How to Get a Driver's License Without a Social Security Numberby Mary Jane Freeman
Whether or not you can get a driver's license without a Social Security number depends on where you live. Although having a SSN is a standard requirement nationwide, a handful of states will make an exception if a license applicant can meet additional requirements. These requirements vary between states, but a common one is for the driver to provide proof he is ineligible for a Social Security number but still legally authorized to be in the U.S.
Proof of Social Security Number
As part of the driver's license application process, you usually need to provide proof of your Social Security number. Acceptable proof varies between states, but an original Social Security card is typically required. Some states, such as Indiana, will accept alternative proof in the form of a Form W-2, Form SSA-1099 or Non-SSA 1099, or pay stub with your name and SSN. If you have none of these items and your state requires a SSN to obtain a driver's license, you must apply for a SSN if you're eligible for one. If not, you can't get a driver's license in your state.
Social Security Number Substitute
Even if you don't have a Social Security number, you can still apply for a driver's license in some states. In Texas, for example, you must submit an affidavit declaring that you either don't have a SSN, were never issued a SSN, or are ineligible for a SSN. However, Texas won't issue you a license if your reason for not having a SSN is because you're ineligible for one. In Connecticut and Illinois, you can get a license without a SSN by submitting a letter from the Social Security Administration stating you are ineligible for a SSN. In California, you can also get a license without a SSN. However, you don't have to provide either an affidavit or SSA letter. Instead, you must provide the Department of Motor Vehicles with documentation that you're legally authorized to be in the United States. Acceptable documents include a U.S. passport, certificate of naturalization or citizenship, and legal permanent resident card, routinely called a green card.
Turn in your affidavit or SSA letter to the DMV at the same time you turn in your license application. You will also be required to submit proof of your identity, state residence and U.S. citizenship or lawful residence in the U.S. Documents routinely accepted for these purposes include government-issued identification, such as a passport, military ID or birth certificate, lease or mortgage agreement, and visa if you're a foreign citizen.
Although the exact rules vary by state, the final requirements for a driver's license are usually the successful completion of vision, driving laws and road skills exams. If you had a driver's license in the past, some or all of these requirements may be waived.
- Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles: Secure ID Documents
- U.S. Social Security Administration: Learn What Documents You Need To Get A Social Security Card
- Texas Department of Public Safety: Social Security Number (SSN)
- Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles: Frequently Asked Questions on Drivers' Licenses and Learners' Permits
- University of Illinois at Chicago, Office of International Services: Driver's License
- California Department of Motor Vehicles: Driver License and Identification Card Information
- California Department of Motor Vehicles: Social Security Number
- Texas Department of Public Safety: Texas Driver License or Identification Document Requirements
- U.S. Social Security Administration: New or Replacement Social Security Card
- California Department of Motor Vehicles: Documents Required to Apply for a Driver License
- AAA Digest of Motor Laws: Drivers License Issuance/Application
- National Conference of State Legislatures: States Offering Driver's Licenses to Immigrants
Things You'll Need
- Proof of residency
- Taxpayer identification form
- Social Security Administration letter
- Proof of identity
Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.