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Eligibility requirements for F-1 and J-1 students obtaining a driver's license or state I.D. in Penn

First-time licenses in the U.S.

International students who have never had a driver's license from any state in the United States or a state ID must provide the following:

For first-time Pennsylvania ID requests, collect items 1 - 5 and take to the Pennsylvania Driver's License Center.

For first-time Pennsylvania driver's license requests, collect items 1 - 6 and take to the Pennsylvania Driver's License Center.

  1. DISSA Letter:  A Driver's License/State ID letter from the Directorate of International Student and Scholar Advising (DISSA) confirming the student's enrollment in classes at Penn State requested in iStart.
  2. Documents:  Passport, visa, and I-94 card. (It does not matter if the visa in your passport has expired.)
  3. Valid I-20 or DS-2019:  The student's I-20 for those in F status or the student's DS-2019 for those in J status. Students must have at least eleven months (preferably 12 months or more) left before the completion date in section 5 of the I-20 or the end date in section 3 of the DS-2019 in order to qualify for an initial driver's license.  
  4. Proof of residing in Pennsylvania: Two documents showing where you live. Preferred documents include leases, housing contracts or mortgage papers; utility bills; local bank statement; and W-2 tax forms. However, when students don't have two of these, the Driver's License Office has been willing to accept other documents, such as a letter from the University Housing Office mailed to their on-campus residence.
  5. Social Security Card or Letter of Ineligibility: Social Security Card if you are eligible for a Social Security Number. Students who do not qualify for a Social Security Number must obtain a letter from the Social Security Office stating that ineligibility for one. The Driver's License Office will then use the Admission number on the I-94. 
  6. Physical or Health Exam: Students at can get a physical exam at the Student Health Center.  The campus doctor is on campus every other Wednesday 11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. To make an appointment with the campus doctor, please contact Nurse Barb Kugel at 724-775-3955

Pennsylvania license renewals

A Pennsylvania Driver's license can be renewed until the end date on the I-20 or DS-2019 even if it is less than one year.  PennDOT will include the grace period (60 days for the F-1 and 30 days for the J-1).  Take items 1 - 3 to the DMV.

Transfer of another state license to a Pennsylvania license or ID

Students must take items 1 - 5 above to the DMV plus license.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Students on OPT must take the EAD for all requests:  for new licenses take items 1 - 6 ; for transferring from another state license to a Pennsylvania license take items 1 - 5; or for renewing the Pennsylvania license take items 1 - 3.

International driving permit

Students who do not qualify for a Pennsylvania Driver's license can drive for one year if they have a valid foreign driver's license and an international driving permit.

Driver's training

Students interested in driver's training may do so at their own expense.  KDT Driver's Training offers private lessons.  Students must obtain their learners permit before contacting KDT to start lessons.  Each lesson is 1.5 hours at a rate of $88 per lesson.  You may take as many or as few lessons as you want. 

KDT will take students to complete the driver's test, but the student must first complete a minimum of 1 lesson with KDT first. The driver's test is a 2 hour session which includes 1 hour of practice prior to the test.  This is $98.  To schedule the test, students must contact KDT directly to ensure that a driver/car is available.

KDT Driver's Training


Driver's License Center

2580 Constitution Blvd.
Beaver Falls, PA  15010

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.