Undocumented people in Washington can now apply for professional licenses.

That's because House Bill 1889 signed by Governor Jay Inslee passed earlier this year. According to the bill:

“An individual who is not lawfully present in the United States is eligible for a professional license, commercial license, certificate, permit, or registration as allowed under Title 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1621. A state agency, regulatory authority, or disciplining authority shall not deny an application for a professional license, commercial license, certificate, permit, or registration solely on the basis of a person’s immigration or citizenship status if the person has met all other qualifications”, the law states.

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The new law allows the use of individual tax identification numbers — often used by immigrants without legal status to file taxes — instead of social security numbers on professional license applications. The law also makes it illegal for state licensing agencies to disclose social security or tax payer identity numbers.

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Some professions, including optometry, private investigators, private security guards, and notaries required applicants to be United States citizens to qualify for a license or certification. The new law removes that requirement. The benefit is relieving employee shortages in those professions. Washington State is poised to create a more equitable and inclusive environment for people to pursue their chosen fields of employment.

The new state law applies to all undocumented people, regardless of their federal immigration status.

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