Getting a Driver's License
One of the first things many new international students want to do after entering the United States is to get a driver's license. Like many things, however, correct timing is everything.
Important notes for applying for a driver's license (DL):
- You must wait 10 days after you arrive in the United States before applying. You may want to apply for a DL right away, but be patient. The 10-day wait allows time for all the government databases to be updated with your arrival information, which is necessary for you to be able to apply.
- Make sure your record in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is up-to-date and in Active status. SEVIS is the database that contains information for all F, M, and J nonimmigrants in the U.S. The International Programs Office must place your record in Active status when you report to the school or program. Check with IPO before you apply for a license to make sure your record is Active in SEVIS. If your record is not Active when you apply, your application will be rejected.
- After IPO activates your record in SEVIS, you should wait at least 2 business days before you apply for your DL. This gives all the databases time to update with your new information.
- Bring all your paperwork. When you go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you will need the following paperwork:
Always talk with the International Programs Office before you apply.
Canadian students with a valid Canadian driver's license can drive in the U.S. with their Canadian License.