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Drivers License & Social Security Card

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These 2 topics are grouped because they are sometimes related. As an international student, you might want a Drivers License (DL) even if you don’t plan to drive, but you need a Social Security Number (SSN) to get a DL. You can’t get a SSN without a job, and you can’t be legally employed without authorization from USCIS. However, there is an alternate process to get a DL without a SSN in Georgia. ISS has created a helpful information sheet on this topic.

After reading this form, feel free to contact ISS if you have additional questions.n

Keep the following points in mind:

  • You can legally drive in the US with a valid DL from your own country. Just carry your passport and I-20 with you.
  • To purchase your own vehicle, you must have a valid Georgia DL. You cannot obtain a DL without a valid I-20 immigration document.
  • Purchasing a car is one thing. Legally driving or “operating a moving vehicle” is another. Additional steps are required.
    • Every car comes with a “title”, which is a legal document showing ownership of the vehicle. A car title contains the car’s unique “VIN” or Vehicle Identification Number. Titles are transferred from owner to owner as cars are bought second-hand.
    • With the car title, you must register your vehicle in the county in which you reside. This is done at the “county tax commissioner’s office”. Locate your county tax office
    • Before you can register your vehicle, the “ad valorum” tax must be paid. This tax is based on the value of the vehicle. If you buy a car from a dealership, this tax is usually collected at the time of purchase along with the sales tax (around 7% of the purchase price). If you buy a used car from an individual, you will pay the ad valorum tax when you register the car. For more information, please view ad valorem information.
    • In order to register a vehicle, you must also have and maintain proper automobile insurance. The minimum type of insurance required for all vehicles is called “liability insurance”. This protects another driver(s), not you, if an auto accident is your fault. Auto insurance companies will issue an insurance card, which must be in your car at all times, along with the certificate of registration. It pays to shop around for rates, which differ from company to company.
    • When a Police Officer or State Patrol officer pulls you over for whatever reason, the 3 things they will ask for immediately are: driver’s license, insurance, and registration. If you cannot show all 3 items, then you are not driving legally, and fines will increase. Failure to pay traffic fines, no matter how small, will eventually be linked with your immigration record and could have a negative effect.
  • Other resources related to Drivers Licenses and Social Security Cards
    1. Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS)
    2. DDS Office Locator
    3. DL Study manual
    4. DL information for non-U.S. citizens
    5. Social Security Administration
    6. Social Security Card Instructions & Application