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Driving

If you will be in the U.S. longer than six months and intend to drive, you are required to get an Ohio driver's license, regardless of whether you have an International Driver's License.

Getting an Ohio Driver's License

  1. Get a copy of "The Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws" from 100 Oxley Hall. (Also available at the license agency at 4503 Kenny Rd., (614) 459-4441, or from other license agencies listed in the "License Services" section of the yellow pages of the telephone book. (If you already have a valid driver's license from another U.S. state, please skip to step 3. You will surrender your old driver's license and take the written test and eye exam with no need for a road test.)

  2. To get a temporary driving permit, obtain an application packet from one of the license agencies. You will need to show the following documentation to get the temporary permit application. 

  3. Go to a testing center to have an eye exam and take a written test to get the temporary permit.

    Testing Centers:

    • 4738 Cemetery Road. 
      (614) 921-8946
    • 1583 Alum Creek Dr.
      (614) 995-5353
    • 990 Morse Road
      (614) 995-5353
    • For a full list of Central Ohio BMV locations, visit bmv.ohio.gov.
  4. If you pass the test you will be given a temporary driving permit, which requires that you must have a licensed driver with you when you are practicing your driving. If you would like to take driving lessons, find a driving school under "Driving Instruction" in the yellow pages of the telephone directory.

  5. Schedule a road test at one of the testing centers. If you pass the road test you will get an Ohio driver's license.

Required Documents for J-1 Scholars

  • valid passport
  • most recent I-94
  • visa stamp
  • original DS-2019
  • a letter from your department verifying your employment dates and your status (please make sure that the letter was issues within the past 60 days)
  • Two different documents that show proof of Ohio residence For a full list of examples, click here.

Required Documents for H1B Employees

  • valid passport
  • most recent I-94
  • visa stamp
  • original I-797:
  1. Receipt Notice (I-797C): if at the time of renewal you only have the Receipt Notice, please borrow the original one from the OIA advisor who worked on your case. OR
  2. the latest Approval Notice (I-797A or I-797B)
  • a letter from your department verifying your employment dates and your status (please make sure that the letter was issued within the past 60 days)
  • petition packet is optional and only recommended especially for renewals based on the Receipt Notice (I-797C)
  • Two different documents that show proof of Ohio residence. For a full list of examples, click here.

Important Driving Laws in Ohio

  • You are required by law to carry automobile insurance. See the telephone book yellow pages under "Insurance" for insurance agents who can sell you a policy. Policies range from $600 - $1,200 per year.
  • Seat belt use is mandatory.
  • It is illegal to drive without a valid driver's license, proof of automobile insurance, proof of the car's registration, and valid license plates.
  • It is required by law that children who are under the age of four or who weigh less than 40 pounds must be secured in an approved, properly-used child safety seat. Car seats cost about $40 - $120.

Also...

The American Automobile Association of Ohio (AAA or "Triple A") (614) 431-7800) provides these services to members: road service (fixing flat tires, towing a car to a service station), traveler's checks, written travel plans, road maps.

Parking spaces for cars at Ohio State are limited. You will need to buy a university parking sticker from CampusParc, if you want to park on campus (call (614) 292-9341 for information. Do not park in loading zones, handicapped parking spaces, near fire hydrants, or in areas your parking sticker is not designated for. If you violate Ohio State parking regulations, you will be fined, or your car could be towed away.

State of Ohio Identification Card: This card is available to non-drivers who want a form of identification to use in place of a driver's license. Take the same documents required for a driver's license to the 4503 Kenny Road or other license agency. You need to have lived in Ohio for 30 days to be eligible to get this card.