How to Obtain a US Driver's License for International Students
How to Obtain a US Driver's License for International Students
Learning the driver’s license process for international students in the United States can open up a lot of new opportunities. Driving saves time and energy, and it can improve prospects for social life, travel, and many other important aspects of life.

How to Obtain a US Driver's License for International Students

What is the average time it takes to obtain a driver's license? What documents are required to obtain a driver's license in the United States? Find out the answers to these and other questions.

What Do I Need In Order To Obtain A Driver's License?

Obtaining a driver's license in the United States can make life a little easier for overseas students. Driving a car allows you to do things like do errands, explore your new house, and go places with friends.


In the United States, you can get a driver's license from your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). Every state has its own set of regulations for obtaining a driver's license, but this guide will teach you the basics and point you in the right direction for state license information.

Consult With Your Campus Advisor.

Your campus adviser can assist you in learning all you need to know about obtaining a driver's license. They know how to apply for a driver's license and can show you how to acquire all of the necessary information. Taking the time to speak with your advisor before applying for a US driver's license can make the process go much more smoothly.


Driving in the United States with a foreign license is possible depending on where you are from. If you are a seasoned driver, check with your advisor to see if your license is valid in the United States.

After You Arrive, Wait At Least Two Weeks.

You may be eager to receive your new driver's license as soon as you arrive in the United States, but wait. Your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record must be active before you may apply for a state license as an international student. It can take up to ten days for your SEVIS status to update once you arrive in the United States. Local systems may take another two business days to update with your Active status after that.


As a result, if you seek a US driver's license too soon, you will be denied. These systems will have time to update if you wait at least two weeks.

Obtain The Required Documentation

What Documents Am I Required To Obtain My Driver's License?

You must demonstrate that you are an international student studying in the United States in order to obtain your non-US citizen driver's license. The following documentation should be available to you:


  • Your valid foreign passport with the necessary entry stamps for the United States.

  • Your I-20 form

  • Two documents to prove your residency in the state–for example, a utility bill or a bank statement

  • Your Social Security number or a letter from the Social Security Administration declaring that you are ineligible.

  • Your school enrollment form (DL-1/93)

  • A US visa and supporting documentation that are all valid for at least 160 days are required.

  • I-94 form

  • Money to cover any possible fees

Find A DMV Or RMV Near You.

Contact the DMV in the state where you are studying for more information on paperwork and other requirements for a US driver's license. Many international-friendly colleges have links to their state DMV or RMV locations in the list below.

Where Do I Get My US Driver’s License?

  • Adelphi University

    • New York Department of Motor Vehicles


  • American University or American Collegiate Washington DC

    • Washington, D.C., Department of Motor Vehicles


  • American Collegiate Los Angeles or University of the Pacific

    • California Department of Motor Vehicles


  • Auburn University or Auburn University at Montgomery

    • Alabama Law Enforcement Driver License Department


  • Cleveland State University or University of Dayton

    • State of Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles

  • Florida International University or University of Central Florida

    • Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles


  • Louisiana State University

    • Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicle


  • University of Kansas

    • Kansas Department of Revenue Division of Motor Vehicles


  • University of Illinois at Chicago

    • Office of the Illinois Secretary of State-Driver Services


  • University of Massachusetts Boston

    • Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles


  • University of Mississippi

    • Driver Self-Service Portal of Mississippi


  • University of South Carolina

    • South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles


  • University of Utah

    • Utah Division of Motor Vehicles

Make Sure Your Information Is Correct.

Make sure all of your important documents are consistent by double-checking them. Check out the following details:


  • Your SEVIS status is active.

  • All of your paperwork has your name spelled correctly.

  • Your date of birth appears on all of your paperwork.


If you find any problems or discrepancies, speak with your university counselor about how to correct them before applying for a driver's license in the United States. Inconsistent data can cause your application to be delayed. Before you apply, double-check that all of the information is right. This will save you time.

Go To The DMV That Is Closest To You.

Find your local DMV station by asking your advisor or using the links in the list above. When you go to the DMV, you'll be able to:


  • Make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork.

  • Make an application for your driver's license.

  • Take the written and driving tests (if needed)

  • Register your vehicle.


To prevent having to wait in line for a lengthy time, try to arrive at the DMV a few minutes before they open in the morning. Some DMVs even publish wait times on their website or mobile app so you can see how busy they are on the day you plan to visit.


Remember to bring your glasses or contacts to the DMV if you wear them. You may be requested to take a vision exam as a new driver.

Invite A Friend From The United States To Practise With You.

It's possible that you won't acquire your driver's license straight immediately if you're a first-time driver. Instead, after passing a written test, the DMV may award you a driver's license. This gives you the ability to drive with some limitations.


Review the papers accompanying your permit before beginning your driver's training in the United States to ensure that you meet all requirements. You can practise driving at a local driving school. Find one in your neighborhood by speaking with your college counselor.


What is the average time it takes to obtain a driver's license? On the day you apply, certain DMVs will grant you a temporary driver's license. After a week or two, your driver's license card should arrive in the mail, but you can drive with the temporary driver's license until then.


Finally, if you are unfamiliar with driving on the right side of the road, it may be beneficial to practise with an American friend. It will help you enhance your driving skills—as well as your friendship!

So if you have any confusion or questions regarding anything, we are here to help you. So don’t wait up, get in touch today with ITPathFinder and get answers to all your questions.