How do I obtain a California Driver’s License or ID card?

International driver’s licenses are not accepted in California if you are an F-1 visa student. Police officers and highway patrol officers can give you a ticket for driving without a California driver’s license.

If you don’t plan on driving, you can apply for a California ID card to use as official ID while you’re in the U.S. Keep your passport in a safe place instead of carrying it around on a daily basis.

To get started on your application for a driver’s license or ID card, go to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) web site for information, to find DMV office locations, and to make an appointment.

First time applicants must pass both a written exam and driving test. The basic steps to apply for a driver’s license are listed below. Refer to the DMV web site or make an appointment at the local DMV office for specific details and instructions.

1. Study the CA Driver’s Manual & sample tests

2.  Obtain the Social Security Ineligibility letter (visit the Social Security Administration office in the Paseo Nuevo shopping center with your I-20, visa and passport)

3. Make an appointment with the DMV

4. Take the written test

5. Take the driving test (not required if you have a driver’s license from another U.S. state)

The basic steps to apply for a California ID card are listed below. Refer to the DMV web site or make an appointment at the local DMV office for specific details and instructions.

1. Obtain a Social Security Ineligibility letter (visit the Social Security Administration office in the Paseo Nuevo shopping center with your I-20, visa and passport)

2. Make an appointment with the DMV

3. Fill out the application, give your thumbprint, have your picture taken, and pay the fee.

Posted in: International Student Admissions