Obtaining a Minnesota State Drivers License
Many students arrive in the U.S. with a drivers license from their home country. This allows them in many cases to drive here in the U.S. for up to one year. However, local police are not always consistent with what country's licenses are acceptable. It is the recommendation of the Office of International Student Services to obtain a U.S. license as soon as possible in order to prevent issues.
All students are required (whether they have a license from their home country or not) to apply for a "permit" first. This requires that you take the computer based test ("knowledge test") on the rules and regulations of driving in the U.S. It is recommended that you study for this test using the Minnesota Driver's Manual.
Once you have taken and successfully passed the knowledge test you will be required to take the "Vision Test" to ensure that your eyesight allows you to drive safely in the U.S. Once you have passed the vision test you will be issued with the "Instruction Permit". This will be valid for two years and in this time you are able to take your "Road Test" (driven test).
Please use the Minnesota Driver's Manual to find out more about this process and the identification documents necessary for applying to take the knowledge or road test. Link to the hours for the Duluth road and knowledge testing center.
Please note that when issued a Drivers License on an student visa you will have a "Status Check Date" noted on your license. When issued with the license ensure that this date is 60 days after the program end date on your I-20. If a student uses the option of post-completion OPT (Optional Practical Training) then they will need to renew their license and have a new status check date noted, 60 days after the end date of the OPT.
How to become a College approved Driver
If you are a College approved driver, then you are able (with the permission from a College department, Club or organization) to drive one of the College fleet vehicles. In the fleet the College has 3 vans and 4 cars. It is also possible to request vehicles for use from the Admissions and Athletics departments.
In order to be a College approved driver you are required to have:
At this point your are eligible to apply for status as a College approved driver. To see the procedure for this and policies on College vehicle use, see the Facilities department Website.
State Identification Card (State ID)
A State ID is a picture identification card that acts as a legal form of identification. It is advisable that if you do not plan to apply for a Drivers permit or license immediately on arrival to the U.S. that a State ID would be very helpful. There are many circumstances in which picture identification is required in this country.
When writing a check or even using your bank check card or credit card, stores will often ask for identification. It is not advisable to carry your passport and home country driver's licenses and identification is not recognized easily or accepted. A State ID card will identify who you are, where you live and your date of birth. If you are under 21 (the legal age to buy and consume alcohol in the U.S.) this will be noted in bright red on your State ID. The ID card can be used to gain entry (if over 21 years of age) to a Club or Bar.
If you need assistance with any of the above information contact the Office of International Programs.