Getting a driving license is very important for H4 visa holder. As I mentioned, It is not a good idea to carry your passport for ID, it is important to get an official ID. There are some challenges and misconceptions among H4 visa holders on how can they get driving license. I will try to put in few scenarios in some states and hopefully it helps you all. In fact, you do this process to get the driving learners permit.
No SSN for H4 visa holder ? What should you do ?
As you know, H4 visa holders do not get Social Security Number (SSN). But, what you should do is, go to the Social Security Administration office and get a letter from them saying that “You are not eligible for SSN”. You will have to take your Visa, I-94, Passport & H4 papers (May be your spouse’s H1B papers). This letter is very important as you would have to take it to the Drivers license office.
Documents Required for H4 Driving license :
This is not the complete list. For the most part, most of the states look for these kinds of documents. Not all of them are mandatory, some are optional. It is recommended that you carry all the optional documents as well, so that you do not face any issues at the DMV. Below is the typical list of documents needed; these correspond to H4 visa holder.
- I-94 card.
- H4 Visa Stamp ( if you have entered US with Visa Stamping)
- If you already were in US and did Change of Status, you may not have H4 stamp in passport, in that case, this requirement does not apply to you.
- H4 Approval notice ( I797 form H4)
- You will NOT have H4 Approval notice, if you entered US with H4 Stamping in Passport. In that case, you just use your H4 Valid Visa in your passport. No need of H4 approval notice for such cases.
- H1B approval notice of the spouse (I797 form H1B)
- Letter from SSN office that you are not eligible for SSN.
- Utility Bill ( You can get electricity bill or phone bill on your name)
- Rental Lease papers (If you have name on it) ( Optional)
- Bank account Statements of US Banks. ( Optional )
- Medical Insurance Papers ( Optional )
- ITIN of H4 visa holder (Individual tax identification Number) ( Optional)
- International Driving license ( if you have one from home country) ( optional)
- Depending on state sometimes they ask for H1B visa holders Passport, SSN and I-94. So, it is a good idea for your spouse to come along with you with documents. ( Optional)
- Date of Birth certificate from Home country (in English) ( Optional)
Depending on the state, sometimes they give you ID right away. But some states, just give you a piece of paper and they will mail the Driving license or ID card to your home address in two weeks.
Rules of few states DMVs for H4 visa holders License:
Illinois H4 Visa Driving license situation: Illinois gives options for H4 visa holders to get an instruction permit as well as Driving license. They has something called a Temporary Visitor Driving license Program. Check the DMV website of Illinois Temporary Visitor Program
New York H4 visa holders license : In New York State, it is point system. You need 6 points. Check this document Form ID 44 for Points weightage. You get 4 points for Passport, 1 point for Health insurance and 1 point for Bank Account/ATM card. Sometimes, you can also get 1 point for utility bill too
California H4 Visa holders Driving License : If you are in California, you can schedule an online appointment for office visit by filling out details. The process is pretty standard. If you need application form, you can call the DMV office and ask them to mail the form, then you can fill it at home and carry it. You need to carry the letter from SSA office that you are not eligible for SSN. More info check : Driving license and ID card information
New Jersey Driving License for H4 visa : New Jersey has a 6 point system. You need passport, I94, SSN denial letter, Utility bills, health insurance and ATM/ Check card on your name. This gives you six points. Check the DMV 6 Point validation site of New Jersey . You can use the Online document selector to find out the eligibility by selection of options.
Virginia H4 visa holders Driving license : It is pretty much same for Virginia, you may have to explain more. You can check the DMV 141 Document for list of documents needed or you can use the online document guide for Driving license or ID cards.
I cannot really put in all the states, I have tried to put in the information of the most frequently asked states. I assume rest of the states are good.
Some things to try if you get Denied for H4 visa Driving license at any DMV :
Sometimes, you may get a NO from some DMV offices. The simple reason could be, they have never done it or the person you have talked to does not know the process and they say a NO straight away. You can do few things to get out of this kind of situation.
- Talk to other person in the DMV. Ask you want to talk to the Supervisor or someone else. Be bold and ask it. If you think, you cant, just go at a time when the person you talked to is not helping out and you get to talk to other person.
- If you have no good luck with a DMV location, Change the DMV location. Try different DMV. Sometimes, people in a particular DMV location may not know the process, so you are better off trying in multiple locations.
These are some of my thoughts, there is no universal rule for anything. Rules keep changing and sometimes they are strict and all the stuff I wrote above may not work…so, just be aware of the situation…