Obtaining a U.S. Driver's License

Vermont

As an international  student or scholar, you may legally drive on the roads of the State of Vermont for up to one year from your date of arrival if you have an International Driving Permit AND a valid home country license AND if you are from one of the designated countries or territories.  A valid home country license is limited to a licensed driver who is at least 18 years old and limited to a vehicle of the type covered by the license.  For detailed information and to access the list of designated countries, please visit http://dmv.vermont.gov/licenses/Drivers/Foreign.

Applying for a Vermont Driver's License

International students and scholars can apply for a Vermont driver's license through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV has a mobile office in Middlebury on certain days of the week at the Addison County Court House (behind Shaw's grocery store).  If this is your first U.S. Driver's license, you will need to take three tests:

  1. a written test
  2. a driving test
  3. a vision test

(Canadian Citizens may turn in their Canadian license for a Vermont license with only the eye test.)

You will need access to a car to take the driving test; if you do not own a car you will need to borrow one.

Please be aware that you cannot take the written test and the driving test on the same day, so you will need to visit the DMV twice to take all of the required tests. You should therefore plan to allow at least two weeks to obtain your Vermont Driver's License.

You should call or email the DMV to schedule an appointment for a written and driving test. Contact information, hours and location for the DMV in Middlebury are listed at:

http://dmv.vermont.gov/locations/Middlebury

To access online services, click here.

Learning How to Drive

You might consider learning how to drive by enrolling in the services of a local driving school: http://dmv.vermont.gov/licenses/driver-training/driver-training-schools

Prepare for a written exam in advance by using the Driving Training Manual. A printed version should be available at any DMV office, or check out an online version at http://dmv.vermont.gov/licenses/driver-training.

Students

When you go to the DMV, you will need to present your current Form I-20 with a valid signature on page 2, passport, F-1 visa as applicable and I-94 record (Your I-94 record can be printed from this website:  https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home). In addition, you will need proof of a Social Security Number (SSN) or documentation from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you are not eligible for one. To obtain this documentation, visit any SSA in person. There are two SSA locations in Vermont: Burlington and Rutland. For more information, visit http://dmv.vermont.gov/licenses/identity-documents/social-security-number.

Renewing Your License
You must show the DMV that you have proof of lawful presence with at least 30 days remaining in your academic program in order for them to renew your driver’s license. Prior to graduation, you can demonstrate this by presenting your current Form I-20 with a valid program end date on page one. Seniors: if you have applied for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), the OPT recommendation on page 2 of your Form I-20 is not sufficient to demonstrate this lawful presence requirement as it is simply a recommendation – not proof of an approval by USCIS. You must show your employment authorization card once it arrives, and your license renewal will be based on the approved end date of your OPT as listed on the card.

Scholars

When you go to the DMV, you will need to present your Form DS-2019 or Form I-797, passport, and I-94 (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home). In addition, you will need proof of a Social Security Number (SSN).

California

The State of California does not recognize an International Driving Permit (IDP) as a valid driver's license.  However, California does recognize a valid driver's license that is issued by a foreign jurisdiction (country, state, or territory) of which the license holder is a resident.

If you are an international scholar who is planning to drive a car, you must apply for a California driver's license.  It is important to note that your home country's valid driver's license is acceptable only if you are on a temporary visitor/tourist status.

Most motor vehicle purchases and the procurement of motor vehicle insurance will require that you hold a valid California Driver's license

For detailed information on how to apply for a California driver’s license or state ID card, please visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website.

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

Service Building - Second Floor
84 South Service Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
P: 802 443-5858
F: 802 443-2063
isss@middlebury.edu