The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department released a Fact Sheet to provide F, M or J nonimmigrants and their respective school/program officials with basic information on obtaining a driver’s license or a state identification card (ID). Because each state has unique requirements and processes, nonimmigrants should familiarize themselves with the regulations, policies and other applicable information of the state where they reside. The Fact Sheet lists links to Web sites for each state’s department of motor vehicles office.

Any F, M, or J nonimmigrant may apply for a driver’s license or ID as long as he or she is in lawful status and presents the necessary supporting documents required to verify legal presence in the United States. Before applying for a state driver’s license or ID, a nonimmigrant student or exchange visitor should do the following:

  • Become aware of the appropriate state requirements.
  • Contact a designated school official (DSO) or responsible officer (RO) as applicable. The DSO or RO will provide guidance and assist in familiarizing the nonimmigrant with the expectations of the DMV, as well as explain the general process for obtaining a driver’s license or ID.
  • Wait a minimum of 10 calendar days from the date of entry into the United States before applying for a driver’s license or ID.

The information below is a summary of the Fact Sheet. Please refer directly to the Fact Sheet for more detailed information.