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IMPORTANT NOTE: PennDOT requires that non-immigrants’ entry documents (I-20, DS-2019, or I-797) be valid for one year or more to be eligible for a Pennsylvania ID Card or Driver’s License. Thus, if at all possible, obtain your PA driver’s license or ID within your first month of checking in at ISSS and arriving in Pennsylvania.
You can download the Driver's License application forms from the PA Division of Motor Vehicles.
- Documents needed to get a Pennsylvania Driver's License or ID Card
You will need to show the following documents to obtain a Pennsylvania Driver's License or ID Card. You must bring these documents to a Driver License Center to obtain your ID Card or information on how to obtain your Driver’s License.
Pennsylvania has a special reciprocity agreement with France and Germany. French and German nationals should inquire with PennDOT for details.
Canadians may drive legally in the U.S. using a Canadian driver’s license for 60 days after moving to Pennsylvania.
Letter from ISSS to verify your status (F-1, J-1 or H-1B) at Penn.
- To request your letter, submit the electronic request form in iPenn (see iPenn logo below). After you log in with your credentials (Pennkey and password), select Driver License Request from the left menu labeled as Student Services. You will be notified to collect the letter from ISSS front desk when it becomes available.
- Your social security card. If you are not eligible for a social security number you will need to bring a letter of denial/indecision from the Social Security office.
Two of the following as proof of residency in Pennsylvania:
- Current utility bills (for example, electric, cable, telephone, etc., but not cell phone bills) -- Online billing statements are not acceptable. You may use two of the same type of utility bill as long as they are for two different months.
- Tax records
- Lease agreements or proof of residency letter from the housing office for on-campus students
- W-2 forms
- Mortgage documents
- Car insurance statements
- Current weapons permit
- If you have only one of the above-mentioned documents, a bank statement may be acceptable.
- If you do not have any utility bills, any mail (not email) from Penn sent to your PA residence may be acceptable.
Your original immigration documents to verify your status and authenticate your duration of stay:
- I-20 (F-1), DS-2019(J-1), I-797 (H-1B)
- EAD (if any)
- Your valid passport
- I-94 card (if issued paper I-94) or I-94 printout (if issued electronic I-94), Refer to the automated I-94 process
- Your US Entry Visa (used for last entry)
- Letter from ISSS to verify your status (F-1, J-1 or H-1B) at Penn.
- Obtaining and Driving with a Learner's Permit
To get a Learner's Permit first obtain a Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual and study it.
- It contains detailed instructions on the steps to take to obtain a learner’s permit.
- You will need to complete the front of the Non-Commercial Learner’s Permit Application (DL-180) found in the Driver’s manual.
- Your medical provider must complete the back of the application (DL-180). You will need to pass the Vision, Knowledge and Road Tests.
- Please see the Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual for complete instructions and required documents.
You may drive with the Temporary Learner’s Permit:
- You must be accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years of age or older.
- This driver must ride in the front passenger seat of the vehicle.
- Once you have this Learner’s Permit, you can schedule a driving skills test when you feel that you are ready.
- All Driver License Centers in the Philadelphia area require appointments to take the skills test. Please call 1-800-932-4600 to schedule an appointment.
- Fees for obtaining a license or photo ID
The fee to obtain a Pennsylvania driver’s license varies according to the type of vehicles you desire to drive. Detailed information on the various types of licenses and the fee schedule is provided in the Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual or on the PA Division of Motor Vehicles website.
- Driver's License Centers in Philadelphia
Address Hours Services 801 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 Tue-Sat 8:30-4:15 Knowledge Test, Photo License 2320 Island Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19153 Tue-Sat 8:30-4:15 Knowledge Test, Photo License, Driving Skills Test Oxford Levick Shopping Center, 919-B Levick St., Philadelphia, PA 19111 Tue-Sat 8:30-4:15 Knowledge Test, Photo License, Driving Skills Test 7121 Ogontz Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19138 Tue-Sat 8:30-4:15 Knowledge Test, Photo License, Driving Skills Test
The best time to visit a PennDOT office is Wednesday or Thursday. Avoid Tuesdays and Saturdays. No Driving Skills Tests can be given without an appointment. Please call 1-800-932-4600 to set up an appointment.
NOTE: Information is subject to change. Please contact PennDOT for updates