• Verification of Lawful Status (VLS)

  • Verifying Lawful Status in an Instant

    The Verification of Lawful Status (VLS) application provides a solution to two requirements encountered by state motor vehicle agencies (MVAs):

    Fake and altered immigration documents may be presented to MVAs, as proof of identity and proof of lawful status in the U.S. VLS allows the MVA to verify that the document matches the electronic record of the document held by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements ( SAVE) program.

    Real ID-compliant driver licenses and ID cards can only be issued after a MVA has verified the lawful status of the applicant. VLS provides a means for MVAs to comply with this verification requirement.

    VLS is designed to be integrated into MVA driver licensing and ID card issuing systems. Legacy AMIE messages or a Web service interface can be used for integration; both options allow the VLS requests and responses to operate in real time.


    Background Information 

    The USCIS operates the SAVE program. The SAVE program is an intergovernmental initiative designed to aid federal, state and local benefit-issuing agencies and licensing bureaus in verifying an applicant’s immigration status, thereby allowing the agencies or bureaus to ensure that only eligible applicants receive public benefits. These benefits are to include driver’s licenses, permits and identification cards.

    The legislation that governs the use of SAVE is:

    • Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
    • Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996
    • Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996
    • The Real ID Act of 2005
    Getting Started

    AAMVA facilitates an onboarding process for participating jurisdictions. This process covers procedures, activities and requirements necessary to satisfy the jurisdiction’s VLS implementation and utilization.

    All potential VLS application users are required to register for SAVE through USCIS before deploying the VLS application to a production environment and initiating lawful status queries. Additional information, including a link to begin the registration process, can be found on the SAVE Web site.

    AAMVA provides the integration and testing support needed to transition a MVA from integration to production and verify production status. The VLS interface software and documentation are available from AAMVA. The VLS application documentation can be downloaded from the Documentation tab. An MVA will receive instructions on how to download the web service or UNI upgrade by sending a request to AAMVA Support.

    Reach out to an AAMVA contact for further information regarding the VLS application and implementation and/or reach out to DHS support for further information regarding the SAVE registration process.


    For more information, please contact AAMVA Support.

    The current release of Verification of Lawful Status (VLS):   

    • VLS 3.2,  newest release available.

    The documentation for VLS 3.2 is listed below. Copies of documentation for other releases may be requested from AAMVA Support.

    Depreciation of Older Versions: Per the new DHS Policy, all customer agencies that connect to SAVE via a VLS interface should transition their systems to the most recent version of a SAVE release within 12 months from when AAMVA completes implementation of a new DHS version in a VLS release, or they may experience technical difficulties. The SAVE Program will not support versions that are more than one iteration older than the most recent release. Once a new version of the SAVE system is released, DHS will only guarantee that the immediately preceding version will be supported. VLS agencies accessing SAVE on an expired version may encounter technical difficulties because expired versions may be removed at any time after a new version is published and agencies have had 12 months to transition to the new version.

    Waiver to Functionality: WS agencies may request a waiver for building out certain functions, which will be considered and decided on a case by case basis in the totality of the circumstances by the SAVE Chief. To request a waiver, the agency should contact its SAVE agency relations manager or email the SAVE program at SAVE.help@uscis.gov.

    AMIE System Specification
    The purpose of this document is to provide application developers with the functional requirements needed to implement applications to exchange information via the VLS system over the AAMVAnet using AMIE (via the UNI access method).

    Web Service Specification
    The purpose of this document is to provide application developers with the functional requirements needed to implement applications to exchange information via the VLS system over the Internet or AAMVAnet using standardized WSDL/schema (via the web services access method).

    Jurisdiction Procedures Manual
    This document outlines the standard administrative practices required by the jurisdictions when using VLS. The primary audience for this document is jurisdiction personnel involved in the issuance of driver licenses who will interact with VLS.

    Jurisdiction Implementation Planning Guide
    This document is intended to give a Motor Vehicle Agency the information needed to plan their implementation of VLS.

    SAVE Tutorial
    The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program is pleased to announce the new SAVE Tutorial designed specifically to assist driver licensing agencies in using the SAVE system. This tutorial contains four lessons covering multiple aspects of the SAVE Program and the verification process, along with a reference library of immigration documents.

    For VLS documentation not listed here, contact AAMVA Support.

    Participants for VLS


    Map of All SAVE Participation Methods

    Map of All SAVE Participants

      The AAMVA rate schedules contain fees for the most common types of services and products used by AAMVA customers.

      All rates are effective through September 30th and are subject to change thereafter with 30-days prior written notice.

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