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The Lehigh Valley is a fun place to explore, but getting around is not always easy.

An international driving permit is strongly recommended but not required. If you are from France or Germany, you may transfer your valid driver’s license with only a vision test.

Depending on your needs, you may decide to get a Pennsylvania driver's license or a photo identification card. Both are issued by PennDOT. Stop by OISS if you have any questions about the process. We are happy to help!

New students and scholars: Please note that you must wait at least 10 days from the date of entry into the U.S. to visit PennDOT.

Section 1

Getting a Driver's License

According to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), international students may drive in Pennsylvania with a valid home country driver’s license for up to one year from their date of initial entry into the United States. The home country license must be in English to be used in the United States.

To get a Pennsylvania driver’s license, you must apply for an initial Learner's Permit and take a knowledge test, which asks questions about Pennsylvania's driving laws, traffic signs and safe driving practices. Use the Pennsylvania Driver's Manual to study for the test. You may also try some practice tests here

Once you have the Learner's Permit and you have practiced safe driving skills, you can take the road test. Schedule a road test online or by calling PennDOT at 1-800-423-5542.

To get a Learner's Permit, visit a PennDOT Driver License Center with the following documents:

  1. Immigration documents:

    • Passport

    • Visa

    • I-94

    • I-20 or DS-2019 or I797 (H-1B approval) which must be valid for at least one year when you apply. Dependents on F-2, J-2 or H-4 visas must also have a copy of the F-1, J-1 or H-1B’s immigration documents.

  2. A letter from OISS, which must be used within 30 days of the date on the letter. Request the letter through iHome under the "General Services" tab.

  3. Social Security card or a rejection letter from the Social Security Office at 555 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018. Spouses and dependents can also receive a rejection letter. You must present this letter with your Learner’s Permit application.

  4. Two proofs of residency, such as your lease contract and a utility bill sent to your current address. You cannot have two proofs of residency from the same source in the same month. For example, you can have one from the gas company and one from the electric company in the same month or two from the gas company in separate months. The letter from OISS can serve as a proof of residency only if you receive it by mail. This letter is valid for only 30 days from the date of issue.

  5. Learner's Permit Application

  6. Physician's Report: You need to schedule an appointment with a physician at the Health Center in Johnson Hall to complete the top portion of the second page of your learner's permit application. The fee is $30. A physician's report is not necessary for license renewal. J-1 visiting scholars can go to one of the local urgent care center to complete the Physician’s Report.

    1. J-1 visiting scholars can pay for a physical at: Airport Road EmergiCenter (1791 Airport Road, Allentown, PA, 18109)

  7. Check or money order for the correct fees. You must pay PennDOT with a check (payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) or a money order. Cash or debit cards are not accepted.

 

To renew your license, you must go through the same process as stated above. However, the additional form DL-143 must be filled out for renewal.

Section 2

Getting a State Identification Card

PennDOT can also issue state identification card, which does not allow the holder to drive. If you would like an ID card, fill out the DL-54A application and visit a PennDOT Driver License Center with the following items:

  1. Immigration documents:

    • Passport

    • Visa

    • I-94

    • I-20 or DS-2019 or I797 (H-1B approval) which must be valid for at least one year when you apply. Dependents on F-2, J-2 or H-4 visas must also have a copy of the F-1, J-1 or H-1B’s immigration documents.

  2. A letter from OISS, which must be used within 30 days of the date on the letter. Request the letter through iHome under the "General Services" tab.

  3. Social Security card or a rejection letter from the Social Security Office at 555 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018. Spouses and dependents can also receive a rejection letter. You must present this letter with your State ID Card application.

  4. Two proofs of residency, such as your lease contract and a utility bill sent to your current address. You cannot have two proofs of residency from the same source in the same month. For example, you can have one from the gas company and one from the electric company in the same month or two from the gas company in separate months. The letter from OISS can serve as a proof of residency only if you receive it by mail. This letter is valid for only 30 days from the date of issue.

  5. Check or money order for the correct fees. You must pay PennDOT with a check (payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) or a money order. Cash or debit cards are not accepted.

PENNDOT LOCATIONS AND HOURS

PennDOT has Driver License Centers throughout the state. The centers closest to Lehigh are:

Allentown Office (Google Map)

1710 Hoover Ave.
Allentown, PA 18019
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 8:30 am - 4:15pm
Telephone: (610) 264-3242

Easton Office (Google Map)

2473 Nazareth Rd
Easton, PA 18045
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 8:30 am – 4:15 pm
Telephone: (717) 412-5300

If you have any questions, just stop by OISS or email intnl@lehigh.edu.