Professional Licenses for Immigrants
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StateBill
Year Approved
TextLink to BillLicensing GuidesNotes
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No work authorization required, allows ITINS
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Requires work authorization (DACA)
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Ambiguous, more research needed
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Source: http://www.ncsl.org/research/immigration/professional-and-occupational-licenses-for-immigrants.aspx
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Source: https://cliniclegal.org/resources/professional-licenses-undocumented-immigrants
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Licensing Guides: https://www.upwardlyglobal.org/programs/professional-licensing-guides/
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Contact Iliana Perez, Director of Research & Entrepreneurship, at iliana@immigrantsrising.org for questions or comments about this resource
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ArkansasHB15522019Allows DACA recipients who have completed requirements to practice nursing in the state to apply for licenses.http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2019/2019R/Pages/BillInformation.aspx?measureno=HB1552
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CaliforniaSB11592014All individuals seeking a professional license can now provide either a federal Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or Social Security number (SSN). Any individual lawfully or unlawfully present in the U.S. can apply for and receive a professional license, provided he or she fulfills all other requirements. (S.1159, 2014)https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB1159https://www.upwardlyglobal.org/get-hired/california-professional-licensing-guides/Only covers licenses issued by Dept of Consumer Affairs, State Bar, and Dept of Real Estate
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SB7882018Dept. of Insurance will accept ITINs in lieu of SSNs for license applicants.http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB788Expanded licensing to include licenses in the Department of Insurance
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AB595 (somewhat related)2019A student enrolled in a community college class or classes pursuant to an apprenticeship training program or an internship training program who does not have a social security number may use an ITIN for purposes of any background check required by the class or program.http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB595Could resolve the training issue required for some professional licenses, but the SSN is not the problem, work auhtorization is the problem
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AB2184 (somewhat related)2019Requires local governments to accept alternatives to Social Security Numbers on business license applications. Alternatives include CA driver's license, CA ID, ITIN or municipal ID.https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB2184Even though undocumented cannot get hired as employees without work authorization, they could use their professional license to work as independent contractors or start a business
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AB10242014Law expressly authorizes the CA Supreme Court to issue a law license to “an applicant who is not lawfully present in the United States [who] has fulfilled the requirements for admission to practice law".
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FloridaHB7552014An unauthorized immigrant may be admitted to the Florida state bar if the person applying for a license arrived in the U.S. as a minor, has been present in the U.S. for more than 10 years, has employment authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has a Social Security number (not an ITIN) and, if male, has registered for Selective Service.https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=51874
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IllinoisSB 00232015Illinois allows DACA recipients who have work authorization from the USCIS and who have fulfilled all other requirements to receive a license to practice law in the state of Illinois. No person can be prohibited from an attorney’s license because of citizenship status.https://www.upwardlyglobal.org/get-hired/illinois-professional-licensing-guides/
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SB31092018Prohibits state officials from denying a professional license to anyone solely based on their immigration or citizenship status. Applicants may provide their ITIN in place of a Social Security Number to apply for a license.http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=3109&GAID=14&GA=100&DocTypeID=SB&LegID=110694&SessionID=91
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IndianaSB4192018Allows DACA recipients to obtain licenses in more than 70 professions, such as nursing, architecture, and cosmetology.http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2018/bills/senate/419
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MichiganMichigan’s State Office of New Americans partnered with nonprofit Upwardly Global (UpGlo) and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to provide online professional licensing guides for up to 44 professions. In addition, professional job search training for immigrants is available to those who have a green card or refugee status, have a bachelor’s degree or higher, have a minimum of two years work experience outside the United States, and who have lived in the U.S. for less than five years.https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-10573_68301---,00.html
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MinnesotaS.1340, 2014 and S.1458, 20152014, 2015The Minnesota Legislature authorized a Foreign-Trained Physician Task Force in 2014 to develop strategies to integrate immigrant physicians to address barriers and alleviate shortages. The Legislature also established the international medical graduates assistance program to assist with integration into the Minnesota health care delivery system, with the goal of increasing access to primary care in rural and underserved areas of the state. The law establishes $500,000 in 2016 and in 2017 for the health care access fund and requires an annual report on progress and recommendations. (S.1340, 2014 and S.1458, 2015)
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MississippiHB 7082018Provides that people with work authorization may apply to become Licensed Professional Counselors, if they meet other requirements for licensure in the state.http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2018/pdf/history/HB/HB0708.xml
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NebraskaLB9472016Allows professional or commercial licenses to DACA recipients. Includes licenses to be able to practice law.https://nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/view_bill.php?DocumentID=28651
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NevadaAB2752019AN ACT relating to licensing; prohibiting a regulatory body from denying licensure of an applicant based on his or her immigration or citizenship status; authorizing an applicant for a professional or occupational license who does not have a social security number to provide an ITIN; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/80th2019/Bill/6498/Overview
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New JerseyS24552020This bill provides that, notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, lawful presence in the United States may not be required to obtain a professional or occupational license, provided that the applicant meets all other requirements for licensure.https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/S2500/2455_I1.HTM
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New YorkN/A2016In May 2016, the New York Board of Regents permanently adopted regulations to allow DACA recipients to apply for teaching certifications and licenses in 50 professions.http://www.nysed.gov/news/2016/board-regents-permanently-adopts-regulations-allow-daca-recipients-apply-teacherhttps://www.upwardlyglobal.org/get-hired/new-york-professional-licensing-guides/
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N/A2015The Supreme Court of the State of New York ruled in Matter of Vargas that a DACA recipient may be admitted to the state bar to practice law.http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2015/2015_04657.htm
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PennsylvaniaN/A2017Board of Law Examiners passed rule that ensures that participants in the federal government’s DACA program can be admitted to the commonwealth’s bar and cannot be denied a law license based on their immigration status.https://www.aclupa.org/en/press-releases/new-rule-daca-recipients-can-be-lawyers-pennsylvania
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South DakotaSB10452015Provides that any person, foreign-trained or a graduate of a nonaccredited dental program may apply for a license to practice dentistry in the state. The State Board of Dentistry shall establish requirements to ensure that the applicant’s training and education are sufficient for licensure.

Any foreign-trained or other graduate from a dental program not accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation may apply for a license to practice as a dentist or dental hygienist. The State Board of Dentistry must establish requirements to ensure that an applicant’s training and education are sufficient for licensure. (H1045, 2015)
https://sdlegislature.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?Bill=1045&Session=2015
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UtahH194 and SB1312015Utah may issue a license to an occupational therapist or therapy assistant applicant who meets the requirements of receiving a license, and has been licensed in a state, district, U.S. territory or foreign country where the education, experience or examination requirements are not substantially equal to Utah’s requirements, if the applicant passes an examination. (H194 and S131, 2015)https://le.utah.gov/~2015/bills/static/SB0131.html
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UtahState Supreme Court Ruling2020DACA recipients eligible for admission to the Utah Bar if the applicant meets all other requirements for admission.https://www.abc4.com/news/local-utah-state-news/utah-daca-recipients-file-petition-to-allow-them-to-practice-law-in-the-state/
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http://www.utcourts.gov/utc/rules-comment/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2019/12/2019.12.09-Proposed-New-Rule-14-721.pdf
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West VirginiaH20052015West Virginia issues teaching certificates only to U.S. citizens who meet the qualifications. A permit to teach in the public schools, however, may be granted to “an exchange teacher from a foreign country or an alien person who meets the requirements to teach.”
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WyomingHB2142015Wyoming repealed a requirement for a bar applicant to be a U.S. citizen. Note: Legal immigrants include naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents (green card holders), refugees and asylees. Legal nonimmigrants include those on student, work or other temporary visas.
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