USCIS has recently provided new guidelines for F Visa-holders (full time students), M Visa-holders (vocational training students), and J-Visa holders (exchange student visitors) to qualify for driverís license or state identification cards. If you are currently on an F, M, or J visa, you would be eligible for a driverís license or state ID card if:
- Your record in Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS) is in active status and you waited at least two business days from the activation date;
- You wait at least 10 calendar days from the date of entry into the US to apply for the driverís license or state ID card; and
- Depending on state regulations, you may need to have at least six months left on your eligibility for nonimmigrant status.
States are expected to verify this information through the SAVE program. The SAVE program is an intergovernmental database that will allow various state authorities to check a benefitís immigration status against DHS databases.
If an individual on an F, M, or J visa wishes to apply for a driverís license or state identification card they should bring the following things with them to the DMV:
- Their valid passport with visa
- Their I-94, ďArrival/Departure RecordĒ
- Form I-20 for an F or M immigrant
- Form DS-2019 for a J nonimmigrant
- Form I-766 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) if applicable
- Form I-797 or I-797A Notice of Action if there was a change of status
- Their Social Security Number or if they lack a Social Security Number Form SSA-L676 Refusal to Process SSN Application
Additionally, accompanying dependents are also eligible for driverís licenses or state ID if they present supporting personal status documentation and the status documentation of the primary visa holder.
Danielle Beach-Oswald is the current President and Managing Partner of Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates in Washington, DC. Ms. Beach utilizes her 19 years of experience in immigration law to help individuals immigrate to the United States for humanitarian reasons. Born in Brussels, Belgium, Ms. Beach has lived in England, Belgium, Italy and Ivory Coast and has traveled extensively to many countries. Ms. Beach advocates for clients from around the world who seek freedom from torture in their country, or who are victims of domestic violence and trafficking. She has also represented her clients at U.S. Consulates in Romania, China, Canada, Mexico, and several African countries. With her extensive experience in family-based and employment-based immigration law Ms. Beach not only assists her clients in obtaining a better standard of living in the United States, she also helps employers obtain professional visas, and petitions for family members. She also handles many complex naturalization issues. Ms. Beach has unique expertise representing clients in immigration matters pending before the Federal District Courts, Circuit Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals and Immigration Courts. She has won over 400 humanitarian cases in the United States. Her firm's website is www.boilapc.com.