How Can I Get a Driving License on an H4 Visa?

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • Obtaining a driving license on an H4 visa without an SSN is possible by visiting the Social Security Administration office.
  • Obtain a letter stating your ineligibility for an SSN, which can be used instead of an SSN when applying for a driving license.
  • Required documents may include passport, visa, I-94, H4 approval, spouse’s H1B approval, proof of address, lease, bank statements, medical insurance, ITIN, international driving license, and birth certificate.
  • State requirements may vary; for example, Illinois uses a Temporary Visitor Driving License Program. If denied, try speaking to different DMV personnel or visit a different location.

If you are in the United States on an H4 visa, you might be carrying your passport with you as a form of ID. This is risky because the last thing you want is to lose your passport.

A much better option is to get some sort of official ID card. A driving license is a good option, as it will not only act as an ID card, but it will also give you permission to drive. Without a Social Security Number (SSN), getting a driving license can be difficult — but not impossible.

In this article, we will give you some advice about getting a driving license while on an H4 visa.

Read on to learn more, or check out our video How Can I Get a Driving License in USA | H4 Visa Holders License!

How to Get a Driver’s License on an H4 Visa

Obtaining a driver’s license in the United States as an H4 visa holder involves several steps, which can vary slightly depending on the state in which you reside. Here’s a general outline of the process:

1. Understand State-Specific Requirements

Each state in the U.S. has its own Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or equivalent agency that sets the rules for obtaining a driver’s license. It’s important to check the specific requirements for the state where you live.

2. Gather Required Documents

You will typically need to provide:

  • Proof of identity and legal presence in the U.S. (such as your passport with the H4 visa)
  • Social Security Number (SSN) or an ineligibility letter from the Social Security Administration (if you do not have an SSN)
  • Proof of residency in the state (like utility bills, rental agreements, etc.)
  • I-94 form showing your legal entry into the U.S.
  • Any additional documents required by your state (such as your spouse’s H1B documents, marriage certificate, etc.)

3. Complete a Driver’s Education Course (if required)

Some states require new drivers to complete a driver’s education course, especially if the applicant is a minor.

4. Pass the Written Test

The written test covers traffic laws, road signs, and driving safety. Study materials are usually available on the DMV website.

5. Pass the Vision Test

This test checks your eyesight to ensure you meet the minimum visual standards to drive safely.

6. Obtain a Learner’s Permit (if applicable)

In many states, especially for younger applicants, you might first receive a learner’s permit, allowing you to practice driving under certain restrictions.

7. Complete Behind-the-Wheel Driving Practice (if applicable)

Some states require a certain number of practice driving hours before you can take the driving test.

8. Pass the Driving Test

This practical test evaluates your ability to operate a vehicle and follow traffic rules. You will need to bring a vehicle for the test, which must be in good working condition.

9. Pay the Required Fees

After passing all required tests, you will need to pay a fee to receive your driver’s license.

10. Receive Your Driver’s License

Once you pass all tests and pay the fees, you will be issued a driver’s license. The validity of this license is often tied to the length of your legal status in the U.S.

But I have no SSN — how can I get a driving license on an H4 Visa?

You might think that you do not have any hope of getting a driving license because you don’t have an SSN.

This is not the case. If you go to the Social Security Administration office, and bring your I-94, passport, and H4 visa, they will give you a letter to declares that you are not eligible for an SSN. You will then be able to use this letter instead of an SSN when applying for a driving license.

Documents Required for an H4 Driver’s License

Once you have your letter from the Social Security Administration office, you will be able to apply for your driving license. Here is the list of documents required for H4 visa holders applying for their driver’s license:

  • Passport and visa
  • I-94
  • H4 approval
  • Spouse’s H1B approval
  • Proof of address (utility bill, for example)
  • Accommodation lease
  • Bank statements (US bank)
  • Proof of medical insurance
  • ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number)
  • International driving license
  • Birth certificate

Not all of these documents are mandatory, and the requirements can vary depending on your location.

Is it the same in every state?

No, the rules can vary from state to state.

Here’s a quick guide to states that have different policies.

Illinois

This state uses the Temporary Visitor Driving License Program. This allows H4 visa holders to get an instruction permit and a driving license.

New York

This state gives licenses based on a points system rather than an SSN. You need six points to get a license. You get four for your passport and one each for health insurance,>bank account, and utility bill.

New Jersey

This state uses a similar points system. You also need six points, but to accumulate them you will need a passport, I-94, SSN denial letter, medical insurance, and an ATM card and a utility bill in your name.

Most other states operate within similar systems; however, you should do your own research depending on the state you are in.

What can I do if I get denied?

If you get a “no” from the DMV, it could simply be a case that the person you spoke to did not know you could do this. Before you give up, try talking to someone else in the DMV or even try a different DMV location. It could make all the difference.

Have you had any experience applying for a driving license while on an H4 visa? Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking of doing so? Share your thoughts with us in our comments section below.

Read More

H4 Driver’s License FAQ

H4 visa holders often have questions about obtaining a driver’s license in the United States. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers:

Can H4 Visa Holders Obtain a Driver’s License in the US?

Yes, H4 visa holders can obtain a driver’s license in the US. They must meet the requirements set by the state where they reside, which typically includes passing written and practical driving tests.

What Documents are Required to Apply for a Driver’s License on an H4 Visa?

Requirements vary by state but generally include proof of identity, proof of legal presence (such as your H4 visa), Social Security Number (if you have one), and proof of residency in the state.

Is a Social Security Number (SSN) Required to Obtain a Driver’s License?

Not always. Some states require an SSN, while others provide alternatives for those who are ineligible for an SSN. You might need to obtain a letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration.

How Long is the Driver’s License Valid for H4 Visa Holders?

The validity of a driver’s license for H4 visa holders is typically tied to the validity of their visa status. It usually expires along with their visa.

Can H4 Visa Holders Drive with a License from Their Home Country?

Yes, but only for a limited period. Most states allow you to drive with a foreign driver’s license for a certain period, usually ranging from a few months to a year.

What Happens to the Driver’s License if the H4 Visa Status Changes?

If your visa status changes, you should update your driver’s license accordingly. If you switch to a visa category that doesn’t allow you to have a driver’s license, you may have to surrender it.

Can H4 Dependents Under 18 Get a Driver’s License?

Yes, but the specific age requirements and restrictions vary by state. They typically need to go through a graduated license process that includes learner’s permits and provisional licenses.

Is There a Special Procedure for H4 Visa Holders to Renew Their Driver’s License?

The renewal process is generally the same as for other residents, but you’ll need to provide up-to-date immigration documents proving your legal status.

What If My H4 Visa is Extended? Do I Need to Renew My Driver’s License Too?

Yes, you should renew your driver’s license once your visa extension is approved. You’ll need to show your new I-797 form or visa stamp as proof.

Can I Drive in Other States with My H4 Driver’s License?

Yes, you can drive in other states with your H4 driver’s license, as long as it’s valid. However, if you move to another state, you’ll typically need to obtain a new license from that state.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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