​Driver Licensing Questions


What do I need to know about the process for immigrants who present foreign documents without valid US citizenship documentation?

Immigrants who present foreign documentation without valid accompanying United States Citizenship and Immigration Services documentation, to obtain a driver's license, learner's permit, moped permit or identification card will need to do the following:

  • Apply for an individual taxpayer identification number through the U.S. Internal Revenue Service;
  • File Maryland income taxes for the preceding 2 years and obtain a certification letter that is needed to make an appointment to present it to the MVA. You may obtain a certification letter by applying online here or by making an appointment to visit one of the Comptroller's branch offices.
  • Apply for and obtain identity documents such as a valid, current foreign passport;
  • Obtain two residency documents such as copies of a residential lease, utility bill, or bank statement; and
  • Study the Maryland Driver's Manual and take the online driver test tutorial​ to prepare for the knowledge test.
  • Schedule an appointment online. Please visit the online document guide to start the process and to schedule your appointment.
  • Your Maryland driver's license or ID card will be mailed to you.

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What do I need to do to make an appointment?

Please visit the online document guide to schedule an appointment.

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What is the Real ID Act?

The Real ID Act is a federal law requiring states to meet certain federal standards when issuing driver's licenses or ID cards. The cards are accepted for federal purposes that are designated by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, such as access to federal buildings, or the boarding of commercial aircraft.

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Who is issued a federally compliant and federally non-compliant driver's license or ID card?

Federally compliant driver's licenses and ID cards are issued to US citizens, immigrants with permanent residence and non-immigrants with valid US Citizenship and Immigration Services documentation who can prove lawful status in the United States.

Immigrants who do not have valid US Citizenship and Immigration documentation can apply for a non-compliant driver's license or ID card. Individuals with Maryland driver's licenses or ID cards who do not have a verified social security number, and have maintained licenses or ID card without expiring for more than one year, can receive a federally non-compliant driver's license or ID card when they renew.

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What happens to people who do not have a federally compliant driver's license or ID card?

Those who do not have federally compliant cards will not have them accepted for federal purposes which are designated by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

They may find it harder to board a commercial aircraft or enter federal buildings. They may be required to produce additional identity documents. Please contact the specific federal agency or the U.S. Transportation Security Administration for further information.

They will not be able to use the non-compliant driver's license or ID card to purchase fire arms.

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What do I need to bring with me to get my driver's license or identification card renewed?

To renew a federally compliant driver's license, click here. For an ID card that is federally compliant, click here.

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What documents are needed for a new driver's licenses or ID card?

Please go to the online document guide to find out what you will need for a new driver's license or ID card.

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What do I need to get my learner's permit?

Please go to the MVA's Rookie Driver page for information on how to obtain a learner's permit.

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What is needed to get an ID card?

Please click here for information on Maryland ID cards.

As a new resident of Maryland, how long do I have to obtain a Maryland driver's license?

You must obtain a driver's license within 60 days after becoming a Maryland resident if you hold a noncommercial license. You have 30 days if you hold a commercial driver's license. Please refer to sources of proof for required documentation and instructions. You will need to visit a full service MVA office. If you are under eighteen (18) years of age, you must also have a parent/guardian accompany you and co-sign your application. If you have a valid out-of-state (or expired less than one year) license, you must also pass a vision test/screening and your license cannot be suspended, cancelled, disqualified or refused.

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