Driving in Ohio

Is it possible for international students to obtain a driver’s license in the State of Ohio?

Yes, international students are able to obtain a driver’s license and operate a motor vehicle in the State of Ohio.

How can an international student get a driver’s license?

Step 1

Get a copy of The Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws from any Bureau of Motor Vehicles or download it from the website http://bmv.ohio.gov/

Step 2

Study and learn the motor vehicle laws and regulations in the handbook. 

Step 3

Take the vision test, and written test at the nearest Deputy Registrar’s Office. Remember to check that the location you are going to will meet your needs. Many BMVs do not offer on-site testing. Go to the website bmv.ohio.gov to find out if the test location offers driver’s license tests. Remember to take identification with you.

The written test consists of two parts: regulations, and traffic signs. You can take it multiple times until you pass it. The questions are multiple choice and are based on the material in the digest. You must answer at least 75 percent of the questions correctly. If you pass the vision, and written test, you will be issued a TEMPORARY INSTRUCTION PERMIT IDENTIFICATION CARD (TIPIC) which authorizes you to operate the vehicle on the street; however, you can only operate the motor vehicle if and only if there is a licensed driver 21 years of age or older seated in the front seat beside you. REMEMBER, TIPIC is JUST a temporary license. It will expire one year from the date of issuance. You must take a road test to obtain an Ohio driver’s license. If you have not driven before, you are required to practice driving before taking the road test.

Step 4

Contact the nearest exam station to schedule a road test after you have developed your road driving skills. You can find an exam station at bmv.ohio.gov

The road test has two parts: driving test, and maneuverability test. You must pass both tests in order to have your driver’s license issued.

Notice: The exam station will not provide a vehicle for testing. You need to have an eligible vehicle to be able to take the road test. Refer to The Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws, vehicle equipment regulation section, to check if your vehicle is eligible for testing.  

What are the required documents for international students to get a driver’s license?

  • A valid passport
  • I-94
  • US visa
  • Valid I-20
  • Proof of address

How can international students practice without a car?

You can ask a licensed driver (friend, relative, etc.) who must be 21 years of age or older and who has a registered and insured car to help you to practice for your road test. The person must be present in the car during your practice.  If you practice without a licensed driver in the car and are caught, your temporary instruction permit identification card may be revoked.

Or:

You can take a driver’s education course. The course will help you develop many driving skills for the road test. Keep in mind that you are required to pay tuition to the driving school. The range of the cost might depend on the driving school, and program you choose. The cost ranges from $100 to $400. Contact the school and discuss your needs with someone there. 

There are several driving schools around Dayton, OH:
D & D Driving School Inc.
B Safe Driving Education LLC
Wheeler Driving School
and more…

What if international students do not have a registered and insured vehicle for the road test?

You can borrow a vehicle from your acquaintances or relatives if they are willing to lend their car to you. Make sure the vehicle you are going to use for testing will pass the vehicle equipment regulations in The Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws before taking it to the exam station. Remember, the owner of the vehicle must accompany you to the exam station. Many driving schools will offer to lend school vehicles to their students for the road test. If you plan to take a driving course, make sure to discuss this matter with the school before enrolling.