Driving in Maryland and getting a State ID

Important notice

  • All expiring licenses can continue to be used until the end of the state of emergency, as noted in the link above. 

  • Before going to the MVA (Motor Vehicle Association), it is imperative to email isss@umbc.edu to make sure that your SEVIS record has been registered if you are a new student. 


SAVE Verification

To begin the processes for a driver’s license or identification card, you will need to submit an electronic SAVE Verification Request Form online. Please use this link to access the S.A.V.E. Verification Request form.

Once you have submitted this form, a MVA representative will contact you within two (2) business days with the verification results and information to continue the process. If you experience any difficulties with the form, or do not receive a response within two (2) business days, please send an e-mail to sdecal@mdot.maryland.gov.

If you do not do this in advance, the MVA can do this in person while you are there, but it is always a risk.  If they find any issues, they won’t be able to help you that day and you’ll have to plan another trip.  We strongly recommend completing the SAVE information in advance to avoid this possible delay!


Driver’s License

For more detailed information about obtaining your driver’s license, please follow the link to review ISSS’ Driving in Maryland PowerPoint.

You can also find directions and requirements on the MVA’s website. For the most accurate list of documents you will need for your appointment, please use the MVA’s Online Document Guide.

State ID card

The MVA also issues Maryland State ID cards, which can be used to prove your identity and are considered a government-issued form of identification.  Many students like to have these in place of carrying your official passport, which you should never do!

You can apply for a Maryland State ID at an MVA office.  The detailed requirements are listed here.  Please be sure to scroll down to the “New Identification Card” section, and click on the link for the “Online Document Guide” to see what is required in detail.  Under “Sources of Proof,” you will use the first list, for “federally compliant,” which means you have a legal status in the US.

Please note, the first step to apply is to complete the SAVE Verification form and receive confirmation before you visit the MVA!

The requirements listed are:

1. Proof of Age and Identity – this can be your passport and other immigration documents

2. Proof of Lawful Status – this would be your passport, F-1 visa stamp, I-94 and most recent I-20).  If you need to print your   I-94 entry record, click here to do so.

3. Proof of Social Security Number (SSN) or ineligibility for an SSN – students that don’t have an SSN will need to get a letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration Office.  Please see details on how to get this letter here – scroll down to the “Letter of Ineligibility” section.

4. Proof of Maryland Residency – You will need to show that you currently live in Maryland be providing two of the items listed in the MVA’s document checklist.  The most common include:

  • A utility bill, such as phone, cable, or internet, showing your name and Maryland address
  • Checking or Savings bank account statement (you can often print these from your online bank account)
  • Lease agreement with your apartment or house
  • Credit Card bill or statement
  • Mail sent from a government agency (this can include a letter UMBC can mail to you – be sure to request it in advance and take the letter and envelope with you to the MVA)
  • For students that worked in the US in the past, you can show a Maryland state tax return from the past year

More options are specified on the MVA website, but these are the most common.

You can take these documents to the MVA to apply for your State ID card, after your SAVE Verification is confirmed.

MVA Locations

While there are many MVA locations, the nearest is in Glen Burnie, MD.  You can see the complete list of locations here.  Please note that, unfortunately, the MVA is not easily reached using public transportation.  We recommend either asking a friend who can drive you, or using a taxi or a ride service such as Uber.