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Applying for a Social Security Card, Driver’s License or ID

Social Security Card

Recently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has implemented a new policy that social security numbers are issued to international students for the purpose of employment only. Therefore, the SSA is requesting schools to verify that students are in need of a social security number for employment by issuing a letter addressed to the SSA office. In order for F-1 students to receive a social security letter from International Students Services, a student must have a letter on company letterhead with an official signature from either an on- or off-campus prospective employer offering the student a job.

Students should remember to take:

  • GEO social security letter
  • Employment offer letter
  • On-campus Employment Authorization (green authorization form from GEO to work on campus)
  • Original immigration documents (Form I-20, passport, visa, I-94)

The Plattsburgh Social Security Office Location:

Social Security Administration Office
Gateway Building
Suite 230
14 Durkee Street Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Find on Google Maps
Toll-Free Phone: 866-964-7430
Phone: 518-562-5421

Please note that F-1 students must wait at least 15 days after entering the United States to submit a Social Security card application. However, the SSA office takes between 2 to 4 weeks to process the Social Security application and send an official Social Security number card to students.

Please visit the Social Security Administration website for further social security information related to international students.

Getting a New York State Driver’s License

Step One: Obtain the New York State Learner’s Permit

  1. Read the New York State Driver’s Manual and Study Guide and study for the written exam.
  2. Go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to take the written exam. The DMV is located at 137 Margaret Street. Bring the following documents with you:
    • Passport
    • F-1 Visa (Not required for Canadian students)
    • Form I-20
    • Form I-94 (small white card)
    • Student ID
    • Official SUNY Plattsburgh transcripts
    • United States Social Security Card. If you do not have a U.S. Social Security Number, you must:
      • Request a letter from GEO stating that you are not eligible for a Social Security Number
      • Take the letter to the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 14 Durkee Street.
      • The SSA will print a second letter saying that you are ineligible for a Social Security Number
      • Take this letter to the DMV with the other documents listed above.
  3. Pay the required fees — For most international students the fees for the New York State Learner’s Permit and License will be between $67 USD and $90 USD. You will only pay once for both your New York State Learner’s Permit and License, if you choose to complete the licensing process. For a complete list of fees see the Driver’s License Fee Schedule.

Step Two: Practice Driving

Once you have obtained your New York State Learner’s Permit you may drive with someone who already has a New York State Driver’s License AND is 21 years or older. The DMV recommends that all learners have a minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice driving before they take their road tests, with at least 15 hours at night (after sunset). It is also recommended that at least 10 hours of supervised practice driving be in moderate to heavy traffic. For more information for new driver’s visit: New Drivers: How to Get Your Driver License.

Step Three: Take the Five-Hour Pre-Licensing Course

Before taking the road test all holders of a New York State Learner’s Permit must take and pass the Five-Hour Pre-Licensing Course and obtain the MV-278 certificate. Five-Hour Pre-Licensing courses are offered through the Northern New York Driving Academy located at 8 Colorado Avenue.

Step Four: Take the Road Test

  1. Read the Road Test Tips & Practice Guide to prepare for your road test.
  2. Be sure that you have mastered the following driving skills:
    • Steering Acceleration
    • Braking
    • Shifting/Clutch/Gears
    • Speed
    • Following Distance
    • Traffic Control Devices
    • Stopping Position
    • Lane Selection and Position Communication
    • Observation
    • Anticipation and Reaction to other vehicles ’ movements
  3. Schedule your road test online, using your MV-278 and your N.Y. Learner’s Permit. You can visit the Road Test Scheduling System to complete this process.
  4. Once you have taken and passed your Road Test the DMV will send issue you a paper copy of your Driver’s License; your Driver’s License card should come to you by mail within about two weeks of passing the Road Test.

Non-Driver State Photo ID

An international student who does not have a driver license can apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for a non-driver state photo ID card. He/She must provide originals of the following documents for a total of 6 points in order to apply for the non-driver state photo ID card:

  1. A valid passport with your visa and form I-94 with status code F1 or F2 and form I-20. You must show your original entry document and any extension document stamped by the USCIS with form I-20 (worth 3 points)
  2. A U.S. Social Security card that shows your signature (worth 2 points)
  3. A U.S. college photo ID card and an academic transcript (worth 2 points)
  4. A supermarket check-cashing card, bank card or bank statement (worth 1 point)
  5. A utility bill including the bursar’s bill (worth 1 point)
  6. If you do not have a Social Security number, you must provide a letter or form SSA-L676 from the U.S. Social Security
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