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 submit an application to the SSA

  • Request a letter from the PDSO confirming your work eligibility
  • Search for, apply for, and obtain a job on campus. To find on-campus employment options, visit the Career Services web page. Once you’ve landed a job, you must obtain a supervisor letter.
  • Contact a local SSA to schedule an application appointment:
  • Fill out the SS-5 Social Security application form (For question 5, you should mark "Legal Alien Allowed To Work", and leave 9b and 10b blank unless your parents have Social Security Numbers.)
  • Bring your PDSO and Supervisor employment letters, SS-5 Social Security application form, passport, visa (not applicable to Canadian students), Form I-20, I-94, and SUNY Morrisville ID to the Social Security Office.

Your Social Security card should arrive in 3-6 weeks.

Be sure to provide an accurate mailing address or PO box, and keep an eye out for this envelope. Your on-campus mailing address should look like this:

First and Last Name
Room # and Building Name
SUNY Morrisville
PO Box 901
Morrisville, NY 13408

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!

Once you receive your Social Security card, be sure to notify the PDSO, your supervisor, and the HR office at SUNY Morrisville for further instruction.

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 a letter of ineligibility 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 (except for Canadian citizens)
  • I-94
  • I-20 (bring all old I-20s as well)
  • Social Security card or denial letter from the Social Security Administration
  • SUNY Morrisville ID

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 quality of the services they provide.

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