Center for International Education

Driver Clearance/State ID

Are you interested in either acquiring a driver’s license or a state ID?

If the answer is yes, then you need to do DRIVER CLEARANCE! All non-citizens (F-1, J-1, and H1B visa holders, refugees, etc.) must apply for clearance prior to obtaining a Kentucky driver’s license or a Kentucky state identification card. The application process is handled by the Center for International Education.


1)     Arrange for a driver to take you to Richmond or Lexington Times you can see the officer are:

  • Tuesdays: 9 AM-12 PM, Hall of Justice in Richmond (351 W Main, Room 316, Richmond, KY 40475). If you choose to go on a Tuesday to Richmond, then you will need to make your CIE appointment (see #2) at least 10 days before you plan to go to Richmond.
  • Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays: 8 AM-2:45 PM, Circuit Court Office in Lexington (162 E Main Street, Room 230, Lexington, KY 40507)

2)      Contact Alexandria Gaston ( to set up an appointment at the CIE At your appointment, Alexandria will assist you with filling out your paperwork. Documents to bring:

  • I-20
  • Passport
  • Social Security card
  • Student ID card
  • Previous driver’s license or permit, if applicable

3.     At your appointment you will complete a USCIS Compliance Application which can be found at: (this is then signed by Susan Melnichuk, DSO, and Wanda Burch, Registrar).  The other application that needs to be completed is the Non-U.S. Citizen Application at (you need to know your height in feet and inches).

4.   After this appointment we will fax your requested appointment time to the officer if you are going on a Tuesday to Richmond. One week notice is required for the officer. No appointment is needed to go to Lexington.

5. After you have received the approval from this officer, then you will need to follow the steps to obtain a State I.D. or Driver’s license. This approval form expires within 90 days, so don’t wait too long!


**Please be aware that you must provide your own transportation to the appointment with the hearing officer and must have made this arrangement prior to the CIE requesting an appointment for you.  During the fall semester we will have the officer come to campus.

Post-Driver’s Clearance Information

You may begin applying as soon as you receive the Non-US Citizen Document Verification (aka, blue form) but have only 90 days to use until the blue form expires and the process starts over again. Make sure to bring all original documents, along with proof of address that is no more than 60 days old to obtain either a permit or State ID. If you are interested in reviewing the policies yourself here is the link:




All non U.S. citizens applying for a first time Kentucky license, with the exception of permanent residents, are required to take the written, vision and road tests. This includes transfer driver’s holding a valid license from another state or country. Driver’s holding a valid out of state license, or a valid license from a Geneva Compact country, will not be required to hold a permit. Non U.S. citizens already licensed in Kentucky are not required to retest but they must be approved by Division of Driver Licensing.

This means that if you have no previous license you must take the permit, vision, and road tests AND you must hold the permit for a certain period of time dependant on your age (if you are under 21, you must hold your permit for 6 months before you can take the driving test, if you are over 21 you must only hold your permit for 1 month before you can take the driving test).

If you have had a license previously, you do not have to hold a permit for any period of time, immediately after passing you may take the driving test.

Available Testing Languages for Written Permit Test

Albanian ​Arabic ​Bosnian  Cambodian ​Chinese ​Croatian
​English French ​German​   ​Indian    (Hindi)  Japanese  ​Korean
​Laotian ​Persian ​Polish ​Romanian Russian ​Somali
​Spanish  Thai Turkish ​​Vietnamese

**Make sure to call ahead before going, as times that these services are offered are limited, and can change*


Richmond: 135 West Irvine Street, Richmond (Court Annex Building)

Phone: 859-623-1099


Berea: 304 Chestnut Street (Berea Municipal Building & Police Station)

Phone: 859-623-1099 or 859-986-4212


  • *IMPORTANT: The Center for International does not and cannot provide rides to testing! The Center for International Education also cannot provide driving lessons or a practice vehicle!**

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