Temple University International Student and Scholar Services

International Student and Scholar Services

Obtaining a Pennsylvania Driver’s License or ID Card

Can I drive with a valid foreign license?

Pennsylvania honors a valid foreign driver’s license for up to one year. If your foreign driver’s license is not in English, you also need a valid International Driving Permit in addition to your foreign license. This must be obtained in your home country. In order to continue driving after a year, you should apply for a Pennsylvania driver’s license if you meet the document requirements listed below.

If you hold a valid driver’s license from France or Germany you may transfer a valid noncommercial license to a PA Non-Commercial driver’s license. If you hold a valid driver’s license from a Canadian province or territory you may transfer a valid noncommercial license to a PA Non-Commercial license.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Nonimmigrants granted entry for one year or less and nonimmigrants granted entry for more than one year but with less time remaining on their entry documents (1-20, DS-2019, or 1-797) are not eligible for a Pennsylvania ID Card or Driver’s License.

What documents do I need to obtain a Pennsylvania ID Card or Driver’s License?

To obtain a Pennsylvania ID Card or Driver’s License you will need to show the following documents:

1.    Letter from OIS to verify your status (F-1, J-1 or H-1) at Temple University. This letter can be obtained through Owlnet. Log into Owlnet, click on “Additional Services” then click on “International Students”

2.    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, located at 390i Market Street.


NOTE: Dependents in F-2 status are not eligible for a Social Security Card, but may obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the US Internal Revenue Service if they do not have a Social Security Card from a previous stay. The ITIN number can be obtained only when you file your annual US income tax return. For more information and forms, visit the IRS web site at:   http://www.irs.gov/.

3.    Two of the following as proof of residency in Pennsylvania:

  • Current utility bills (for example, electric, cable, telephone, etc.)
  • Tax records
  • Lease agreements or proof of residency letter from the housing office for on-campus students
  • W-2 forms
  • Mortgage documents
  • Current weapons permit
  • If you have only one of the above-mentioned documents, a bank statement may be acceptable.


4.    Your original immigration documents to verify your status and authenticate your length of stay:

  • I-20 for F-1 status
  • DS-2019 for J-1 status
  • I-797 for H-1 B status


5.    Your valid passport

6.    Your I-94 card

7.    Your visa (used for last entry)


Bring these documents to a Driver License Center to obtain your Pennsylvania ID Card or information on how to obtain your Driver’s License. For locations, see below.



Where do I get Driver’s License application forms?

These forms are available for downloading at:  http://www.dmv.state.pa. us/.

How do I get a Learner’s Permit?


Obtain a Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual and study it. This manual is available at http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/ or from a Driver License Center. 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 Driver’s manual for complete instructions and required documents.

Can I drive with the Temporary Learner’s Permit?

Yes, the Temporary Learner’s Permit allows you to practice driving, but 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. You may, of course, continue to drive alone if you have a valid foreign driver’s license and have been in Pennsylvania less than one year. In approximately 30 days, PennDOT will mail you a Learner’s Permit. Once you have received 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.

How much will it cost to get a Driver’s 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. The fee for an initial permit and four-year regular license (car) is $31 .00. The fee for a Photo ID is $10