Social Security laws and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) laws often change. You may find a lack of consistency in information and the experience of applying for a driver's license or Social Security Card can take more time than you expect.
Please note that if you are requested to show proof of a social security number at the DMV you must inform them that you are an international student. A social security number is not necessary for a driver’s license. You do however need to bring with you the following: a) your I-20, b) your I-94, c) your passport.
1. Make an appointment for the written test. You can take a practice test and make appointments online at www.dmv.ca.gov. In addition, you may call 800-777-0133 for further information.
2. Take all immigration documents (I-94, I-20, passport) when you go for your written test. The fee is $25.00 cash. DMV does not accept credit cards, ATMs or checks.
3. After passing the written test, you will be given a temporary driver's license. You have one more test to take. This is the actual driving test. DMV will give you this information and you have to return for a second test. This driving test is with an authorized DMV examiner who will be in the car with you to determine your safety and driving skills.
Keep in mind that all drivers, international or American, must have liability insurance for their cars. It is required by law. If you have a new or valuable automobile, you should get additional coverage. It will be expensive because you are a non-immigrant and a new driver in California.
Go to DMV for the office closest to your home.