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Getting a U.S. Driver's License or ID card

COVID Update: DMV operations have been affected by COVID-19.  Please visit the DMV website for the most current information.

Driver’s licenses and state identification (ID) cards are issued by the state in which you reside; the laws for each state are different.

You may obtain a Virginia driver’s license or state ID card from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The addresses and contact information are listed below.

Do I need a Virginia driver's license?
questions to determine if you need a license
I am a full-time student

If you are a full-time student and have a valid foreign license, you may drive with that. Be sure to have an English translation of the foreign license, or consider getting an international driving permit.

However, you must get a Virginia license within 60 days if:

  1. If you are employed in the US, or
  2. If you register a car in Virginia.
I am a scholar

You can drive with your valid foreign license for no more than 6 months. Be sure to have an English translation of the foreign license, or consider getting an international driving permit. If you plan to continue driving in the US after 6 months, you must obtain a Virginia license.

However, you must get a Virginia license within 60 days if:

  1. If you are employed in the US, or
  2. If you register a car in Virginia.
I am a W&M employee

If you wish to drive in Virginia, you must apply for a VA license within 60 days of moving here.

I just need a State Identification (ID) Card; I don't need to drive

If you want just an ID card (does not allow you to drive but is useful when proving age for buying alcohol), you can obtain one at the DMV with the same required documents needed for a license. The fee is $10.

I just want to drive: Driver Privilege Card

This option is only available to people who have earned income and filed a Virginia tax return within the past 12 months. A driver privilege card is not a traditional license, and you cannot use it as identification to board flights or enter federal facilities, but it will enable you to drive.

Requirements (full list available on DMV website):

  • Copy of your Virginia tax return, filed within the last 12 months (one of these):
    • Virginia Resident Form 760 – Individual Income Tax
    • Virginia Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return Form 760PY
    • Virginia Nonresident Income Tax Return Form 763
  • Proof of identity (two documents)
    • Examples of accepted documents (full list here):
  • Proof of Virginia residency (two documents)
  • Proof of SSN or ITIN (if you have been issued one)
Driver's License Application Process
different options if you already have a license
I never had a driver's license (in any state or country)

If you are 18 years old or older, you must provide proof of successful completion of a state-approved driver education program or you must have held a learner's permit at least 60 days before you can take the road skills test.

If you are under age 18, you must complete a state-approved driver education program and hold your Virginia learner's permit for at least nine months.

I have a license from another state or country

Regardless of age,  you may be required to take a written test, or take both a written and driving test, depending on the country that issued your license. You will need to ask directly at the DMV.

If you have a license from another U.S. state, Canada, Germany, or France, then you may simply obtain a Virginia license by completing the application and paying the fee. Licenses from other U.S. states or Canada will be invalidated when you receive your Virginia license.

The driver's license will be issued for the period listed on your I-20 or DS-2019, not to exceed 5 years. The cost of the license is $4 for each year issued, minimum fee is $20.

Complete your Immigration Check-in

As a new student or scholar, to be eligible for a Virginia driver's license or ID card, your immigration record must first be registered by the Reves Center. You can only complete your immigration check-in after you have entered the U.S.

  • Students can request registration by completing the student immigration check-in:
    • Login to iStart using your W&M ID and Password.
    • Select Pre-Arrival from the left menu
    • Select Pre-Arrival Checklist and complete the Immigration Check-In and Immigration Responsibilities
  • Scholars can request registration by completing the scholar immigration check-in.

You will receive an email once your immigration record has been registered.

Gather the Required Documents

Individuals who want to apply for a driver's license, learner's permit, or state ID card will need to present the following documents to the DMV:

  • Two proofs of identity
  • One proof of legal presence
  • Two proofs of Virginia residency
  • One proof of Social Security number (if you have been issued one)

All documents must be originals:

Acceptable Documents
Proof of Identity

Applicants must present two proofs of identity. Documents submitted must show your full legal name and date of birth. They may both come from the primary list of documents, or one from the primary list and the other one from the secondary list.

Primary Documents

  • Unexpired foreign passport with an unexpired or expired visa and valid I-94 card or print out.
  • Unexpired U.S. or Canadian driver's license or learner's/instruction permit (with photo), not less than 60 days old.
  • Unexpired photo ID card, not less than 60 days old, issued by a U.S. state.

Secondary Documents

  • I-20
  • DS-2019
  • Form I-797 (if applicable)
  • Certified copy of school records/transcript issued by William & Mary
Proof of Legal Presence

Applicants must present one proof of legal presence. Accepted documents include:

  • Unexpired foreign passport with an unexpired or expired visa and a valid I-94 card or print out.
  • Holders of F1/F2 visas must present a valid I-20.
  • Holders of J1/J2 visas must present a valid DS-2019.
  • Form I-797 (applicant's name must appear on the form).
    • Note: If W&M has filed an H1B, TN, O-1, or E-3 petition with USCIS for you, or if W&M has filed an extension of one of those statuses, you can obtain a  driver's license for 12 months with the I-797 Receipt Notice. Once the petition is approved you can extend your license for the full period of the petition.
Proof of Virginia Residency

Applicants must present two proofs of Virginia Residency. Accepted documents must show the current street address (not PO Box, CSU Box, or GSH box) and include:

  • You may request a letter from the Reves Center that confirms the official on-campus address as reported to immigration
    • Login to iStart using your W&M ID and Password
    • Click on International Office in the menu on the left-hand side. Then, click on DMV On-Campus Formal Address Letter and complete the form
  • Official Transcript
  • Monthly bank or credit card statement not more than two months old
  • Residential rental/lease agreement
  • Payroll check stub issued by an employer within the last two months.
  • Unexpired Virginia driver's license or Virginia state ID card.
  • Utility bill, not more than two months old, issued to you (examples include gas, electric, sewer, water, cable or phone bill). Cellular phone bill is not accepted.
  • Current automobile or life insurance bill (cards or policies are not accepted).
  • Change of address confirmation from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) of postmarked U.S. mail with forwarding address label. This only works if you previously had another U.S. address. You can request an address change online ($1) or in person (free), and the Postal Service will mail you an address confirmation.
  • U.S. Internal Revenue Service tax reporting W-2 form or 1099 form (not more than 18 months old).
  • U.S. or Virginia tax return from the previous year.
  • Postmarked mail displaying your name and street address.
  • Additional documents can also be used. A complete list is on the DMV website.
Requesting an Official Transcript with Virginia Address if You are Living On-Campus

You have two options to obtain a transcript that lists your physical address:

Ordering with transcript request form (pdf):

  • List your physical address on top of the form and select “For Pickup.”
  • To pay, go to the cashiers in Student Accounts, Blow 108 (M-F, 8am – 4pm), and pay $7 per transcript. Cash/Check/Money Order are accepted, but not credit or debit cards. Save your receipt.
  • Bring the receipt and transcript form to the Registrar’s Office, Blow 240 (M-F, 8am – 5pm). 
  • Transcripts will be available for pickup next business day after 12 noon.
  • Students can get transcript immediately by paying a $25 rush fee. (Also done at the cashier’s window).
  • Some student account holds prevent the release of transcripts and will need to be satisfied before the Registrar can issue your transcript.

Online ordering at www.getmytranscript.com:

  • When ordering, you should select “For Mail” as the delivery option and enter your physical address.
  • You can pay with credit/debit card. Transcripts cost $7 each, with a $2.95 Processing Fee.  Rush processing is available for $25.
  • Once you have placed your order, you need to immediately email transcripts@wm.edu and let them know you placed the order to be mailed, but you would like to pick it up instead.
  • Some student account holds prevent the release of transcripts and will need to be satisfied before the Registrar can issue your transcript.
Proof of Social Security Number (you need one from this list only if you have a Social Security Number)

Applicants must present one proof of SSN only if they have been issued one.

  • Social security card (Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers are not accepted).
  • U.S. Internal Revenue Service tax reporting W-2 form or 1099 form.
  • Payroll check stub issued by employer.
Renewing Your Driver's License or ID card After Graduation

Learn more about this process.

Transporting Children

Virginia laws require children to be in child safety seats (e.g., car seat) till the age of 8 years old. There are many different types of car seats and it is important to select the appropriate car seat based on the age and size of your child. Car seats must also be properly installed. 

For additional information, contact:

Department of Motor Vehicles Customer Service Center - Williamsburg
5235 John Tyler Highway, Williamsburg, VA 23185
(804) 497-7100
Hours: 9am-5pm Monday - Friday, 8am-12pm Saturday, except holidays.

Department of Motor Vehicles Customer Service Center - Gloucester
2348 York Crossing Drive, Hayes, VA 23072  (Food Lion Shopping Center)
(804) 497-7100
Hours: 9am to 5pm Monday - Friday, 8am-12pm Saturday, except holidays.

Directions to the Williamsburg DMV by Bus

Take the Jamestown Line of the Williamsburg Area Transit (free with your W&M ID).

Google Transit allows you to search for routes using public transportation.