International students who wish to drive while they're in the United States will need to obtain a Pennsylvania driver's license. If you need help, contact the Student Development Center at 724-773-3959.
Eligibility requirements for F-1 and J-1 students
First-time License or state ID in the U.S.
International students who have never had a driver's license from any state in the United States or a state ID must provide the following:
For first-time Pennsylvania ID requests, collect items 1-5 below to take to the Pennsylvania Driver's License Center.
For first-time Pennsylvania driver's license requests, collect items 1-6 below to take to the Pennsylvania Driver's License Center.
- DISSA Letter: A driver's license/state ID letter from the Directorate of International Student and Scholar Advising (DISSA), which confirms the student's enrollment in classes at Penn State. Request in iStart.
- Documents: Passport, visa, and I-94 card. It doesn't matter if the visa in your passport has expired.
- Valid I-20 or DS-2019: The student's I-20 for those in F status or the student's DS-2019 for those in J status. In order to qualify for an initial driver's license, students must have at least 11 months (preferably 12 months or more) left before the completion date in section 5 of the I-20 or the end date in section 3 of the DS-2019.
- Proof of residence in Pennsylvania: Two documents that show where you live. Preferred documents include leases, housing contracts, mortgage papers, utility bills, local bank statement(s) and W-2 tax forms. However, when students don't have two of these items, the Driver's License Office has been willing to accept other documents, such as a letter from the Penn State Housing Office, which has been mailed to the student's on-campus address/residence.
- Social Security Card or Letter of Ineligibility: Social Security card if you are eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN). Students who don't qualify for a SSN must obtain a letter from the Social Security Office stating that they are ineligible for a SSN. The Driver's License Office will then use the admission number on the I-94.
- Physical or Health Exam: Students can request to have a physical exam at the Penn State Beaver Health Center. The campus physician is on campus every other Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. during the academic year. To make an appointment with the campus doctor, please contact Nurse Barbara Kugel, Health Center director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-775-3955
Driver's License Center
The closest Pennsylvania Driver's License Center is located in Chippewa Township. The address is 2580 Constitution Boulevard, Beaver Falls, PA 15010. Phone: 724-384-1083 or 1-800-932-4600. Go to www.dot.state.pa.us and search by ZIP code 15010 for current hours.
Pennsylvania License Renewal
A Pennsylvania driver's license can be renewed until the end date on the I-20 or DS-2019 even if it is less than one year. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will include the grace period, which is 60 days for the F-1 and 30 days for the J-1. Take items 1-3 above to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Transfer of Another State License to Pennsylvania license or ID
Students must take their license and items 1-5 above to the DMV.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) must take their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for all requests. For new licenses, take items 1-6 above. For transferring from another state license to a Pennsylvania license, take items 1-5 above. For renewing a Pennsylvania license, take items 1-3 above.
International Driving Permit
Students who don't qualify for a Pennsylvania driver's license can drive for one year if they have a valid foreign driver's license and an international driving permit.
Students interested in obtaining driver training may do so at their own expense. KDT Driver Training School offers private lessons. Students must obtain a learner's permit before contacting KDT to start lessons. The length of each lesson is 1.5 hours, and the rate is $88 per lesson. You may take as many lessons as you wish.
KDT will take students to complete the driver test, but first the student must complete a minimum of one lesson with KDT. The driver test is a two-hour session and includes one hour of practice prior to the test. The fee is $98. To schedule the test, students must contact KDT directly to ensure that a driver/car is available.