Driving as an International Student

To drive in California, you will need to apply for a driver's license. California does not recognize an International Driving Permit.

Getting a California Driver's License

Eligibility

  • All international students over the age of 18
  • Completed the SEVIS Check-In process upon arrival
  • Apply 30 days after the I-20/DS-2019 program start date

How to apply

Step 1: SEVIS check-in

You should have completed your SEVIS Check-in process during the International Programs orientation. If not, please schedule an appointment with the International Programs office.

Step 2: Make an appointment

Make an appointment online with California Deptartment of Motorized Vehicles (DMV).

Step 3: Complete driver's license application

Follow the process outlined on the Department of Motor Vehicle's webiste

Step 4: At the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

The DMV requires that you present the ORIGINALS of all immigration documents:

  • Passport
  • I-20 or DS-2019
    • Your passport or I-20/DS-2019 CANNOT expire less than 60 days from the date of application.
  • Printout of your I-94 Arrival/Departure record
  • Proof of residence (2 documents needed). These can be official documents that state your name and your address. Examples include: Rental or lease agreement with the signature of the owner/landlord and the tenant/resident, a utility statement, Employment documents, Medical documents, Proof of payment of resident tuition at a public institution of higher education located in California, or Change of Address Confirmation by the U.S. Postal Service (Form CNL 107).
  • Be sure to bring your driver’s license from your home country to present to the officer at the DMV as it may exempt you from the driving test.

Visiting the DMV

The closest DMV to campus is located in Seaside, CA:

  • 1180 Canyon Del Rey Blvd.
  • Seaside, CA 93955
  • Phone: (800) 777-0133

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