Driver's License

While you may drive legally in the U.S. using a valid driver's license from your home country, it is recommended that international scholars obtain a California Driver’s License. A California Driver's License is also required when purchasing a car and obtaining car insurance. The State of California does not recognize an International Driving Permit (IDP) as a valid driver's license.

California Driver’s License and California Identification Card

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website outlines the process of obtaining a California Driver’s License. The application process includes a written test and driving skills test administered by the DMV. The California Driver’s Handbook is an indispensible resource when preparing for these tests. Samples of written tests are also available online for reference.

International scholars who do not drive but still need a valid form of identificaton issued in the U.S. are able to obtain a California Identification (ID) card. The DMV website offers detailed guidelines on obtaining an ID card.

Applying for a Driver's License or California ID at the DMV

Take the following documents to the DMV when applying:

  1. Valid passport
  2. I-94 Arrival/Departure record
  3. I-20/DS-2019

We strongly recommend that scholars visit the DMV office closest to USC, as the staff there are more familiar with USC scholars and students.

For scholars at the University Park Campus, the closest DMV office is at the following address (click on address for map):

3615 S. Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA 90007

For scholars at the University Park Campus, the closest DMV office is at the following address (click on address for map):

3529 N. Mission Rd.
Los Angeles, CA 90031

We recommend that you make an appointment before visiting the DMV, as wait times tend to be very long. Vist the Califoria DMV website to schedule an appointment.