Texas Tech University

Texas Driver's Licenses & ID Cards

Texas Photo Identification Card

Students and scholars who do not plan to drive in the U.S. should apply for a Texas Photo Identification Card at the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). This card is not related to driving. It is useful as identification when a photo ID is required. There is a  fee for this card.

You will need the following documents in order to make your application:

  • Passport
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • Form I-94
  • Completed application
  • If you have a Social Security Number (SSN), present your Social Security card at the time of application. However, an SSN is not necessary to apply for a Texas ID.
  • You may be asked to show two items proving your current address, such as a lease or piece or mail with your name and address (cable, gas or electric bills are good choices). To avoid difficulties at DPS, ensure that your address matches on each document, including the room or apartment number. Your room number must be included if you live in a dormitory.

Driver’s License for International Visitors (F-1 and J-1)

Students and scholars who will be in the U.S. for longer than 30 days and plan to drive a car should obtain a Texas Driver’s License at the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Access to a car, knowledge of Texas driving regulations, as well as testable driving skills are basic requirements for a driver’s license. You must provide your own vehicle when taking the driving test.

Take the following steps to obtain your driver’s license:

  1. Study the information about traffic laws in the Texas Driver’s Handbook, which is available in both English and Spanish, from the Department of Public Safety (DPS), as well as  on-line.
  2. Take the written and in-car examinations for driving at any DPS office. If you do not have a driver’s license from another state, you must take both a written and a driving test. There is an fee, valid for three opportunities to take the test within a 90-day period.
  3. You can monitor the progress of your secondary verification on the SAVE verification website. Be sure to ask DPS or SSA when you can return for services after your case has been resolved. Although your case may be resolved in SAVE, the information may take additional time to sync with agency databases.
  4. Pay the  fee for your Driver’s License.
  5. You will need the following documents in order to make your application:
    • Passport
    • I-20 or DS-2019
    • Form I-94
    • Completed application
    • Social Security card (if you are eligible to obtain an SSN). If you are not eligible for an SSN, you will need to sign a “Social Security Affidavit” at the DPS office when applying for your Texas Driver’s License.
    • You may be asked to show two items proving your current address, such as a lease or piece or mail with your name and address (cable, gas or electric bills are good choices). To avoid difficulties at DPS, ensure that your address matches on each document, including the room or apartment number. Your room number must be included if you live in a dormitory.

For more detailed information and links for how to apply please visit the Department of Public Safety's web page

Note: If you own a car but do not have insurance, you will NOT be permitted to apply for a driver’s license. If possible, it is recommended that you apply for a driver’s license before you purchase a car.


Problems with Student and Scholar Visa Status Verification

Sometimes the officer assisting you at DPS may not be able to immediately verify your valid student or scholar visa status. Students or scholars in F-1 or J-1 status make up a small number of the visitors to DPS and unusual verification issues may require expertise to resolve. If the DPS officer is not able to verify your status in the SAVE system, you should politely ask to speak with a supervisor. If a supervisor is not able to verify your valid student status, DPS should initiate a secondary verification process. For detailed information about this, please refer to our SAVE Verification page.

Helpful link regarding the SAVE verification process:

How to complete lawful presence verification

Here are some common reasons students and scholars are not able to get a Texas ID or driver’s license on the first try:

  1. You have gone to the DPS office too early. After you arrive in the U.S., the International Student and Scholar office counselor must update your SEVIS record (I-20 or DS-2019) to show that you are here and that you have checked in with our office. So, before going to DPS you must check-in with your international student or scholar counselor at ISSS.  Students should also plan to wait at least 10 days from entering the U.S.  before visiting DPS. J-1 scholars should wait at least 10 days from entering the U.S. and 3 days after attending the J-1 Scholar Orientation/Check-in. Transfer students will need to wait at least two days after checking in before visiting DPS.
  2. Inconsistencies in your immigration documents. If your name on your I-20 or DS-2019 does not match your passport exactly, please bring this to the attention of your international student or scholar counselor before visiting DPS.
  3. You have a pending status change or OPT application. If you are changing to a new immigration status or you are applying for OPT, it may be difficult for the DPS officer to verify your valid status. If this is the case for you, be sure to ask to meet with a supervisor at DPS. Even if you meet with a supervisor, additional research may be required to verify your status. If this is the case, the DPS officer will initiate secondary status verification. You will need to present your I-797C receipt notice from USCIS in order to process secondary verification. Make an appointment with an international student or scholar counselor if you have difficulties. You should expect delays in the processing of your driver’s license or Texas ID if: you have a pending OPT or STEM OPT application, you have a cap gap I-20, or you have a pending change of status application.

Driver’s License for International Dependents

International dependents (F-2, J-2, H-4, etc.) can obtain a Texas Driver’s License at the Texas Department of Public Safety Office (DPS). Access to a car, knowledge of Texas driving regulations, and testable driving skills are basic requirements for a driver’s license. You must provide your own vehicle when taking the driving test.

Take the following steps to obtain your driver’s license:

  1. If you are eligible to obtain an SSN (i.e. you are a J-2 dependent and have work authorization), take your EAD (Employment Authorization Document), passport, Form I-94 and DS-2019 to the Social Security Administration to apply for an SSN. It will take approximately two to four weeks to obtain your Social Security card. If you are not eligible for an SSN (i.e. you are an F-2 or H-4 dependent, or a J-2 dependent without work authorization), you will need to sign a “Social Security Affidavit” at the DPS office when applying for your Texas Driver’s License. Note: If you have already obtained an SSN from a previous visit to the U.S., you will not need to go to the Social Security Office. Simply present your Social Security card to the DPS when applying for your driver’s license.
  2. Follow steps 1 -3 of "Driver’s license for international visitors (F-1 and J-1)"
  3. You will need the following documents in order to make your application:
    • Passport
    • I-20 or DS-2019
    • Form I-94 Spouse’s current enrollment letter (if you are a dependent of a student)
    • Social Security card (if applicable)
    • Completed application

Texas Department of Public Safety

Regular office hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Texas Department of Public Safety Drivers License Division: 1404 Lubbock Business Park Blvd #100, Lubbock, TX 79403

International Affairs