Cherry Blossoms

Current International Students

California Driver's License

Driving a car without a driver's license is illegal. You must apply for a driver's license at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) before driving. Students who do not drive can obtain a California state ID as  the primary form of identification.

Getting a California Driver License


To Qualify:

  • Must be 18 years old or older
  • Must be in lawful F-1 status and a current Foothill Student
  • Have a US local address on file with the Foothill ISP Office
  • Your arrival information must be in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) database. We recommend waiting at least 3 weeks after you arrive in the U.S.


Required Documents:

  • Valid passport and visa
  • I-20 Form
  • I-94 Form
  • Two qualified residency documents (this can include a letter from the Foothill ISP Office)
  • If you have a Social Security Number (SSN), you need to include it with your application.


Steps to Apply:

Before your DMV appointment
  1. Study California Driver Handbook for the written test. 
  2. Make an appointment on the DMV website or by calling 1-800-777-0133.
  3. Complete online application.
At the DMV
  1. Provide documents and pay fees.
  2. Follow instructions of DMV representative (fingerprints, vision test, etc.)
  3. Take your written test.
Taking your driving test (if applicable)
  1. Schedule an appointment on the DMV website or by calling 1-800-777-0133.
Receiving your driver's license

Your will receive a temporary driver's license valid for 60 days while you wait for your actual driver's license to arrive in the mail. If you do not receive your driver's license in 60 days, please call 1-800-777-0133.


Additional Information:

  • Find a DMV location near you.
  • You are required to have auto insurance if you drive a car in California.
  • If you purchase or own a car, you are required to register your car with the DMV. This registration must be renewed every year.
  • You can borrow a car using Zipcar.

Getting a California Driver's License

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International Student Programs Office


Administration Building 1900 Room 1933

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