It is imperative that you carry some sort of picture identification with you at all times.  Most identification (ID) cards provide useful information such as age, address, and a photo of the individual.  Several occasions will arise when you will need to show identification: cashing checks, entering bars, emergency situations, etc.  In many cases, your passport will be more than adequate, and may even be required to open bank accounts, for example).  To prove your identity, many places will ask you to show at least two forms of identification.  The most reliable and most often used are a driver’s license and a school I.D.  Acceptable forms of identification include those described below.

Social Security Card

If you have employment, the Internal Revenue Service of the U.S. government requires that you have a Social Security number for tax purposes. The Social Security number is used to keep track of your payroll earnings, deductions, income taxes, interest earned, etc. This card does not have your picture or your address on it, but a nine-digit number assigned only to you.

If you have an on-campus job or any other paid employment authorized through your student/exchange visitor visa you must first get a letter from the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office and then you may apply for a social security number at your local Social Security Office.

  • Wait until you have checked in with ISSS AND have been in the USA for more than 10 days.
  • Complete an application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5)
  • Show original documents proving your:
    • Work-authorized immigration status
    • Age
    • Identity
  • Then take the completed application to the local Social Security Office.
  • You can apply for a social security number at the local Social Security office located at 960 Main Street, Second Floor, Hartford CT 06103. More information can be found on the ISSS website.
  • Note: F-1/J-1 students may ONLY apply for a SSN if they have authorized employment. 
International Driver's License

If you plan to stay in the U.S. for only a brief time and wish to drive upon arrival in the U.S., you must apply to the motor vehicle association of your country for an international driver’s permit before you travel to the U.S. The international driver’s permit cannot be issued in the United States. You may drive for the duration of the program with both your home country license and the international driver’s permit. You may not drive with your home country driver’s license alone. However, if you purchase a car you will need to apply for either a CT Driver’s License or CT State ID in order to register it.

Connecticut Driver's License

A driver’s license is perhaps one of the best forms of I.D. as it contains all the vital information and a photograph which is needed to prove your identity. If you plan to stay in the U.S. for a longer period of time and plan to drive, you will need to apply for a Connecticut driver’s license at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). See the website of the DMV to find the office location nearest to you. Please see the ISSS website for step-by-step instructions on how to apply for your CT driver’s license. Driver’s licenses issued by Germany, France or Canada are treated like out-of-state licenses and can be converted to a CT driver’s license without going through the learner’s permit, course and test phase of the process. Study booklets are available at the DMV. DMV charges various fees for providing a license. You should contact DMV directly with any questions.

Non-Driver State Identification Card

The DMV issues non-driver state identification cards to individuals who do not drive. This card looks like a Connecticut driver’s license but does not authorize the person to operate a motor vehicle. It is issued for identification purposes only. The Non-drivers ID card can be obtained from any DMV office which issues driver’s licenses. Please see the international center website for step by step instructions on obtaining a Non-Driver’s Identification Card (State ID). There is a small fee.