Driver's License

International students and scholars will be able to apply for a driver’s license after arriving in the US and after completing check in with the Office of International Students and Scholars.

Documents Required by the DMV

For Students, Exchange Visitors, Scholars, and Dependents

There are several documents that international students, exchange visitors, scholars, and dependents must show in order to obtain a driver’s license. Some of these documents are specific to the applicant’s visa status while others are applicable for all statuses.

F-1 and F-2 Visa Holders
  • Valid Passport
  • Valid F visa
    • Canadian students and dependents will not have a visa stamp in their passport.
  • Signed “Continued Attendance” I-20
  • Most Recent I-94
    • Sometimes this is the I-797A Approval Notice if the application changed status in the US.
  • EAD card
    • If the student is on OPT
  • Any additional documents required by the DMV
J-1 and J-2 Visa Holders
  • Valid Passport
  • Valid J visa
    • Canadian exchange visitors and dependents will not have a visa stamp in their passport.
  • Signed DS-2019
    • It can take up to 2 weeks before the validated DS-2019 is registered in the DMV’s system.
  • Most recent I-94
    • Sometimes this is the I-797A Approval Notice if the applicant changed status in the US.
  • Any additional documents required by the DMV
H-1B and H-4 Visa Holders
  • Valid Passport
  • Valid H visa
    • Canadian scholars and dependents will not have a visa stamp in their passport.
  • I-797A Approval Notice
  • Offer letter
  • Most recent I-94
    • Sometimes this is the I-797A Approval Notice if the applicant changed status in the US.
  • Any additional documents required by the DMV

Note: You do not need a Social Security Number to apply for a driver’s license.

All dependents must submit their documents along with the primary visa holder.

It can take up to two weeks before the “Continued Attendance” I-20 or validated DS-2019 is registered in the DMV’s system.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will the license be valid?

For F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors, many states issue a driver’s license that is valid until the program end date listed on the Form I-20 or DS-2019. US immigration allows a 60-day grace period for F-1 students or a 30-day grace period for J-1 exchange visitors to remain in the country after this end date, but not every DMV adds the 60-day or 30-day period after the program end date to the driver’s license.

If the passport or visa expires before the program end date on the I-20 or DS-2019, driver’s license expiry date should still match the program end date since F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors are allowed to remain in the US until that date. (Nonimmigrants in these visa categories only need to have a valid visa when travelling to and from the US internationally and only need to renew their passport 6 months before it expires.)

For H-1B scholars, the driver’s license will be valid only for the period listed on the I-797A Approval Notice and/or H-1B visa.

What if the passport has an error?

The student, exchange visitor, scholar, and/or dependent will need to consult their home country’s embassy or consulate to find out how to correct, update, or renew the passport. Most embassies and consulates have a website with information regarding this issue.

What if the I-94 has an error?

Contact your International Advisor.