DMV/Driving in the US
The "DMV," or Department of Motor Vehicles, is the agency in charge of automobile regulations and policies. The DMV issues driving permits, driving licenses, vehicle registrations, and also requires annual vehicle inspections. The DMV is a state agency, meaning that each state in the U.S. has a different DMV.
If you have a valid license from another country, you may drive in the United States, however it is recommended that you get a translated license if it is in a language other than English. However, if you wish to purchase a car you will need a NYS driver's license. A driver's license takes time to obtain; students should be prepared for the process to take six months or more.
If a student just needs a state-issued ID but not a driver's license, the DMV can provide this as well.
Students do not need a SSN (Social Security Number) to obtain a driver's license. If you do not have a SSN, you must get a "letter of ineligibility" from the Social Security Administration in downtown Albany. The Social Security Administration will need to see your passport, visa, I-20 or DS-2019, I-94, and an enrollment verification form, which you can request from the Registrar through MyUAlbany. If you are on an authorized reduced course load for the semester please speak to ISSS for a special letter.
For a PDF explaining how to obtain a driving license in NYS, and other information for driver's from other nations, please click here.
Please be aware that snowstorms are common in upstate New York, and students should be cautious or avoid traveling if road conditions are bad. Please review the DMV's section on driving during the winter, here.
Additionally, as an international student be aware that you are responsible for following any laws or regulations related to driving. Serious offenses can impact your immigration status and your health and safety, such as DUI/DWI (Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated by alcohol or other drugs).