LAS VEGAS — The cost of obtaining verified document translations for people seeking new Nevada driver privilege cards emerged as a key concern during a Wednesday workshop about the program, which is set to start Jan. 1.
Nevada Interpreters & Translators Association members pointed to state regulations governing applicants for cosmetology licenses and told state Department of Motor Vehicles officials that it’s important to ensure the accuracy of documents proving identity and residency.
Lorena Pike, NITA president, testified at a public videoconference in Las Vegas that translators might charge $50 to $100 to provide certified English-language translations of foreign documents. Testimony also was collected at state offices in Carson City and Elko.
Driving school instructor Harold Garon in Las Vegas countered that many families have someone who can translate documents at no cost to the family.
“There is no need to put this financial burden on the community,” he said.
Delilah De La O, another driving instructor, testified that she charges no more than $25 when she translates documents for people to submit to state and federal agencies.
The question of verification and its cost dominated discussion of a law passed this year by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval. It puts Nevada among several states letting people who don’t have legal U.S. residency obtain DMV-issued driver authorization cards.
“We’d like to emphasize that translation is a profession, not a hobby,” said Judy Jenner. “And being bilingual doesn’t make you a translator.”
Backers say the law will make Nevada roads safer because it’ll let drivers who can’t currently get driver’s licenses take a driving test, acquire insurance and drive legally. Proponents also said the fees collected will pay for the program and benefit the state.
The DMV will charge $22, agency spokesman David Fierro said, and applicants will be required to provide documents verifying their identity and residence. Some identification and residency documents might also require signature by a notary public, which can cost up to $5.
People will need to obtain and renew cards annually, and the cards won’t be used as official identification to board a commercial aircraft or enter a U.S. federal building.
Fierro said a public hearing will be held in September or October before the DMV finalizes regulations for the program and begins preparing for applications to roll in. Estimates are that tens of thousands of people who don’t have legal U.S. residency will apply.
According to the law, applicants will need to verify their identity with documents such as a passport or birth certificate, and prove residency with at least two documents such as rent or lease receipts, public utility bills, bank statements, credit card bills or employment check stubs.
Name variations will have to be documented, and the DMV is proposing to require documents to be typewritten or electronically printed, completely translated, submitted in both English and other language form, certified and notarized.
Other documents the agency might accept could include consulate-issued identification cards, individual income or property tax records, mortgages, school identification, receipts for public assistance or a notarized statement from a property owner verifying a person’s residence.
Vicenta Montoya, of the Si Se Puede Latino Democratic Caucus and the Latino Leadership Council, urged DMV officials to broaden the range of acceptable documents to also include insurance policies, church registrations and gym memberships with photo identification.
“For immigration purposes and vital statistics — birth, death, marriage and divorce — basic information is needed,” she said, “not literal translation.”
Jude Hurin and Terri Carter, who ran the Carson City workshop, where only a handful attended, said they were pleased the issues raised. They said the issues of translation and potential additional documents undocumented residents could use to qualify for a card seem relatively easy to deal with as the law progresses.
Nevada’s law was modeled after a similar measure in Utah, which, along with New Mexico, Illinois and Washington, has driving authorization laws for noncitizens. Colorado and Oregon passed similar laws this year.