Proof of Legal Presence in the United States

Background Information

In 1996, the United States Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (the Act) which requires states to eliminate a broad array of public benefits for illegal immigrants. The definition of a public benefit includes professional and occupational licenses issued to individuals by state agencies. For purposes of the Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE), the term "public benefit" applies to original and renewal real estate salesperson and broker licenses; prepaid rental listing service licenses; and mineral, oil and gas broker licenses.

To implement the provisions of the Act, the CalBRE adopted Regulation 2718 effective August 1, 1998. The regulation requires proof of legal presence in the United States from all applicants for a license. The requirement applies to applicants for both original and renewal licenses.

Acceptable Documents for Establishing Legal Presence

The most common document that can be used for establishing proof of U.S. citizenship is a birth certificate. In most cases, individuals can obtain a certified copy of their birth certificate from either the county recorder's office in the county where they were born, or from the state office of vital statistics for the state where they were born. The telephone numbers for the vital statistics offices for all states, including U.S. Territories and Possessions are in the "Vital Statistics Offices" listed on State Public Benefits Information (RE 205A) Denotes a PDF document..

In addition to a birth certificate, there are a variety of other documents which can be used to establish proof of U.S. citizenship or legal alien status. The most common documents that can be used for these purposes are included in List A: Acceptable Documents to Establish U.S. Citizenship and List B: Acceptable Documents to Establish Alien Status below. For a complete list of acceptable documents, please refer to State Public Benefits (Comprehensive List) (RE 205B) Denotes a PDF document..

Since it can take a number of weeks to obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate, and possibly longer for other kinds of documents, it is in the interest of all renewing licensees and original license applicants to obtain the appropriate documentation as early as possible to avoid processing delays. Appropriate documentation showing legal presence must be received by the Department before a license certificate can be issued. The proof of legal presence document should be submitted along with the form entitled State Public Benefits Statement (RE 205) Denotes a PDF document..

When To Submit the Legal Presence Document

Original license applicants must submit the required proof of legal presence documentation with their application for an original license. Existing licensees who have not previously submitted the required proof of legal presence documentation must submit an acceptable document establishing legal presence in the United States and a properly completed State Public Benefits Statement (RE 205) Denotes a PDF document. to be able to renew license.

Regarding licensees who file a renewal application late (after the expiration date of their license), and do not submit documentation establishing legal presence in the United States, the license will not be renewed and there are no working extensions available. Accordingly, the licensee will not be able to engage in activities which require a real estate license until appropriate documentation is submitted and the license is renewed within the statutory grace period.

For United States citizens and permanent resident aliens, the documentation will only need to be submitted once. Once the Department's records reflect that an individual has permanent status in the United States, there will be no further need to update the record. However, for resident aliens who do not have permanent status, documentation showing legal presence will need to be submitted with each license renewal.

In view of the potential for a delay in the license issuance process that can occur when documentation establishing legal presence is not submitted, the Department encourages all license applicants to submit all of the required documentation with their license application.

List A: Acceptable Documents to Establish U.S. Citizenship

A person who is a citizen of the United States as evidenced by one of the following:

  1. A copy of a birth certificate issued in or by a city, county, state, or other governmental entity within the United States or its outlying possessions.

  2. A U.S. Certificate of Birth Abroad (FS-545, DS-135) or a Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen (FS-240).

  3. A birth certificate or passport issued from:

    • Puerto Rico, on or after January 13, 1941;
    • Guam, on or after January 17, 1917;
    • U.S. Virgin Islands, on or after January 17, 1917;
    • Northern Mariana Islands, after November 4, 1986;
    • American Samoa;
    • Swain's Island; or,
    • District of Columbia.
  4. A U.S. passport (expired or unexpired).

  5. Certificate of Naturalization (N-550, N-57, N-578).

  6. Certificate of Citizenship (N-560, N-561, N-645).

  7. U.S. Citizen Identification Card (I-179, I-197).

  8. An individual Fee Register Receipt (Form-G-711) that shows that the person has filed an application for a New Naturalization or Citizenship Paper (Form N-565).

  9. Any other document which establishes a U.S. place of birth or indicates U.S. citizenship.

List B: Acceptable Documents to Establish Alien Status

An alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) must submit supporting documentation (legible copy of the front and backside of the document) to establish legal presence under one of the following categories:

  1. An alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA). Evidence includes:

    • INS Form I-551 (Alien Registration Receipt Card commonly knows as a "green card"); or
    • Unexpired Temporary I-551 stamp in foreign passport or on INS Form I-94.
  2. An alien who is granted asylum under Section 208 of the INA. Evidence includes:

    • INS Form I-94 annotated with stamp showing grant of asylum under Section 208 of the INA;
    • INS Form I-688B (Employment Authorization Card) annotated "274a.12(a)(5)";
    • INS Form I-766 (Employment Authorization Document) annotated "A5";
    • Grant Letter from the Asylum Office of INS; or
    • Order of an immigration judge granting asylum.
  3. A refugee admitted to the United States under Section 207 of the INA. Evidence includes:

    • INS Form I-94 annotated with stamp showing admission under Section 207 of the INA;
    • INS Form I-688B (Employment Authorization Card) annotated "274a.12(a)(3)";
    • INS Form I-766 (Employment Authorization Document) annotated "A3"; or
    • INS Form I-571 (Refugee Travel Document).
  4. An alien paroled into the United States for at least one year under Section 212(d)(5) of the INA. Evidence includes:

    • INS Form I-94 with stamp showing admission for at least one year under Section 212(d)(5) of the INA.
  5. An alien whose deportation is being withheld under Section 243(h) of the INA (as in effect immediately prior to September 30, 1996) or Section 241(b)(3) of such Act (as amended by Section 305(a) of Division C of Public Law 104-208). Evidence includes:

    • INS Form I-668B (Employment Authorization Card) annotated "274a.12(a)(10)";
    • INS Form I-766 (Employment Authorization Document) annotated "A10"; or
    • Order from an immigration judge showing deportation withheld under Section 243(h) of the INA as in effect prior to April 1, 1997, or removal withheld under Section 241(b)(3) of the INA.
  6. An alien who is granted conditional entry under Section 203(a)(7) of the INA as in effect prior to April 1, 1980. Evidence includes:

    • INS Form I-94 with stamp showing admission under Section 203(a)(7) of the INA;
    • INS Form I-688B (Employment Authorization Card) annotated "274a.12(a)(3)"; or
    • INS Form I-766 (Employment Authorization Document) annotated "A3".
  7. An alien who is a Cuban or Haitian entrant (as defined in Section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980). Evidence includes:

    • INS Form I-551 (Alien Registration Receipt Card, commonly known as a "green card") with the code CU6, CU7, or CH6;
    • Unexpired temporary I-551 stamp in foreign passport or on INS Form I-94 with code CU6 or CU7; or
    • INS Form I-94 with stamp showing parole as "Cuban/Haitian Entrant" under Section 212(d)(5) of the INA.
  8. An alien paroled into the United States for less than one year under Section 212(d)(5) of the INA. Evidence includes:

    • INS Form I-94 showing this status.
  9. An alien who has been declared a battered alien. Evidence includes:

    • INS petition and supporting documentation.
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