International Services


Driving in the United States

International students and scholars, and their dependents, may be eligible to drive a motor vehicle while residing in the United States. However, those who wish to operate a vehicle must successfully understand the driving rules and requirements and apply for and receive a driver’s license.

Know Before You Go

Driving a car without a driver’s license is illegal. To acquire a driver’s license, you must apply for one at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which can have a different name in some states. 

New York DMV New Jersey MVC

Getting a Driver’s Learning Permit

Before you can get a license, you must apply for a learner permit at the DMV office and take the written test. You can prepare by reading the specific state requirements and drivers manual and taking practice tests.

» Apply for a learner permit

In order to obtain a learner permit, you must be prepared with the following:

Drivers License Application Process

Review the appropriate state information about driving rules and regulations in your state or territory.

» Getting a driver’s license in New York

Know Before You Go: Important Information

  • You must wait 10 days after arriving in the United States and having your SEVIS record activated by your designated school official prior to applying for a driver’s license. Please confirm with International Services that your SEVIS record is inactive status by emailing
  • You must have a Social Security number (SSN), or letter from the Social Security Administration indicating you do not have a SSN in order to apply for a driver’s license.
  • Make sure you have all necessary and valid documents in order to meet your 6 points of identification.
  • Visiting and submitting the proper documentation to the DMV.

Driving in the United States

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International Services
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