California State Immigration Laws

California State Immigration Laws & What to Know


Whether you’re applying for citizenship, temporary visa’s, or green cards, an experienced immigration law attorney is beneficial in helping you figure out the process and obtain the results and answers you NEED.  Immigration is tricky and the laws are even trickier, so understanding what you’re getting into and what the real answers are, requires someone who navigates these busy roads often.

California has a different laws than many other states and an even bigger influx of immigrants and illegal immigrants everyday. This states success and growth can be directly attributed to the efforts of many immigrants, both documented and undocumented, so it’s important to fight for and support those individuals who give so much for so little.

Here we’ll cover the existing California legislation and rules related to a persons immigration status. You should take note that there is a difference or tension between state and federal law when it comes to the subject of immigration. It’s a touchy subject and no other state in the U.S. deals with this topic quite like California does. Below you’ll find information that could prove to be invaluable in understanding what rules California has involving immigration checks, immigration status and California State immigration laws in general.

Immigration and California’s Law Enforcement

In California, the law does not require that state or local law enforcement officers check for immigration status of individuals during routine traffic stops or similar stops. However, more law enforcement agencies are participating in pursuing suspected immigration infractions and possible offenses. Normally, when individuals are stopped for immigration suspected offenses, they are taken to be fingerprinted and scanned through a database to check their immigration status. California is now one of the few states to seek legislation and sometimes pass on allowing  local governments to decline or “opt out” of these programs.

Legal Working Status

Federal law dictates that all employers verify the legal working status of prospective employees. You can find more info on this matter by checking out Form I-9 and learn more about federal employment eligibility. In 2012, legislation was passed making it easier for farm workers and undocumented workers to become members of labor unions and lobby for workers rights. California has a rich agricultural industry and undocumented workers have contributed overwhelmingly to the functioning and success of California’s agricultural production and infrastructure.

What is the California E-Verify Law?

E-Verify is a program monitored and operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, with the support of the  Social Security Administration. E-Verify gives employers the ability to voluntarily check and verify that employees hired are legally authorized to work in the United States.

While many states require employers to use E-Verify, a recent legislation signed into law in California has restricted the use of E-Verify. While restricted to municipalities, countries and state government entities, private employers can still opt to use E-Verify on a strictly voluntary basis.

My Driver’s License & ID Requirements

California law says that all applicants for an original state ID card/driver license must show verification of birth date and legal proof presence within the United States. You can demonstrate this by providing Social Security Cards, or similar identifiable documents giving valid proof. Access to drivers licenses has been limited for illegal immigrants and currently no such law in California exists to give access to driver license checks.

Restrictions on Benefits

Federal law dictates that illegal immigrants are barred from receiving any public benefits, but are entitled to receive emergency services and healthcare services deemed “necessary to protect life and safety”. Many services related to healthcare are open to immigrants regardless of their status.

California Education and Immigration

California has recently passed the DREAM Act, which permits current and prospective students that may be undocumented, to pay the exact same tuition rates as legal residents attending public universities. They are also entitled to receive financial aid benefits.


Our Federal law determines the registration and ID requirements for voting elections and the California election law honors these requirements. This means providing valid ID at voting polls and new voters that are registering or re-registering must provide the last four of their Social Security Number, and or Drivers License numbers. If no information is available, then alternative forms of identification will be required and may still vote, but under provisional means.

Immigration and Housing

Currently, California does not deny any rental property or housing to illegal immigrants. Though efforts have been made to bar illegal immigrants form these privileges, these actions have faced varying degrees of success at court level proceedings.

Green Cards & Visa’s

Having and obtaining a green card allows you to live and work within the U.S. for the rest of your life and as long as you do not leave your residence and live outside the U.S. for an extended period of time. engaging in elicit activities can also cause you to lose your green card and leave you subject to deportation.

many individuals get their green cards from being sponsored by relatives, spouses or employers and some through EB-5 investments, asylum and the green card lottery. Balali Law can help you figure these processes and what works best for you, as well as answer any questions you may have.

Many individuals need temporary visa’s and the common forms are  B-1 and B-2 visas and the Visa Waiver Program. There are many different visa’s and understanding the appropriate one for you may seem difficult, but we can help assist you. You can study here in the U.S. or try obtaining the F-1, M-1 and J-1 temporary visas. E, H, L, O and P visa’s are generally the most common. We understand that all these versions are confusing, but that’s why we help you to understand and decide on the best to choose.


Our job is to handle the heavy lifting of this complex and often confusing process, so you don’t have to. If you need advice on immigration laws and immigration in general, then call the Law Office of Mark Balali Esq., a California State Immigration Attorney: at 310-431-9774, or contact us via social media.


The Law Office of Mark Balali