UCI International Center

Driving in the U.S.

Section 1

If you plan to drive in California and/or purchase a car or other motor vehicle it is highly recommended that you get a California Driver's License. 

How to Apply for a California Driver License

  1. Review the latest California Driver Handbook, forms, and instructions on how to apply for a California Driver License on the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website.
  2. Read the important information on the DMV website including the California Driver Handbook, read and review sample exams. You may also be required to take a driving test.
  3. For faster service you may want to schedule an appointment at the DMV Office.
  4. Bring the following documents:
    • Form I-20 for F-1; or DS-2019 for J-1; or Notice of Action (I-797 Approved Petition) for H-1B
    • Passport
    • Visa in passport (Candadian citizens do not have a visa in the passport)
    • I-94 Document
    • Two documents that provide proof of residency in California

California State Identification Card

If you are not planning to drive, you may choose to apply for a California Identification Card, which will include your photo and date of birth information. This card can be used for identification purposes. Please review the requirements for applying for this card.

Local DMV Offices

Location Address
Costa Mesa 650 W. 19th Street
Costa Mesa, CA
Laguna Hills 23535 Moulton Parkway
Laguna Hills, CA
Santa Ana 1330 E. 1st Street
Santa Ana, CA


Buying a Car

California Department of Motor Vehicles

California DMV YouTube Channel

Driving in the United States

Insurance Requirement for Vehicle Registration