Social Security Number and Driver’s License

If you are seeking information on eligibility requirements and the process of how to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) and/or a driver’s license in North Carolina (NC), please read the following:

Social Security Number

If you are an international exchange student holding a J-1 visa, you are generally eligible to work on campus (J-1 international exchange students must consult the office of Study Abroad for eligibility requirements). In order to qualify for a SSN, you must have or be offered a position of employment on campus. (Note: International students in J-1 student status are permitted to work on campus up to only 20 hours per week while the University is in session).

International students who are eligible for a SSN must apply in person at a Social Security Administration Office. Valid, official documents required at the time of application include a signed letter of employment or job offer from a UNC Asheville department, a signed letter from the Study Abroad office, a DS-2019, passport, I-94 and J-1 visa.

For more information, please visit the U.S. Social Security Administration website or Asheville’s local Social Security Administration office:

800 Centre Park Drive
Asheville, NC 28805
(800) 772-1213

Driver’s License in North Carolina

According to the NC laws, temporary residents are authorized to use their home country driver’s license. International students are considered temporary residents, so you should use your home country driver’s license. Please make sure to have available a translation of this document into English. If you have an International Driver’s License, it serves as a translation, and therefore should be kept with your home country driver’s license.

Even though you are allowed to use your own driver’s license, we also recommend that you read the “Driver’s Handbook” available at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website. This manual will provide you with vital information about the driving rules which will help you be a responsible and safe driver in North Carolina. The link to the manual is on the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website.

If you do not have an “out of state” (i.e. another U.S. state) or foreign driver’s license and you need to apply for a North Carolina driver’s license, you may be eligible for a North Carolina driver’s license.  For proof of legal presence in the U.S., you will need to provide the following valid, official documents: DS-2019, passport, I-94 and visa (can be expired – Canadians exempt), proof of residency (e.g. a utility bill or apartment lease), and proof of car insurance.  Please visit the Department of Motor Vehicles website to apply.

You do not need a SSN or a NC driver’s license to purchase a car. You will also be able to transfer a car title at the DMV using your home country driver’s license and passport.

If buying a car, you will be required to purchase car insurance. You may locate insurance companies which do not require a SSN (GEICO is one of them). You will need to submit your home country driver’s license and a driving record report issued by your home country DMV (both translated into English).

For further information about acquiring a social security number, please contact the Study Abroad office,