Obtaining a Drivers License or State ID

Obtaining a Rhode Island Driver’s License or ID

More information is available at: www.dmv.ri.gov (official site) www.dmv.ri.gov/licenses/ 

Office Locations

Local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office addresses, hours of operations and directions can be found online at: www.dmv.ri.gov/locations/

 The office closest to Brown University is at 600 New London Avenue, Cranston RI 02920

 Rhode Island Drivers License Requirements:

The process for receiving your Rhode Island driver's license depends on your age at the time of application and whether you are a new resident.

 Drivers 18 or Older

If you are 18 or older, you must meet the following qualifications before receiving a Rhode Island driver's license:

  • Pass the written, vision, and driving exams before receiving your first license.
  • You must have an acceptable identity document, 2 proofs of residency, and proof of Social Security Number (SSN) as described in the License/State ID Checklist.
  • You must have a valid social security number or an acceptable denial letter (with an acceptable visa code).
  • Pay fee. (See Fee Schedule http://www.dmv.ri.gov/forms/fee/index.php )

*If you are older than 18 and have never had a driver's license, you will first need to apply for a limited instruction permit instead of a full operator's license. You do not, however, have to enroll in a driver education class.

 New Residents

If you are relocating to Rhode Island from another U.S. state, you must meet the following qualifications before receiving a Rhode Island driver's license:

  • Surrender a U.S. license that has not been expired for longer than one year.
  • Furnish proof that you are now a Rhode Island resident.
  • Present your Social Security card.
  • Pay fee. See Fee Schedule http://www.dmv.ri.gov/forms/fee/index.php )

 *Your first Rhode Island driver's license will be a two-year license that expires on your birthday.  After this, you will be allowed to renew your license for the normal five-year period, or for the duration of your current visa status.

 Rhode Island State Identification (ID) Requirements:

  • You must be a resident of Rhode Island.
  • You may not hold a valid driver’s license in Rhode Island or in any other state.
  • You must have an acceptable identity document, 2 proofs of residency, and proof of Social Security Number (SSN) as described in the License/State ID Checklist.
  • You must have a valid social security number or an acceptable denial letter (with an acceptable visa code).
  • Fee for a Rhode Island State ID. See Fee Schedule http://www.dmv.ri.gov/forms/fee/index.php)
  • Personal checks are NOT accepted for payment for a RI state ID

 Identification Requirements for New Driver's Licenses and IDs

 NOTE: All F-1/J-1 students should bring their I-20/DS-2019, + I-94 http://www.cbp.gov/i94 + passport + enrollment verification from the Brown University Registrar’s office, School ID, SSN or SSN denial leter. International scholars should also bring their Brown University appointment letter. H1b scholars should bring their I-797+I-94.

 All applicants must provide one document from the "Proof of Identity" section, two documents from the "Proof of Residency" section, and one document from the “Proof of SSN” section. Photocopies are not acceptable.

 Proof of Identity Documents (You must present one [1]. Must contain applicant’s legal name+date of birth.)

  • An unexpired foreign passport with U.S. visa, accompanied by the I-94 (arrival/departure document, or printout https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home) documenting the applicant's most recent admittance into the U.S.  [F/J visa holders also bring I-20/DS-2019, H1b holders should bring I-797+I-94];
  • A certified copy of a birth certificate filed with a State Office of Vital Statistics or equivalent agency in the individual's State of birth;
  • A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) issued by the U.S. Department of State, Form FS-240, DS-1350 or FS-545;
  • A valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) issued by DHS or INS;
  • An unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by DHS, Form I-766 or Form I-688B;

 Proof of a change to the name contained on the applicant’s primary identity document must be demonstrated with a document issued by an authorized government agency.

 If you have obtained or renewed your passport within the last 6 months, please bring an additional Identity Document, as your passport may not verify with the national database.


Proof of Rhode Island Residency Documents List (You must present two [2].  P.O.Box addresses are not accepted.)

  • Letter from the Brown University Registrar’s Office indicating your full-time enrollment and campus address (**Enrollment verification is required for all F/J students)
  • A utility bill (gas, electric, telephone, cable, oil, water, sewer, satellite, heat, cell phone) with the address of residence clearly stated in the applicant’s name or in the name of a member of the applicant’s immediate family dated within the past sixty (60) days;
  • A personal check or bank statement with the applicant’s name and address of residence dated within the past sixty (60) days;
  • A payroll check with the applicant’s name and address of residence dated within the past sixty (60) days;
  • A lease agreement currently in effect. The lease agreement must contain the applicant’s name and address of residence and the landlord’s name, address, and telephone number. Handwritten lease agreements will not be accepted;
  • A U.S. homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy for the applicant’s home or apartment with the applicant’s name and address of residence that is currently in effect;
  • An U.S. automobile insurance policy for the applicant’s motor vehicle with the applicant’s name and address of residence that is currently in effect;
  • A W-2 form with the applicant’s name and address of residence from the immediately preceding year;
  • An installment loan contract (automobile, student loan) with the applicant’s name and address of residence that is currently in effect;
  • A current Social Security Administration statement with the applicant’s name and address of residence;
  • A valid Rhode Island driver’s license or identification card; If the applicant is a minor, in addition to any of the proof of residency documents listed above, the following are accepted: 1.) A school record from the current school year (report card, diploma, transcript, or ID card) stating the student’s address of residence (past year if during summer vacation) 2.) The Rhode Island driver’s license or identification card of the individual signing the minor’s application.

Proof of Social Security Number Document List (You must present one [1])

  • An official Social Security Card (laminated cards are acceptable);
  • A letter issued by the Social Security Administration stating that the applicant is not eligible to receive a Social Security Number;
  • A W-2 form bearing the applicant’s full name and full Social Security Number. The form must have been issued within the last five (5) years;
  • A 1099 form bearing the applicant’s full name and full Social Security Number issued within the last five (5) years; or
  • A paystub bearing the applicant’s full name and full Social Security Number issued within the last five (5) years.

 Note: All U.S. Territories driver’s license transfers and RI State ID cards are only done at the DMV Cranston Headquarters. These transactions are not performed at any DMV or AAA branch office.

 *If you do not have a valid Social Security Number (SSN), and need to obtain a letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration, bring your foreign passport, school ID, and appropriate visa documentation (ex. I-20/DS-2019+I-94 http://www.cbp.gov/i94) to the nearest SSA office to validate the ineligibility for a Social Security Number.