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Driver's License

Step 1: Social Security Number or Letter of Ineligibility

  • First you will need your Social Security Number (SSN) or a letter from the Social Security Administration stating that you are not eligible for a SSN. In order to receive a "letter of ineligibility" you will request it from the Social Security Administration Office in Lexington.  
  • If you have a job already, please follow the SSN instructions for F-1 students or J-1 students in order to obtain a social security number. Only students with approved employment authorization are eligible for a social security card. 

Step 2: Letter from International Student Scholar Services (ISSS)

  • You will need a letter of support from ISSS that states you are a student in good standing at the University of Kentucky. 
  • Select the "Letter Request" e-form in iCAT and choose the "Driver's License/State ID Card" option. 
  • When your letter is ready, you will receive an approval email.

Step 3: Visit the Lexington Regional Office

  • Student and scholars will attend appointments at the Lexington Office.  The address is:  

    141 Leestown Center Way, Ste. 115 

    Lexington, KY 40511 

    Phone: 859-963-4018 

    To schedule an appointment (there are currently no walk-ins) to obtain a new Kentucky Driver’s License or Permit or to renew an existing license, use the following link:

    When you arrive for your appointment, please be sure to call again to indicate you have arrived rather than walking in. 

  • Bring cash for payment. They do not accept checks or credit cards.  Fees vary and are subject to change, so it is advisable to bring at least $60 with you. 
  • You will also need proof of address. This should be a piece of mail addressed to you that has been post-marked within 30 days and delivered through the U.S. Postal Service. If you have not received any mail yet, you can mail yourself a letter and bring that with you after it has been delivered. 
  • To know which items will be needed, non-US citizens should pick their visa type from the drop-down on this website: (scroll down to *Required Documentation). 
  •  If you have not held a Kentucky Driver’s License in the past, you will be required to take the written, vision, and driving tests. 
  • NOTE: Non-immigrants are not allowed to register to vote. Please check "NO" when asked in your application. 

    For more information about obtaining a driver's license, visit

    Global Lex has provided a Driver’s Education for English Learners series on YouTube in French, Arabic and Swahili. Students or dependents who need additional help preparing for the written exam may find these helpful. 

Social Security

Step 1

F-1 Students: Select the "Letter Request" e-form in iCAT and choose the "SSN Request (For F-1 Students Only)" option.

J-1 Students: Submit an On-Campus Employment authorization request

Step 2

When your letter is ready, you will receive an approval email with instructions. 

Step 3

Collect either: 

  • A recent UK Payroll Earning/Deduction OR 

  • An employment letter from your supervisor which includes: 

    • Name of student employee 

    • Description of the employment 

    • Anticipated or actual employment start date no more than 30 days in the future at the time of application for an SSN 

    • Number of hours the student is expected to work 

    • Employer identity number (EIN) 

    • Employer contact information, including the telephone number and the name of the F1 student’s immediate supervisor 

    • Verification of the employment status (i.e. student has been hired) 

    • Original signature with signatory’s title and date

Step 4

  • To apply for the SSN, you will need to schedule an appointment with the Social Security Administration and take the following documents with you to your appointment:

  • Letter from ISSS 

  • A recent UK payroll earning/deduction or employment letter from your supervisor 

  • Passport 

  • Original I-20 

  • Copy of I-94 or print out from 

  • Copy of I-20 

  • Copy of Passport photo/bio page 

  • Phone: 1-866-530-7754 or 1-800-772-1213 

    Address: Suite 110, 2241 Buena Vista Rd., Lexington, Kentucky 40505 

    Hours (closed on federal holidays): 

    Monday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    Tuesday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    Wednesday 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
    Thursday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    Friday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

    CITY BUS: Go to the LEXTRAN Transit Center on 220 Vine Street in downtown Lexington. Take Bus Route #10. 

    **Be sure that your mailbox is labeled with your name. The mail service cannot deliver your social security card unless your mailbox is labeled.**

Step 5

Once you receive the SSN, contact Payroll to have your employee record updated.


Tips for Completing the "Application for a Social Security Card"

(Form SS-5)

Citizenship – check “Legal Alien Allowed to Work” 

Mailing Address = Your Residence in Lexington 

The U.S. Post Office will not forward Social Security Cards or deliver them to you at another person's address. Do not use c/o addresses! 

If you do not have residence in Lexington yet, it is best to wait to apply for a card when you have one. 

What to do once you have your SSN card? 

After receiving the SSN, you must take your SSN card to Human Resources located in Scovell Hall. 

Identity Theft

Once you have your social security number, please keep it in a safe place. Identity theft is a severe problem. Do not share your SSN over the phone with individuals you do not know or through e-mail. To learn more about identity theft please visit the Federal Trade Commission website.


Planning is the key. Think several weeks in advance about what you will need for your trip, so you will not be stressed out at the last minute. Processing time is up to five business days. Travel endorsements are valid for one year. 

How do I receive a travel endorsement? 

 Fill out and submit the "Travel Request" form in iCAT and follow the instructions provided.

If you are an F-1 student and have an I-20, a digital copy of your document signed for travel will be emailed to you.

If you are a J-1 exchange visitor and have a DS-2019, you will drop your document off in the ISSS Main Office during office hours.  After you have done this, an immigration specialist will review your request and you will receive an email instructing you to retrieve the signed document.

Note: If there have been any major changes in your financial support, please provide written documentation from the funding source (i.e. change from personal funds to assistantship, etc.) Your I-20 or DS-2019 will be updated to reflect the change. 

Students are advised to carry these documents with them for travel purposes: 

  • Unofficial transcript from myUK 
  • Financial verification (bank statement, letter awarding assistantship, etc.) 
  • PASSPORT  valid for a minimum of 6 months into the future on the date you return to the United States
  • I-20 or DS-2019   with the endorsement signature (valid for one year during enrollment in the academic program)

Dependents in F-2/J-2 status must have their own I-20 or DS-2019 endorsed in order to re-enter the US after travel abroad.

If you are attempting to reenter the US after you’ve applied for post-completion OPT or the OPT STEM extension you are expected to have:

  • I-20 signed for travel within 6 months of reentry
  • Valid F-1 visa stamp
  • Valid passport
  • I-797 receipt notice if the OPT application is still pending
  • EAD and offer of employment if the OPT application has been approved

Be sure to check if your visa is still valid.  If it will expire prior to re-entry, you will have to apply at a US Embassy or Consulate to have it renewed before returning to the United States.  You should make an appointment with the US Embassy or Consulate before you leave the US.  You can check the Department of State's website for the current visa wait time at the location where you plan to apply for the renewal. Due to security checks, the visa process may be delayed, so keep this in mind.   Also, each Embassy and Consulate may have slightly different requirements for what additional evidence they require you to present at the time of the interview.  For example, some require you to present official transcripts, but others do not.  So be sure to the check the website of the Embassy or Consulate where you will be interviewing for specific requirements.  Use  to find the website for your closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  Follow the instructions you find there to book your appointment and apply for your new visa. 

Exception:  Canadian citizens do not require a US visa.  Also, citizens of other countries traveling to a contiguous territory, such as Canada or Mexico, for 30 days or less may not need to renew the visa before returning.  See this website for more information on automatic revalidation:

Remember that if you have changed your visa status to F-1 or J-1 in the US, you will have to apply for the appropriate visa at a US Embassy or Consulate before returning to the United States. 

CANADIAN LANDED IMMIGRANTS  Permanent Resident Aliens of the Commonwealth and Ireland (Landed Immigrants) Residing in Canada seeking to enter the United States as non-immigrants must possess a valid passport and non-immigrant visa.  There are some exceptions.  For more information see:

Letter Request

Students may request standard letters (see below) that verify their F-1 or J-1 student status.  These letters may be used as documentation for scholarships, government sponsors, and health insurance in the home country.  You can indicate on the form the specific information you would like included. 

If you are requesting a letter to verify your academic status or enrollment, follow instructions here access it via myUK. 

Note: This office does not provide invitation letters for family members.  Students can provide family members with copies of the I-20 and/or unofficial transcript to accompany his or her own letter of invitation. 

To request a letter fill out the "Letter Request" form  from iCAT