Pennsylvania driver's license for international students

Pennsylvania driver's license for international students

How Internationals Can Get a Pennsylvania Driver's License

NOTE: Internationals who do not qualify for a Pennsylvania Driver's License but who are in legal status in the U.S. can drive for one year with a valid foreign driver's license.  It is recommended that they also have an international driving permit.

To be eligible for a Pennsylvania Driver’s License, you must have at least 11 months (preferably 12 months or more) left before your I-20 or DS-2019 program end date.

STEP 1: Complete Page 1 of  Form DL-180: Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application.

STEP 2: Go to a physician, physician assistant, certified registered nurse practitioner or chiropractor for a physical examination and have them complete Page 2 (back) of the DL-180.  

NOTE: Enrolled students and scholars who have purchased the Penn State Student Insurance Plan can request a physical exam at University Health Services.  Please contact Nurse Barb Kugel at 724-773-3955 or stop by RAB 104 to schedule an appointment with the campus doctor. 

STEP 3: Obtain your Social Security card or request a Letter of Ineligibility, also referred to as a denial letter, from the Social Security Administration (SSA) stating that you are not eligible for a Social Security card. The social security office closest to the Beaver Campus is located at 120 Merchant Street, Ambridge, PA  15003 (724-773-1213). 

If you need transportation to the social security office, please contact Billie Brown at to arrange a shuttle. 

STEP 4: Gather the following original documents:

  • The completed DL-180
  • Valid Passport
  • Most recent I-94
  • Valid I-20 or DS-2019
  • Two acceptable proofs of residency in Pennsylvania, such as:
    • utility bills
    • bank statement
    • proof of on-campus housing
    • lease, etc.       

​STEP 5: Prepare a check or money order payable to PennDOT for the appropriate amount. Cash is not accepted. See PennDOT fees.

STEP 6: Go to the PennDOT Photo and Exam Center in person. You cannot apply online.

NOTE: See also PennDOT’s Get a Driver License for more information.


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 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.

Driver Training

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.


KDT Driver Training 
P.O. Box 12701 
Pittsburgh, PA 15241 
Phone: 412-851-9540