Getting a Driver's License or SSN

Information for international students who need to acquire a social security number (SSN) or a New York State driver's license or identification card.

Social Security Number (SSN)

A Social Security number is a taxpayer identification number issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA). A Social Security Number is intended to accurately record your earnings in the United States.

Application Process

Important Note: All new students have to wait at least two weeks after their arrival in the United States to apply for a Social Security Number. You must check in with the PDSO and you must be registered in SEVIS before you can apply to the SSA.

  1. Search for, apply and obtain a job on campus. To find on-campus employment options, visit the Career Services web page. Once you’ve secured a position, you must obtain an employment letter from your supervisor.
  2. Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) card by starting the process online at After you enter the required information, you must present your original documents to the local Social Security office within 45 days. When using the online application, you may request an appointment to visit the local Social Security office to present your documents. If you’re uncertain about the location of the local Social Security office, go to, select Locate an Office by ZIP, enter your ZIP Code and select Locate. Most Social Security offices are open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
  3. Go to your scheduled Social Security appointment. Make sure to bring the following documents with you:
    • Employment Letter
    • Passport
    • Visa (not applicable to Canadian citizens)
    • Form I-20
    • I-94
    • SUNY Morrisville ID Card
  4. Your Social Security card should arrive in 2-4 weeks. Be sure to provide an accurate mailing address or PO Box, and check your mail regularly while waiting for your card. This is a very important document that is yours forever. Sign the card as soon as you receive it and keep track of your card and number at all times!
  5. Once you receive your Social Security card, be sure to notify the PDSO, your supervisor and the HR office at SUNY Morrisville for further instructions.

As a reminder, you are not allowed to work off campus without authorization from the PDSO and U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. Working off-campus without authorization is a violation of F-1 visa status.

Driver's License and New York State Photo ID

If you want to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain a learner’s permit (the first step in getting your driver’s license) or photo ID, you must have either a Social Security number (see above) or NSS-1A (Affidavit Stating No Social Security Number) to apply.

How to Apply

You should complete the MV-44 form. (The form is also available in Spanish, Chinese, and Bengali at You must present 6 points of identity. For most students this will be:

  • Passport
  • Visa (not applicable to Canadian citizens)
  • I-94
  • I-20 (bring all old I-20s, as well)
  • Social Security card or NSS-1A (Affidavit Stating No Social Security Number)
  • SUNY Morrisville ID Card

All documents must be original and not photocopies. See this complete list of all acceptable documents via Form ID-44.

To obtain your learner's permit, you must first pass a written test. Before taking the test, you should review the study guide and other details. The test should take approximately 30 minutes, depending on your speed.

It is important that you bring all of your documents with you, along with the fully completed MV-44 form. The wait time at the DMV can be very lengthy, and if you do not have the necessary documents or the form completed, they will send you away.

Driving School information

Oneida Driving School
215 Driftwood Dr., Oneida, NY 13421
Phone: 315-363-8733

Gigliotti's Utica Driving School
9396 Roberts Rd., Sauquoit, NY 13456
Phone: 315-737-5049

The driving school information on this page is intended for general informational purposes only. SUNY Morrisville is not responsible for the individual communication with these schools nor the quality of the services they provide.