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Immigration law affects Georgia real estate agents
Requirements take effect after Jan. 1
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Licensed Realtors and real estate appraisers and brokers applying to renew their Georgia licenses after Jan. 1 must comply with new rules established by Georgia’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011, according to the Georgia Real Estate Commission.

A GREC news release states that applicants for renewed licenses must provide a “secure and verifiable document” for identification purposes and a “signed and sworn affidavit” verifying the applicant’s lawful presence in the United States.

“It is a bit of a short notice, but it’s the notice we got from the state,” admitted Wanda J. Sorrells, GREC investigations area supervisor, referring to a Dec. 15 news release from the GREC. “There are about 18 different documents that can be submitted as proof the applicant is in this country legally.”

Some of the most common documents accepted as proof include a driver’s license, U.S. passport or U.S. military identification card, she said. Sorrells could not explain why a birth certificate is not listed as valid proof. The affidavit form is provided by the GREC through its website,

“It’s just an additional document you have to provide,” said Susan Strickland, broker/owner of Realty Executives Liberty, who doesn’t see the required documentation as an unreasonable requirement. “It’s just new rules we have to follow.”

Strickland, who has nearly 25 years of real-estate experience and also is an instructor for the Executive School of Real Estate, sees the new documentation requirement as an “add-on” to steps already taken by the GREC to ensure the professional competence of real estate licensees and appraisers and compliance with the new law, which took effect July 1.

She said her staff already takes careful steps to ensure home buyers or renters are U.S residents, or that they’re foreign nationals who comply with the legal requirements to purchase investment property.

According to the GREC, the following real estate-related licensees are affected by the new documentation requirements:

• All real estate salespersons, brokers and community association managers

• All appraisers

• All brokers applying for a new firm license or applying to become the qualifying broker of a firm

• All “controlling persons” for appraisal management companies

• All applicants for appraiser temporary practice permits

• All school directors and instructors

The GREC website advises applicants to supply proof documentation with each application for licensure and for each renewal. Failure to do so prior to their license renewal deadline will cause their license to lapse.

For more information about the renewal requirements, go to, call GREC Real Estate Commissioner William L. Rogers at 404-656-6704 or email 

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