April 12, 2002
Virginia DMV Discrimination Ends

Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) enacted an extra security measure, effective September 23, requiring additional proof of residency before issuing driver's licenses and learner's permits.

Students in public and accredited private schools submit a certified copy of school records or a transcript from their school. For home educated students, however, providing proof of residency has been no simple task.

HSLDA sent letters to numerous local DMV offices on behalf of member families confirming the student's enrollment, good standing and full attendance in the home school, and that the family has fully complied with Virginia home school law.

In most cases, the local DMV insisted home schoolers ask the local public school superintendent to issue a form stating that the family has filed a notice of intent or a religious exemption. Many home schooling families still had difficulty obtaining this form.

On March 11, HSLDA Senior Counsel Christopher J. Klicka spoke with Karen Ruby, Director of Driver's Services, at DMV headquarters in Richmond to discuss the September 23 policy. Klicka pointed out that Virginia law governing the licensure of drivers requires only a letter from the parent certifying the child's compliance with the compulsory attendance law.

HSLDA received an amended DMV policy on March 14 that specifically states: "Applicants under age 19 can have a parent or legal guardian certify their Virginia residency." In order to do this, the parent/guardian must appear in person with the applicant. The parent/guardian must provide a photo identification card and proof of his own Virginia residency with a document from the residency list, such as: a cancelled check, Virginia vehicle registration, a utility bill, a receipt for personal property taxes or real estate taxes, a deed or mortgage, etc.

If local DMV offices follow the amended policy, home schoolers should no longer find proof of residency requirements standing in the way of their teens obtaining driver's licenses. If, however, any members encounter a problem, please let us know.