Governor Newsom signs Wieckowski bill to give Foreign Service Officers driver's license extensions

Lt. Gov. Kounalakis, other ambassadors support SB 267

October 3, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Beginning in January, Foreign Service Officers from California representing the United States abroad, and their spouses, will be able to get an extension for their driver’s licenses that will keep them valid for the duration of the time they are serving abroad.  Governor Newsom today signed Senate Bill 267, authored by Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), which grants Foreign Service Officers the same license extensions as members of the military.

“I applaud the Governor’s action because our Foreign Service Officers are doing important work for our country often during lengthy tours,” said Senator Wieckowski, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee.  “They often need a driver’s license to obtain a local or international license.  This is a simple but important change for the men and women serving our nation in over 270 embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions.”

By matching how the law works for members of our Armed Forces, SB 267 ensures that Foreign Service Officers and their spouses get an extension on their licenses while serving outside of California.  The license remains in full effect for the duration of the time the officer is out of state.  Upon their return to California, the officer will have 30 days to renew the license.  

“Our commissioned Foreign Service Officers are serving our country around the world and should receive many of the same benefits as our military heroes in uniform,” said California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis.  “As a former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, I welcome this legislation that will eliminate the bureaucratic hassle our diplomats and their families must currently endure when renewing driver’s licenses while serving overseas.”

Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany John Emerson and former Ambassador to New Zealand David Huebner also support the bill.

Senator Wieckowski introduced SB 267 after being contacted by a constituent who is a Foreign Service Officer currently serving abroad. The officer described the necessity of maintaining a valid license while serving and the difficulties of keeping it up-to-date.

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th District, which includes parts of Alameda and Santa Clara counties.