Award recepients Siobhan & Connell Gallagher

 We offer our congratulations to Connell and Siobhan Gallagher of the Irish Emigrant this week on receiving this year’s Charitable Irish Society’s Silver Key Awards. We attended a reception in their honor at the BC Club on Thursday night and a fun evening was had by all in attendance.

We’ve worked closely with Connell and Siobhan since the 1990s and are delighted to see them recognized for their work in the Irish community. Other recipients of this year’s Silver Key included Lynn Finn, Mary E. Kelleher and Kevin Leary. All the recipients were recognized for their contributions to the Irish community.

Registry official arrested in undocumented immigrant license scam

Recent reports in the media indicated that a Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicle employee was arrested in connection with falsely promising to provide undocumented immigrants with drivers’ licenses. The arrest came after an undercover operation began when federal immigration officials discovered the individual was allegedly using the position at the Registry to extort money from undocumented immigrants since March of 2011.

Irish at risk

It has been suggested that some Irish immigrants may have paid money to get drivers licenses which they would otherwise not have been eligible for because of immigration status issues.

Attorney Chris Lavery said that the RMV has become much stricter about their requirements in recent years. The RMV carefully applies restrictions on the issuance of licenses. Undocumented immigrants are simply not eligible for Massachusetts drivers licenses under current regulations.

We advise against the practice of fraudulently obtaining drivers licenses using false information or conspiring to commit such fraud with others through the payment of money. Those who seek licenses illegally can face criminal prosecution and deportation.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles does require a valid social security number in order to check and keep track of driving records. The Registry also requires several forms of identification which could include a picture ID, a signature ID, one which shows your date of birth, and one that shows your residency in Massachusetts. Acceptable forms of documentation for establishing identity and residency include for example: your passport, lease, W-2 form, bank passbook, marriage certificate, charge card with photo and signature, birth certificate, paid bills with name, canceled bank checks. While the Registry may request evidence of legal permanent residency status, this may not always be necessary if you have other acceptable forms of ID and a valid social security number. All of the information you need on obtaining a license or ID is available on line at:

According to Social Security regulations, you do not need a social security number for the issuance of non-driver identification. However, the Registry does ask for a social security number on its Mass. ID application (the same application is used for all cards issued by the Registry) and may question the application if it is not provided.

The Registry must give every denied applicant notice of the reason for the denial on a completed Document Verification Rejection Form. If you feel you have been wrongly denied, you have the right to appeal a ruling or decision made by the Registry. If you are appealing, do so as soon as possible, ideally within a few days of the decision but we advise you to consult one of our attorneys before proceeding to make sure you are interpreting the regulations correctly.

Marriage related cases

A leading member of Seannad Eireann recently referred a case to us for review involving a marriage based legal permanent residency application. The petition was filed by the US citizen without attorney review and we want to remind readers that anyone filing an application for legal permanent residency should first seek the advice of an immigration attorney or specialist.

Legal Clinic Notice

If any readers have any questions on the subject of driver’s licenses or immigration to the US, attorneys Dan Harrington and Chris Lavery will be at our legal clinic on Tuesday December 4th at 6:30 pm in The Banshee, 934 Dorchester Ave. Dorchester. 

Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained in it is provided to inform generally, and is not intended as a substitute for individual advice. Immigration law is subject to frequent changes and individual circumstances can affect the application of certain legal provisions. For individual legal advice, please contact the Irish Pastoral Centre directly regarding upcoming legal clinics or consultation with an immigration attorney.