International applicants for a Texas driver’s license or Texas ID must be processed through the government’s SAVE database at the Department of Public Safety (DPS). The SAVE database confirms F-1 and J-1 visitors’ valid status and benefits eligibility with the SEVIS database so that DPS can grant a driver’s license.
If your SEVIS record is in a transitional state, SAVE may not be able to verify your program validity. Examples include transfer students who have not registered for classes, students with a change of level I-20 for a future semester and those with a cap gap I-20, pending change of status or OPT application.
Continuing or Graduating Students
If the DPS agent is not able to immediately verify your status through SAVE, you may be directed to contact the DPS Headquarters for assistance with verifying your status. F-1 and J-1 visa holders represent a small number of the visitors to DPS. If your status cannot be verified it is a good idea to ask to speak with a supervisor at DPS who may be more familiar with F-1 and J-1 processes.
If your I-20 is valid for several semesters into the future, it may be a good idea to renew your driver’s license before making any changes to your I-20 or applying for a benefit such as OPT.
New Students and Scholars
Students and scholars new to the United States will need to wait at least 10 days from entering the country and two days after registering for classes or being validated in SEVIS before their record will appear active in the SAVE system.
Please see ISSS’s handouts on applying for a Texas driver’s license if you have further questions about the documents required for these applications.