Driver License Information

International students in the U.S. may want the option of purchasing or renting a personal vehicle during their stay. This is a common need if your you don’t live in an area served by public transit and if your personal finances permit. To legally drive in the U.S. you will need a driver’s license (DL) issued by the U.S. state you live in. A state issued DL or Georgia ID Care are also the most common forms of personal identification. For more information, please see below.

Please be sure to review the Georgia Department of Driver Services website Drivers from Other Nations for more information regarding the use of a Foreign License.

An international student IS NOT REQUIRED to have a Georgia Driver's license if :

  1. you have a valid driver’s license from your home country.
  2. you are registered for classes as a student in a school in Georgia and you have paid your tuition and fees.

If you choose not to get a Georgia DL, your automobile insurance cost will be higher if you rent a car or try to purchase a car with a DL from another state. Also, many police officers may not be aware of this legal exemption for international students. Because of these risks, ISSS recommends that you get a Georgia license. However, if you choose to drive using your international license, please have the following items always in your possession:

An identification card contains the same personal information, photo, signature, and special protection against alteration and fraud as a driver’s license. It is issued at the same Centers that issue driver’s licenses and looks very similar to a driver’s license. Go to the Department of Driver Services (DDS) website to find the most convenient location for you.

To obtain a State of Georgia ID, take the following documents with you:

  • Unexpired passport
  • Unexpired visa
  • I-94 card
  • I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1)
  • 2 documents showing proof of local residence, such as a signed lease agreement, a utility bill or a bank statement (all must have your printed name and local address—each must be issued within the last 60 days)
  • $20 cash
  • Social Security Card (Your SSN will be verified if you do not have the original SSN card.)
    • NOTE: For those driver’s who are not citizens and not authorized to work in the United States, you will need to obtain a Form SSA-L676 'SSN CARD DENIAL NOTICE' from a local SSA office before visiting a DDS Customer Service Center to apply for a driver's license. You may contact the SSA at (800) 772-1213 or visit their website and select 'field office locator' to find the SSA office nearest you. Form SSAL676 is not available from the web site. After obtaining the form, please bring it to the Customer Service Center when you apply for your driver's license or identification card. In addition to the form, please remember to bring your valid passport and valid I-94, and proof of Georgia residency.

Please be sure to review the Georgia Department of Driver Services website Information for Non-US Citizens for more information on obtaining a Georgia Driver License

You may make an appointment at the South DeKalb Mall, Marietta, Lithonia, and Lawrenceville Centers by calling (678)413-8500 and selecting option 3. Other Centers will provide the service but do not accept appointments.

Take the following documents with you:

  • Unexpired passport
  • Unexpired visa
  • I-94 card
  • I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1)
  • 2 documents showing proof of local residence, such as a signed lease agreement, a utility bill or a bank statement (all must have your printed name and local address—each must be issued within the last 60 days)
  • $20 cash
  • Social Security Card (Your SSN will be verified if you do not have the original SSN card.)
    • NOTE: For those driver’s who are not citizens and not authorized to work in the United States, you will need to obtain a Form SSA-L676 'SSN CARD DENIAL NOTICE' from a local SSA office before visiting a DDS Customer Service Center to apply for a driver's license. You may contact the SSA at (800) 772-1213 or visit their website and select 'field office locator' to find the SSA office nearest you. Form SSAL676 is not available from the web site. After obtaining the form, please bring it to the Customer Service Center when you apply for your driver's license or identification card. In addition to the form, please remember to bring your valid passport and valid I-94, and proof of Georgia residency.

All driver’s license applicants must pass a written test, road test, and vision exam. See this website for additional information.

Go to the Department of Driver Services (DDS) website to find the most convenient location for you. All locations are open Tuesday-Saturday from 9am to 5pm. Note that they are closed on Mondays. Tuesdays are normally the busiest day. The closest Driver’s License Customer Service Center to downtown is the South DeKalb Center located at 2801 Candler Road, Decatur, GA 30034.