How To Get A State-Issued Identification Card, As An International Student

I bring you good news, you can get a state issued ID with a lot less challenges. It's simpler and 'lighter'.

Copy of HOME WORK (1).png

Are you still moving around with your international passport? That ship has SAILED.

Moving around with your international passport can lead to it getting lost or damaged; replacing it can also be difficult or expensive. Additionally, your international passport is one document you want to keep current and available as an international student. So the question is, what then should you carry as a form of identification?

A lot of people immediately think of a drivers license as the next best thing. However, that comes with it’s own unique challenges. For example, if you have never driven a car, or you live in an area where public transport is efficient and getting a car is unnecessary, or you don’t have anyone to teach you how to drive, etc. Some of this blockades, keep people stuck with their international passport.

I bring you good news, you can get a state issued ID with a lot less challenges. It’s simpler and ‘lighter’. Everything will not fit into one post. Today, I’ll focus on what to do ‘Before You Apply.’

Before you go to the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to apply for an identification card, you need to:

a) Talk to you Designated School Official (DSO)

A DSO is a staff of your school whose job is to help you maintain legal status throughout the duration of your stay in that institution. Ideally, they have undergone training and should be familiar with current immigration laws and policies that affect you as a student. They are also a good resource when you are trying to find easier ways to do things and can offer advice and guidance, especially from their experience with other students. In helping you get a state ID, your DSO will make sure: you have all the documents, information is accurate, and matches your states DMV requirements.You might know the right thing to do, but you need their help especially to maneuver unique situations in your respective school or state.

b) You must be in ‘ACTIVE’ status.

You have to actually be a student, to be in ‘active’ status. An exception will be when you are on Optical Practical Training (OPT); you may not be in school but your OPT is directly related to your student status, and is treated as a form of studying. Additionally, after your status has been listed by your DSO, wait about two business days for your record to be updated in the database, before you go to DMV. If you are not listed as ‘active’ on SEVIS record, you will not be successful, if you apply for an I.D.

c) Wait at least 10 days, from when you arrived in the US

I know we all thought internet will make things faster; unfortunately, not all the time. The database is dense with records of non-immigrants and it needs some time to process your data. The Department of Homeland Security advises you wait 10 days from the day you arrived in the US, before going to DMV.

d) You must have at least 6 months left on your Form I-20 or DS-2019

One month before graduation might not be a good time to apply for a state I.D. Different states will have different policies on this issue; please verify with your state’s DMV website or call their office.

This information is available here, as a long PDF file; but, I have summarized it with the important points. Feel free, to go and verify any information you find here. Next time, I will be describing the documents you need to make your trip to DMV successful.

Until we chat in the comment section,

Have a Winning Day

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email