How to get driving license in USA for international students

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How to get driving license in USA for international students– There may be many questions in your head, like how long it takes to get a driver’s licence, what papers you need, and many more. Have patience; in this article, we are going to answer all your questions on how to get driving license in USA for international students. Having a USA driving license can make a lot of difference in your life, and you can have easier access to transportation. Driving skills can help you save a lot of time when you wait at the station or want to visit any place or even at your friend’s place.

How to get driving license in USA for international students

In this article, we are going to help you know the driver’s license requirements which the Department of Motor Vehicles(DMV) or Registry of Motor Vehicles(RMV) have in order to issue international driver’s licenses in the USA. Let’s start with how to get driving license in USA for International students.

The USA is a big country, and every state has different requirements on how to get driving license in USA for International students. Let’s begin with the article, which will mainly be based on where to find all the state license information.

What are the International Student Driver’s License Requirements?

Is it possible for International students to get a driver’s license in USA?

Damn, Yes. You can get your driver’s license.

Firstly, you must start talking to your designated school official or campus advisor. They can give you the correct information on getting the license in that state, how to proceed with your application and other necessary steps. The DSO will also clarify any questions or doubts related to your eligibility for the driving license, such as “How to get a driving license in the USA for international students”, “Can F-1 Students get a driving license in the USA?” and many more. 

The one possible thing that differs from one state to another is the application process to get an international driver’s license.

Some states in the USA accept driving license from specific foreign countries which depends where are you from, you may be able to drive in USA with the foreign license you have from your respective country. If you have a license from your country, you may not need to take the written and driving tests. Also, some states require a Social Security Number (SSN) to issue an international driver’s license in the USA.

When planning to apply for an international student driver’s license, you must keep your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SELVIS) active. It may take up to 10 days after arriving in the US to update your SELVIS status. After that, it may take up to two business days to update your SELVIS status to “active” in the local system. You must remain patient after your arrival and wait at least two weeks to get your international driver’s permit to avoid rejection of applications.

What are the documents required to get a driver’s license?

The DMVs will need specific information – you can ask your campus advisor for the papers to apply for an international driver’s permit. As you know, different states and territories have other driver’s license requirements. Furthermore, the campus advisor will be well-versed in the new developments.

The first and most important thing is to prove that you are an international student in the United States. You may have to submit some documents such as ID verification, proof of address, immigration forms, admission forms, etc. These documents change from state to state; however, sometimes, they are common. Let’s have a look:

  • Form I-94

The Form I-94 is from the US Customs Office and shows a record of your travel history. The DMV will issue the license depending on how you plan to stay in USA.

  • Signed Versions of Form I-20

The I-20 form shows your eligibility for a driver’s license, which depends on your status as a “non-immigrant student”.

  • Residential Proof

As each state issues its driver’s license, the local DMV official will see your current availability in the city where you can get the driver’s license. You can show any one of the following as your proof of residence:

  • Bank Statement
  • Lease or Rental Agreements
  • University Admission Proof
  • Insurance Document
  • Official mail address showing your local address

You can also check the local DMV’s website to understand the exact document requirements for the site where you are studying in your respective university.

  • An unexpired Foreign Passport and a recent US Student Visa are required for identification verification. (If you come from a Visa-exempt country, then you do not need to provide one)
  • Social Security card or Form SSA-L676, which must state Social Security ineligibility – You can check DMV’s website to see whether the state needs a Social Security Number.
  • DL-1/93- School enrollment form verifying your application and admission status.
  • Form I-766 – If you are on Optional Practical Training (OPT), the DMV will use a number to verify your status on the Employment Authorization Document.

Furthermore, there will likely be fees associated with the license. You can find the updated fee information on your local DMV website. 

Find DMV or RMV in your nearby

For further paperwork and other requirements, you have to obtain a US driver’s license by contacting the DMV in the state. The officials can help you confirm your driver’s license eligibility. You can check DMV and RMV branches for international-friendly universities. Here are some universities in USA without application fee.

Confirm your information

Double-checking your essential documents is important. You can refer to the following information:

  • The status of your SELVIS is active or not
  • The spelling of your name in all the documents
  • Your date of birth in all the documents

If you notice any error, you can contact your campus advisor to learn how to change it before applying for your driver’s license. The right information will not waste your time and delay your application. When all your document verification is done, you can apply for your driver’s license as an international student.

Reaching the Nearest DMV

Ask your campus advisor to find a local DMV station. When you reach to the DMV station, then:

  • Verification of all the required documents
  • Applying for your driver’s license
  • Giving written and driver’s tests (if needed)
  • Registering your car

You must visit the DMV a few minutes before they open to avoid standing up in the waiting queue. Some DMVs post their wait times on their website or application; you can check whether your DMV has one. 

If you wear glasses, get them with you; they may ask you to give a vision test.

Practice with Instructor

If you are a first-time driver, you may get delayed in getting your license immediately. This will allow you to drive with some restrictions. 

If you are an experienced driver, familiarize yourself with the US driving laws or drive on the right side of the road. You can practice driving with your local friend or instructor who can help you practice this.

The DMV can issue a temporary license after your written test. Before you start your driving permit, after your written test, you can review the documentation of your permit and ensure all the requirements are met.

The issue of your driver’s license will also take time and vary depending on the state. In some DMVs, you can also issue a temporary license on the day you have applied for the license. You can use this until your driver’s license arrives via mail after one or two weeks.

At first, you can feel that getting a driver’s license in the US seems challenging; however, with proper documentation and guidance, you will be ready to get your driver’s license. I hope that in this article you understand how international students can get a driver’s license in the USA.

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Vipin Rana

My role involves supporting student recruitment for USA globally, establishing solid relationships with channel partners, and Student counselling. The most exciting part of my role is, having the opportunity to assist the students in fulfilling their educational and career goals. Working with SMS makes me proud as I work with a fantastic set of people across the globe.

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