You must have a valid driver’s license in order to drive in the United States. Driver’s license’s are issued by state motor vehicle agencies. Most students attending Rutgers University-Camden obtain either a New Jersey or Pennsylvania license. Before applying for a driver’s license, be sure to check the requirements for the state in which you reside/live. 

How to obtain a New Jersey driver’s license:

  • If you do not have a Social Security Card, you must provide proof that you are authorized to be in the US. This is a copy of your I-20, passport, I-94, and a letter from the OIS stating that you are in good standing at Rutgers-Camden (Please complete the Immigration Verification Form). Take these documents to the local Social Security Office and they will issue you a “Letter of Ineligibility.”

  • You must obtain a driver’s permit from the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). Please check the locations before you visit. Bring the following to the MVC:

  • Your foreign license (if you already have one) Note:You are not required to surrender your foreign driver’s license when MVC issues your New Jersey driver license.

  • Your Social Security Card OR a “Letter of Ineligibility”

  • Passport with visa stamp (or approval letter for change of status)  

Please use the MVC Document Selector to help you select documents required to pass the 6 Point ID Verification. All documents must be original or certified copies.

If you cannot show proof of previous driving experience you must complete the Graduated Driver License (GDL) program, which introduces driving privileges in phases, to obtain a basic license, requiring you to pass various tests. If you are under 21 years old or have never had a driver’s license, New Jersey requires that you complete a period of supervised driving before getting a basic driver’s license. Before practice driving the permit holder must have the permit validated at any MVC Driver Testing Center. After you get a driver’s permit, you can visit a Driver Testing Center to take a vision test, knowledge test and possibly a road test if required. For more details, Please read all information at 

How to obtain a Pennsylvania Driver’s License: 

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) requires that non-immigrants’ entry documents (I-20, DS-2019, or I-797) have a program completion date of at least one year to be eligible for a Pennsylvania ID Card or Driver’s License.  

*You may also need to wait 10 days from date of entry into the U.S. before applying for a driver’s license. 

**You may download the Driver’s License application forms from the PA Division of Motor Vehicles.

***Pennsylvania has a special reciprocity agreement with France and Germany. French and German nationals should inquire with PennDOT for details.

You will need to show the following documents to obtain a Pennsylvania Driver’s License or ID Card.

  • Your social security card. (If you are not eligible for a social security number, please see information above under New Jersey.) 

  • Bring two of the following items as proof of residency in Pennsylvania:

      • Current utility bills (for example, electric, cable, telephone, etc., but not cell phone bills) — Online billing statements are not acceptable. You may use two of the same type of utility bill as long as they are for two different months.

      • Tax records

      • Lease agreements or proof of residency letter from the housing office for on-campus students

      • W-2 forms

      • Mortgage documents

      • Car insurance statements

      • Current weapons permit

      • If you have only one of the above-mentioned documents, a bank statement with your PA address may be acceptable.

  • Your original immigration documents to verify your status and authenticate your duration of stay:

    • I-20 (F-1), DS-2019(J-1)

    • EAD (if any)

    • Your valid passport

    • I-94 printout (if issued electronic I-94), Refer to the automated I-94 process

    • Your US Entry Visa (used for last entry) and/or approved change of status notice 

Obtaining and Driving with a Pennsylvania Learner’s Permit
  • To get a Learner’s Permit, first obtain a Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual and study it. 
  • You will need to complete the front of the Non-Commercial Learner’s Permit Application (DL-180) found in the Driver’s manual.

  • Your medical provider must complete the back of the application (DL-180). You will need to pass the Vision, Knowledge and Road Tests.

You may drive with the Temporary Learner’s Permit:

  • You must be accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years of age or older.

  • This driver must ride in the front passenger seat of the vehicle.

  • Once you have this Learner’s Permit, you can schedule a driving skills test when you feel that you are ready.

  • All Driver License Centers in the Philadelphia area require appointments to take the skills test. Please call 1-800-932-4600 to schedule an appointment.