Obtaining a Virginia Driver's License or State ID Card
Please note that it is no longer necessary to request a letter from ISSS to verify your attendance. This is not true for H-4 visa holders, however; individuals on this visa should see the section on H-4s below.
Proof of Identity
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of the Commonwealth of Virginia requires two items of identification before an individual will be issued either a Virginia driver's license or a non-driver's identification card. The full list of items which may be used is available on the DMV web site. The primary document that an international student or scholar will use will be an unexpired passport accompanied by a visa and I-94 card. Among the standard secondary items that DMV uses for identification, the following are ones that are most relevant to international students and scholars. You only need one of the items below in addition to your passport, etc.
- A prior Virginia driver's license or state issued ID card
- A driver's license or ID card issued by another US state or territory
- An unexpired Employment Authorization Card (EAD, also known as "the OPT card")
- A certified copy of a transcript issued by an accredited school (an unofficial copy of your transcript obtained from the Registrar's office should be sufficient)
- A health insurance card or policy with birth date
- A marriage license issued by a US governmental jurisdiction
If you cannot provide two items of identification that are on the DMV's approved list, you will need to submit a special letter to the agency's central Richmond office, along with photocopies of other items of identification, for individual approval prior to making application at the local DMV office. Among other items which will be considered are:
- Your Old Dominion University ID card
- A driver's license from another country or an international driver's license
- A copy of your current class schedule at Old Dominion, certified by ISSS
- A national identification card issued by your home country
For H-4 Visa Holders ONLY: Should you wish DMV to use the items in the list immediately above:
- Make clear copies of your alternate identification documents.
- Make clear copies of the pages in your passport which show your identity, the expiration date of the passport and your visa
- Make clear copies of both sides of your I-94 (even if there is nothing written on the back) and either pages 1 and 3 of your I-20 or page 1 of your DS-2019.
- Bring all these copies to International Student & Scholar Services and complete the request for a DMV letter.
We will send the documents and letter to DMV and notify you when a response is received. If approved, the letter will outline which original documents will need to be presented at DMV.
Proof of Virginia Residency
In addition to the identification requirements noted above, you must also present proof of your Virginia residency. The document presented must show your name and the address of your Virginia residence. A post office box is not an acceptable address. The documents must be original; photocopies are not accepted.
Among the most common items that may be used for proof of residency are:
- Payroll stub issued by an employer within 2 months of the application
- IRS tax reporting W-2 form not more than 18 months old
- Original monthly bank statement not more than 2 months old
- Utility bill with the applicant's name and address not more than 2 months old
- Certified transcript from an accredited US school
- Residential lease agreement