New York State ID for International Students

Hey everyone! Last week I took the time to go to the DMV in the city to apply for my New York State ID. Did you know international students can get one? I didn’t! While you are not required to have one, a state ID can be very useful in many situations. In fact, I’ve been asked for an official state photo ID in several occasions and the only way around it is showing your passport. Since I never carry my passport around (and you shouldn't’t do it neither!) having a NY state ID can come in very handy.

NY State ID Sample

The first thing you will need is a Social Security Number. That is a challenging process if you don’t have an on-campus job, work authorization of some sort or on your OPT. Here’s a document that explains a little more about SSN for international students:

Provided that you have the SSN already, here are the things you will need in order to apply for a non-driver state ID:

  • Passport with visa + I-20 (old and current) and I-94 forms
  • Social Security Card
  • Proof of name documents totaling 4 points*
  • Completed application for non-driver ID card:


*For you to prove your identity, you need to add up four points. For example, a credit card with your name from a bank from the US will give you 1 point. Use this points calculator to check that you have enough proof:

DMV Line

You can apply directly at a DMV location. It is a fairly simple process, but let me give you a few tips:

  • Print and fill out the forms at home. It will save you some time.
  • Get there at 8am the latest, or you’ll be waiting in line for a very long time. I got there at 8am and left at 10:30am… That’s 2 and a half hours. Had I gotten there about 30 minutes earlier, it would have been done a lot quicker! The best idea is to go before they open and wait in line outside. Here’s a list with the locations:
  • Get yourself some patience, you’ll get a number and they will call you first to get your picture taken, then you’ll need to wait again to apply and make the payment. It is usually very slow, bring something to read!
  • It costs $10 for a 4 year ID and $14 for an 8 year ID and you can pay cash or credit.
  • Once you pay, you’ll get a temporary ID and the real thing will be in your mailbox in a couple weeks.

DMV Waiting Area

Good luck getting yours! Thanks for reading and see you soon!