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  Immigration Information - Obtaining a Drivers License

Obtaining a  VA Driver's License or State ID Card

If you are a non-resident temporarily living in Virginia, you may drive with your home state or country driver's license and license plates no more than six months.

To apply for a Virginia driver's license, learner's permit, or state identification card, you must present to the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of two identification documents, one proof of legal presence, one proof of Virginia residency, and proof of social security number (if you have been issued one).

Documents submitted as proofs of identity must show your full legal name and date of birth. For a complete and updated list of documents accepted by the DMV, please visit the DMV website.

Resources:

Which documents most commonly serve as primary proofs of identity for international students?

  • Unexpired passport with an expired or unexpired visa and I-94 card
  • Unexpired Employment Authorization Card (EAD or “OPT” card)
  • Unexpired driver's license or learner's permit from another U.S. state, jurisdiction or territory,
  • or expired/unexpired driver's license or learner's permit from the State of Virginia

What are some documents that are acceptable secondary proofs of identity?

  • Certified copy of school records/transcript
  • I-20 Form
  • Employment Authorization Card (EAD or “OPT” card)
  • Health insurance card or
  • policy with birth date
  • Unexpired driver's license or
  • learner's permit from another U.S. state, jurisdiction or territory, or
  • expired/unexpired driver's license or learner's permit from the State of Virginia
  • Marriage license issued by a U.S. state, jurisdiction, territory, or municipality

What are some documents that are acceptable to prove legal presence?

  • Unexpired Employment Authorization Card (EAD or “OPT” card)
  • An unexpired passport with an expired or unexpired visa, I-94 card and I-20 form

What are some documents that are acceptable as proof of Virginia residency?

  • Original monthly bank statement no more than 2 months old
  • Certified transcript from an accredited U.S. school
  • Residential lease agreement
  • Utility bill with the applicant's name and address no more than 2 months old
  • IRS W-2 no more than 8 months old
  • Payroll stub issued within 2 months of application

What if I am turned away or am unable to provide all the necessary documents?

F-1 students should be able to obtain a license or ID by presenting their visa, passport, I-94 card, I-20 form, and proof of Virginia residency. If the DMV personnel asks for another document or otherwise refuses to accept the documentation you provide, politely ask for their name and visit the Office of International Student & Scholar Services or call the office from the DMV. We may be able to resolve the matter quickly.

If you do not have all the documentation required or if other discrepancies exist, then a letter must be submitted to the DMV’s central Richmond office along with photocopies of other items of identification for individual approval prior to making application at the local DMV office.

If this is your situation, bring the following to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services:

  • Unexpired passport, visa, and I-94 card
  • Unexpired SEVIS I-20
  • Proof of Virginia Residency from list
  • Social Security Card (if you have one)
  • Any other document(s) that can verify identity, such as your NSU ID card, national identification card issued by your home country, a driver’s license from another country, an international driver’s license, or a copy of your current class schedule

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services will send the documents to the Richmond office for review and notify you once a response in the form of a letter is received.

If approved, the letter will provide you with guidelines to follow about how to proceed in applying for your license/state ID.