Obtain a Driver's License

International students and scholars who drive in the U.S. must have a valid driver's license. Some states require an International Driving Permit (IDP) from foreign nationals, in addition to a valid license from your own country. Check with the motor vehicle department of each state you will drive in for its requirements.  

A Florida driver's license or a State of Florida identification card can be obtained at any Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) office.

Driver's licenses are issued for one year at a time, renewable until the end of the student's program. F-1 students who have completed a course of study or optional practical training can be granted a license for an additional 60-day period to allow them to prepare for departure or to process a transfer. J-1 students and scholars who have completed an exchange visitor program can obtain an additional 30-day period.

Dependents of F-1 or J-1 students and scholars (i.e. dependents in F-2 or J-2 status) are allowed the same period of driver's license validity as the F-1 or J-1 students and scholars.

For first-time issuance of a State of Florida driver's license or identification card, Florida law requires the following items from students in F-1 or J-1 status:

  1. Passport; and

  2. Proof of non-immigrant classification provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Form I-94); and

  3. F-1 or J-1 status documentation (Form I-20 or DS-2019); and

  4. Two original proofs of residence (cell phone bills, utility bills, official, original transcripts from UM, apartment lease). Students who live on campus will need to obtain proof of residence from the Department of Housing and Residential Life. They should send an e-mail to: housinghelp@miami.edu with a request for “verification of rental history” and the name and address of who it should be addressed to. Also, any official letter, for example a bank letter or letter from UM sent to your on-campus address will suffice as proof of residence. If living with parent, the parent must sign a statement (available at the local DMV office) and provide proof of residence (one in the parent’s name and one in the student’s name); and

  5. SSN cards if one has been issued or a letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration (SSA) indicating you are not eligible to obtain an SSN. The reason for the ineligibility cannot be because you failed to present the necessary documents. For more information related to Non-Immigrant requirements for obtaining a Social Security Number, please visit Learn what documents you will need to get a Social Security Card.


It is recommended that you take your foreign driver's license, if one has been issued. You may be exempt from the otherwise mandatory drug and alcohol traffic education course, the driving test, or parts of it. Complete information on the required tests and a link to the driver's manual can be found at https://www.flhsmv.gov/. 

Private vendors with "Driving Instructor" shirts offer a training of the maneuvers required for the driving test as well as usage of a car for the exam for a fee of about $50. While FLHSMV officers usually recommend their services, these instructors are not affiliated with their office. You should exercise caution if you choose to hire them.

There are currently 12 driver's license offices in Miami-Dade County. The closest location to the University of Miami is approximately 9 miles north of campus:

Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

Mall of Americas

7795 West Flagler Street, Suite M8 & M9

Miami, FL 33144

Phone: (305) 229-6333

You are strongly advised to make an appointment, if available. To access the most up-to-date information on driver's license requirements, check the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website. Click on Service Centers in Miami-Dade County to find a local office.

DUI (Driving Under the Influence of Alcoholic Beverages, Chemical Substances or Controlled Substances). s. 316.193, F.S.:

Under Florida law, DUI is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. The penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of the manner in which the offense is proven.

Visa revocation following a DUI: The U.S. Department of State is revoking visa foils ("stamps") of foreign nationals following a conviction or an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), or a related criminal charge. Individuals are notified of their visa cancellation by email (address used on the visa application). An individual in nonimmigrant status whose visa has been prudentially revoked will have to obtain a new visa in order to be readmitted to the United States after temporary travel abroad. In order for the visa to be issued, the foreign national will first need to be cleared by a panel physician following a medical screening, which may result in a visa denial or delay. A student who has their visa revoked should talk to an immigration attorney.