How to Apply for a Driver's License

You must have a state driver’s license to drive a car in the U.S. As an international student at Miami University, you are establishing residency in the state of Ohio. Therefore, if you intend to drive in Ohio, you need to obtain your Ohio driver’s license, regardless of whether you have an international driver’s license.

An Ohio driver’s license will permit you to drive in the United States as long as the dates on the card are valid and you are maintaining residency. Here is a list of current Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) fees, but be aware that these are subject to change.

  1. If this is the first time that you have ever operated a vehicle, consider attending driving school before securing your driver’s license. You can search online for a variety of driving schools in the Oxford area, as well as Hamilton and Fairfield.
  2. Pass vision, written, and road tests.
    1. Download, study, and learn all material in the Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws. The Ohio BMV has a free online practice exam. DMV.org also has several free practice exams including one to check your knowledge of Road Signs.
    2. Take vision and written tests at a Driver Examination Station
      • For a listing of locations, please visit the BMV website
      • You must present the documents listed under Required Documents (below) at the time of the vision and written tests.
      • The written test can also be taken in the following languages (Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Somali, Arabic, English

If you pass the vision and written tests, you will be issued a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC) that is only valid for one year. With your temporary driving permit, you must drive with a valid driver (over the age of 21) and are not allowed to drive by yourself. You will receive a citation and your vehicle may be towed by the police if you do not have a valid driver in the car with you.

When you have developed your driving skills well enough, schedule a road test online. Please note that you will need to take your temporary permit to your road test.

If you pass the road test you will get an Ohio driver’s license. You will be asked to surrender your TIPCI at the time of the driver license issuance.

If you are a new student or a continuing student who is starting a new program, please wait at least two weeks after the semester begins to apply for a driver’s license. This delay will provide time for the government system to synchronize with the BMV’s database and update with your program details. Applying prior to this time frame may result in denial of your driver’s license.

Required Documents to Apply

Applicants must present current immigration or visa documents and proof of Ohio residency at each ID card or license issuance. The Ohio BMV requires the following items in order to take the vision and written tests, and apply for a temporary permit:

  • Valid passport
  • Visa (Exceptions: Canadians & Bermudians)
  • Form I-94 (can be printed from the CBP website)
  • Current and unexpired Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Proof of Social Security number (if you have one)
    • Example: a social security card or W-2 wage/tax form or 1099 income statement)
  • Proof of Ohio Residency (an official business or government document with Ohio home street address)
    • Example: a letter from the post office or a bank; a credit card statement; a checking, savings, or online bank statement issued within the last 60 days. The important thing is that it needs to have your current Ohio street address written correctly on the document.

For detailed information about obtaining an Ohio driver license or ID card, please visit the BMV website. To see which specific documents you can use to fulfill these requirements, please look at the Acceptable Documents List from the Ohio BMV.

Do you have a “Living Will”?

A “living will” is a written document that may be used in case a person can no longer communicate their decisions because of their health. Typically, the document includes details of how the person would like to receive medical treatment at the end of their life in case of an accident or serious change in health condition.

Do you want to be an “Organ Donor”?

An “organ donor” is someone who volunteers to donate their body parts to another person or to science in case of death.

Power of Attorney

A “power of attorney” is a written authorization by one person which permits another person to manage their life decisions if necessary. Typically, these letters need to be signed in front of a public notary to be official.

Lost or Stolen Driver’s License

If your driver’s license card is lost or stolen, you must take all of the same required documents above to the BMV to request a “duplicate” driver’s license card. Additionally, if your driver’s license card is stolen, you should report the incident to the police in case another person tries to use the card as false identification.

You are only permitted to request a duplicate license if your driver’s license card is lost or stolen.

Driver’s License Renewal

Your driver’s license will only be valid until the end date on your I-20 or DS-2019. If you receive a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a longer end date, you may renew your license with the new documentation. You should take the new I-20 or DS-2019, the old I-20 or DS-2019 and all of the documents used to apply for your first driver’s license to the BMV. You must do this BEFORE your current driver’s license expires.

Renewing while on OPT or in a Grace Period

If you are in your 60-day grace period and are leaving the U.S. during that period, you will not be able to renew your driver’s license after your I-20 end date.

If you are transferring to another university in Ohio or you are changing levels (example: from undergraduate to graduate) at Miami University, your driver’s license will be valid as long as your I-20 is valid. However, if the I-20 expires, you will not be able to renew your driver’s license until you have a new, valid I-20 regardless of your grace period.

If your I-20 has expired and your OPT request is pending, typically, you will not be able to renew your driver’s license until you have your OPT card. Contact the ISSS office for more information about the possibility of renewing your driver’s license with the OPT Receipt Notice.

If you have requested a STEM OPT Extension, you should be permitted to renew your driver’s license fairly easily. However, each state handles these requests a bit differently, so if you experience any issues, please contact the ISSS office for further guidance.

The hours for each BMV location vary. Oxford, Ohio is located in Butler County. Take a look at the Ohio BMV website to see a map of the Hamilton West location as well as find other BMV locations.

The two closest Ohio BMVs to Oxford are:

Agency #0944

138 N. Brookwood Ave
Hamilton (West), Ohio 45013
513-737-8262

***Offers full reinstatement service. Reinstatement is the process you would go through if your driver’s license were suspended for a period of time.

Hours

Monday—Friday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Saturday: 8 a.m.–12 p.m.

Agency #0918

1720-A S. Erie Blvd
Hamilton (East), Ohio 45011
513-868-2180

***Offers full reinstatement service.

***Offers one-stop shopping with driver exam station.

Hours

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Wednesday 8 a.m.–6 p.m.

Saturday 8 a.m.–2 p.m.

Students who sign on the parent/guardian line on the first page of the I-20 will probably not be able to get their driver’s license with this I-20.

Solution: ISSS will assist students by issuing another I-20 so you can re-sign in the correct place. Please submit a “Replace Lost Document” request in InterLink and explain in the notes why you require this document.

We have also heard of other individual concerns and issues. We encourage you to provide feedback on your experience. To assist us with advocating effectively, please be sure to take note of who you speak with at the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) if you experience a problem, the location, time, and date. This information is very helpful to our office.

How to Apply

  1. If this is the first time that you have ever operated a vehicle, consider attending driving school before securing your driver’s license. You can search online for a variety of driving schools in the Oxford area, as well as Hamilton and Fairfield.
  2. Pass vision, written, and road tests.
    1. Download, study, and learn all material in the Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws. The Ohio BMV has a free online practice exam. DMV.org also has several free practice exams including one to check your knowledge of Road Signs.
    2. Take vision and written tests at a Driver Examination Station
      • For a listing of locations, please visit the BMV website
      • You must present the documents listed under Required Documents (below) at the time of the vision and written tests.
      • The written test can also be taken in the following languages (Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Somali, Arabic, English

If you pass the vision and written tests, you will be issued a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC) that is only valid for one year. With your temporary driving permit, you must drive with a valid driver (over the age of 21) and are not allowed to drive by yourself. You will receive a citation and your vehicle may be towed by the police if you do not have a valid driver in the car with you.

When you have developed your driving skills well enough, schedule a road test online. Please note that you will need to take your temporary permit to your road test.

If you pass the road test you will get an Ohio driver’s license. You will be asked to surrender your TIPCI at the time of the driver license issuance.

If you are a new student or a continuing student who is starting a new program, please wait at least two weeks after the semester begins to apply for a driver’s license. This delay will provide time for the government system to synchronize with the BMV’s database and update with your program details. Applying prior to this time frame may result in denial of your driver’s license.

Required Documents to Apply

Applicants must present current immigration or visa documents and proof of Ohio residency at each ID card or license issuance. The Ohio BMV requires the following items in order to take the vision and written tests, and apply for a temporary permit:

  • Valid passport
  • Visa (Exceptions: Canadians & Bermudians)
  • Form I-94 (can be printed from the CBP website)
  • Current and unexpired Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Proof of Social Security number (if you have one)
    • Example: a social security card or W-2 wage/tax form or 1099 income statement)
  • Proof of Ohio Residency (an official business or government document with Ohio home street address)
    • Example: a letter from the post office or a bank; a credit card statement; a checking, savings, or online bank statement issued within the last 60 days. The important thing is that it needs to have your current Ohio street address written correctly on the document.

For detailed information about obtaining an Ohio driver license or ID card, please visit the BMV website. To see which specific documents you can use to fulfill these requirements, please look at the Acceptable Documents List from the Ohio BMV.

Common Terms and FAQs

Do you have a “Living Will”?

A “living will” is a written document that may be used in case a person can no longer communicate their decisions because of their health. Typically, the document includes details of how the person would like to receive medical treatment at the end of their life in case of an accident or serious change in health condition.

Do you want to be an “Organ Donor”?

An “organ donor” is someone who volunteers to donate their body parts to another person or to science in case of death.

Power of Attorney

A “power of attorney” is a written authorization by one person which permits another person to manage their life decisions if necessary. Typically, these letters need to be signed in front of a public notary to be official.

Lost or Stolen Driver’s License

If your driver’s license card is lost or stolen, you must take all of the same required documents above to the BMV to request a “duplicate” driver’s license card. Additionally, if your driver’s license card is stolen, you should report the incident to the police in case another person tries to use the card as false identification.

You are only permitted to request a duplicate license if your driver’s license card is lost or stolen.

Driver’s License Renewal

Your driver’s license will only be valid until the end date on your I-20 or DS-2019. If you receive a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a longer end date, you may renew your license with the new documentation. You should take the new I-20 or DS-2019, the old I-20 or DS-2019 and all of the documents used to apply for your first driver’s license to the BMV. You must do this BEFORE your current driver’s license expires.

Renewing while on OPT or in a Grace Period

If you are in your 60-day grace period and are leaving the U.S. during that period, you will not be able to renew your driver’s license after your I-20 end date.

If you are transferring to another university in Ohio or you are changing levels (example: from undergraduate to graduate) at Miami University, your driver’s license will be valid as long as your I-20 is valid. However, if the I-20 expires, you will not be able to renew your driver’s license until you have a new, valid I-20 regardless of your grace period.

If your I-20 has expired and your OPT request is pending, typically, you will not be able to renew your driver’s license until you have your OPT card. Contact the ISSS office for more information about the possibility of renewing your driver’s license with the OPT Receipt Notice.

If you have requested a STEM OPT Extension, you should be permitted to renew your driver’s license fairly easily. However, each state handles these requests a bit differently, so if you experience any issues, please contact the ISSS office for further guidance.

Where to Apply

The hours for each BMV location vary. Oxford, Ohio is located in Butler County. Take a look at the Ohio BMV website to see a map of the Hamilton West location as well as find other BMV locations.

The two closest Ohio BMVs to Oxford are:

Agency #0944

138 N. Brookwood Ave
Hamilton (West), Ohio 45013
513-737-8262

***Offers full reinstatement service. Reinstatement is the process you would go through if your driver’s license were suspended for a period of time.

Hours

Monday—Friday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Saturday: 8 a.m.–12 p.m.

Agency #0918

1720-A S. Erie Blvd
Hamilton (East), Ohio 45011
513-868-2180

***Offers full reinstatement service.

***Offers one-stop shopping with driver exam station.

Hours

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Wednesday 8 a.m.–6 p.m.

Saturday 8 a.m.–2 p.m.

Possible Problems

Students who sign on the parent/guardian line on the first page of the I-20 will probably not be able to get their driver’s license with this I-20.

Solution: ISSS will assist students by issuing another I-20 so you can re-sign in the correct place. Please submit a “Replace Lost Document” request in InterLink and explain in the notes why you require this document.

We have also heard of other individual concerns and issues. We encourage you to provide feedback on your experience. To assist us with advocating effectively, please be sure to take note of who you speak with at the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) if you experience a problem, the location, time, and date. This information is very helpful to our office.