California Driver License (DL) or State Identity Card (ID)

You must have a valid California Driver's License to operate a motor vehicle in California. The State of California does not recognize an International Driving Permit (IDP) as a valid driver license.

If you will not drive in California, you may only need the State ID. It may look like a driver license, but is used for
identification purposes only. If you plan to use your California ID to fly within the United States, you will need to apply for a federal compliant REAL ID Driver License or State ID, beginning in May 2025.

Go to the DMV website at and read the California Driver Handbook, forms, instructions on how to apply for a driver's license and a section on frequently asked questions. The "Driver Handbook" is a free publication with all of the California driving laws and "rules of the road".

Going to the DMV may be time‐consuming and take 2‐3 hours. Please allot sufficient time when visiting the DMV office. Additionally, failing to have all the required documents may either delay your application or result in denial.


  • You can make an appointment to apply for license and ID. Follow instructions on the website to find local office  locations and make an appointment. 
  • Students are encouraged to complete the application online before going to the DMV office.  
  • Remember there is a fee for the DL and ID. Cash, check/money order and credit cards are acceptable forms of  payment. 
  • If you have Social Security Number, please bring your social security card with you. 

Required Documents

The following documents must be submitted to the DMV office to apply for a Driver License/Identity Card: 

  1. Passport and Visa
    • An unexpired, foreign passport is required. 
  2. Form I‐94 
  3.  I‐20 (For F‐1 Student) 
    • Your latest original I-20.
  4. Acceptable Documents 
    • Proof of Residency 
      •  On-Campus: SHaRE Housing Contract 
      • Off-Campus: Lease Agreement
    • Home utility bill (water, internet, cell phone)
    • Insurance documents (rental, medical, dental, vision)
    • Records from a Financial Institution: Bank Statement
    • Proof of payment of USF 
    • If you do not have two of the documents listed above,  submit a Letter Request via MyISSS to be issued a letter  from ISSS regarding your student status and residence address 


The Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) office only has one location in San Francisco. However, you are free to go to  which office is nearest to you. 


San Francisco 
1377 Fell Street San Francisco, CA 94117 

Daly City
1500 Sullivan Avenue Daly City, CA 94015 

5300 Claremont Avenue Oakland, CA94618 


Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 5:00pm 
Wednesday 9:00am - 5:00pm 
Saturday 8:00 am - 1:00pm 
Sunday Closed