are. If you are homeless, however, there are many programs designed to help you get your affairs in order so that you can take steps to change your situation, but you often have to be aware of these programs yourself. Many administrators may not be familiar with them.
If you are homeless and need to get a drivers license, there are certain states that will be more help than others. For example, Nevada and Arizona will let you get a drivers license if you can provide a valid birth certificate and a state approved I.D. These items can usually be obtained with that birth certificate. Other states offer services that will waive fees for drivers licenses, or some states will let you use the permanent address of a parent or sibling if that individual accompanies you to the Department of Transportation Office.
There are incredible advantages to having a drivers license. Immediately, you become more qualified for many jobs. You no longer have to worry about arrest or imprisonment if you are pulled over while driving. For many people, getting a drivers license is the first step to leaving their homelessness behind them.
Many homeless people believe that the government does not want to help them because it often feels like there are so many obstacles to doing a simple thing like getting a drivers license. However, in reality, there are many ways that you can obtain a license even if you are homeless. You just need to know who to ask and how to ask. Many government employees are treated very badly by most of the people that they come into contact with. Using a gentle, polite demeanor will often go a long way toward getting the help you need, and you will need some type of assistance because every region and state's laws concerning this issue are slightly different.
It may be tempting to accept an offer to "sell" your identity if you find yourself in a serious financial bind and do not believe that you will ever have use for a drivers license anyway. However, if you do this you jeopardize your entire future because you will basically be giving away your means of identifying yourself to the government. Not only is this illegal, but it can lead to serious consequences if the person who is using your information does something illegal or immoral or both.