International Student Services

Division of Student Life

State IDs, Driver’s Licenses and Social Security Numbers

Oregon State IDs and Driver’s Licenses

ISS recommends that international students in the United States obtain an Oregon state ID or driver's license while studying at Reed. The ID or license is considered government ID in the U.S. and is more portable and much easier and less expensive to replace than a foreign passport. Students on F-1 and J-1 visas are allowed to drive in the United States, but must obtain a driver's license.

In order to get an ID or driver's license, you must provide proof of your identification and residence status in Oregon. You should bring your passport with your visa in it, I-20 form, and a letter from Residence Life or copy of your off-campus residence lease confirming your residence status (you can obtain a letter by asking at the Residence Life desk at 28 West or emailing Residence Life). You must also complete a Driver License/Permit/ID Card Application, which you can print out and complete before going to the DMV. Finally, at the DMV, you must pay a fee for the ID or driver’s license.

Students applying for a driver's licence must take and pass a vision screening test, a written and practical (driving) exam. You must provide your own car for the driving exam. If you have a valid driver’s license issued by a U.S. state, U.S. territory, Germany, South Korea or Taiwan, your driving test may be waived.

If you do not already know how to drive, you may want to learn and apply for a learner’s permit. Some students find that receiving lessons through a company (and taking the test through that company) is most helpful, especially if they do not have access to a car. This website provides a list of Oregon DMV’s approved driver’s education companies.

The fee to take a driving exam is $9, and you will be charged $60 for your license once you have passed all the requirements. The closest options to campus are the Portland Downtown (1502 SW Sixth Ave) and Portland Southeast (8710 SE Powell Blvd) locations. For other locations, visit the Oregon DMV website.

Social Security Numbers

Social Security numbers are assigned to people who are authorized to work in the United States. Social Security numbers are used to report your wages to the government. You will not be assigned a number just because you are enrolled in a U.S. college or school.

Students are able (and required) to obtain a Social Security number only if they have an offer of employment. For students working on campus, once you have been offered an on-campus position, you will be contacted by the Business Office to complete the necessary paperwork for on-campus work. At this time, you will be provided with the documentation and guidance needed to visit the Social Security Office in downtown Portland to get a Social Security number. You must get this number in order to be paid for your work on campus.

Students applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) may request a Social Security number within the OPT application if you have not previously applied for a number.