How to Obtain a Driver's License
International students may drive with both a license from their country of origin and an International Driver's License for 90 days in the US before they have to obtain a driver's license issued by the state of residence.
A Florida driver's license or a State of Florida identification card can be obtained at any Department of Motor Vehicles office.
All customers - regardless of their citizenship status - may go to any Division of Driver's Licenses office in Florida to apply for a new driver's license or State of Florida identification card.
Driver's licenses are issued for one year at a time, renewable until the end of the student's program. F-1 students who have completed a course of study or optional practical training can be granted a license for an additional 60-day period to allow them to prepare for departure or to process a transfer.
Dependents of F-1 (i.e. dependents in F-2) are allowed the same period of driver's license validity as the F-1 students.
For first-time issuance of a State of Florida driver's license or identification card, Florida law requires the following items from students in F-1 or J-1 status:
- Passport; and
- Proof of non-immigrant classification provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Form I-94); and
- F-1 status documentation (Form I-20); and
- Two original proofs of residence (cell phone bills, utility bills, official, original transcripts from FSW, apartment lease). Students who live on campus will need to obtain proof of residence from the Department of Housing and Residential Life. Also, any official letter, for example a bank letter or letter from FSW sent to your on-campus address will suffice as proof of residence. If living with parent, the parent must sign a statement (available at the local DMV office) and provide proof of residence (one in the parent’s name and one in the student’s name); and
- SSN cards if one has been issued.
It is recommended that you take your foreign driver's license, if one has been issued. You may be exempt from the otherwise mandatory drug and alcohol traffic education course, the driving test, or parts of it. Complete information on the required tests and a link to the driver's manual can be found at http://www.dmvflorida.org/driving-test.shtml
You are strongly advised to make an appointment. If you go without an appointment, expect a four to six hour wait for your turn. To schedule an appointment and for the most up-to-date information on driver's license requirements, check the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles' website: http://www.hsmv.state.fl.us