ID and Driverâ€™s License
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provides this fact sheet for international students about driving licenses and state ID's.
A Minnesota ID allows you to prove who you are without carrying your passport all of the time. This can be handy when traveling by airplane, entering a business that requires you be a certain age, when questioned by authorities, or at other times. It is not required, but many students find them convenient.
You can obtain a Minnesota state identification card at:
Clay County Motor Vehicle Department
1300 15th Ave N
Moorhead MN 56560
Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
You can get there by Moorhead bus route 4, but it may not be a designated bus stop. You are required to have a photo taken and show proper identification. Please be sure to read current requirements for ID. Passport with unexpired I-94 arrival and departure form, signed I-20, and Social Security Card are most likely the best choices to establish your identity and U.S. residency for international students. If you do not have a Social Security Card they will accept an official Concordia transcript along with a letter from Concordia indicating your date of birth. The initial application fee is $18.00.
Minnesota Driver’s License
A driving license is required only if you will operate a motor vehicle. Owning and operating a motor vehicle can be expensive and time consuming, and Concordia recommends you take advantage of other modes of transportation, such as the free bus service with your student ID and the taxi service. However, if you wish to obtain a driving license, here’s some helpful information.
If you have never had a license before, or have a license issued from a country other than the U.S. or Canada, you must pass a knowledge (written) test, vision check, and skill (road) test.
The knowledge test consists of multiple choice and true false questions that show how well you know and understand Minnesota traffic laws and road signs. Only one test is allowed per day. The knowledge test is available at Clay County Motor Vehicle Department. When you take the test, you need to show proper identification. Passport with unexpired I-94 arrival and departure form, signed I-20 form, and Social Security Card are most likely the best choices to establish your identity and U.S. residency for international students. If you do not have a Social Security Card they will accept an official Concordia transcript along with a letter indicating your date of birth.
The skill test consists of a demonstration of your vehicle’s safety equipment, your vehicle control skills and a driving performance test. You are tested on your ability to drive a motor vehicle safely under normal traffic conditions and rules. You many not have anyone in the car during the test other than the driver examiner. You are recommended to make an appointment for a skill test and cannot take the knowledge test and the skill test at the same day.
When you take a skill test:
• You need to show proper identification when you take the test.
• You need to provide your own vehicle to take the test.
• The passenger door must open from both the inside and the outside.
• Seatbelts must work properly.
• Turn signals, brake lights, and headlights must work.
• You must proof of insurance (such as an insurance certificate).
• Vision check is a test that determines if your vision meets minimum standards. It is not a medical exam. To pass, your normal or corrected vision must be at least 20/40 in either one usable eye or both eyes together. Your peripheral vision must be at least 105 degrees in either one or both eyes.
See the Minnesota Driver’s Manual.
Driver’s License Expiration
The licenses issued to F-1 students will have a status check date on it. While the wording is not especially clear, in fact the license is not valid beyond that date! If you are still in Minnesota when you reach the status check date, you need to visit the Motor Vehicle Department to extend your license.
1. If your license is issued to you as a student, the status check date should be the expected date of the completion of studies in Item 5 on your I-20.
2. If you are on OPT, the status check date should be the last day of your authorized employment
3. If you are on H-1B status, the status check date will be the expiration of that period of authorization.
If you go from student to OPT, or from OPT to H-1B, please be sure to make arrangements with MVD to extend your license. You are not considered legally licensed to drive if it is beyond the status check date. The state does NOT remind you of the need to do this.