Banking and Finance

How to Get a Driver's License Without a SSN

July 27, 2021

Recent statistics show that there are almost 229 million licensed drivers in the United States. That’s quite impressive given how much of a pain it is to visit the DMV in order to apply for your driver’s license in the first place.

Aside from the hassle of having to wait in hours-long lines that wrap around most DMV offices, applying for a driver’s license in the United States means gathering a few documents and, in some cases, passing a driver’s test if it’s your first time applying for a license in that state.

What documents do you need to join the ranks of the other 229 million people in the US who have a driver’s license? You’ll need a valid form of identity for sure. However, that doesn’t always have to be a social security number. This means that if you don’t have one, you can still read on to learn how to get a driver’s license without a SSN.

What Do You Need a SSN For?

A lot of government agencies and private companies require your social security number in order to get access to the information they need in order to approve you or an application. Why a SSN and not another form of identity like your passport number? Well, in most cases, a SSN is the most official form of ID as it's tied to the government and the IRS.

In reality, the idea around requesting a SSN is to prevent fraud. As the Texas DMV website states, “To enhance security, reduce the risk of identity theft or fraud, and to protect the integrity of the issuance process, an applicant for a driver license or ID card must present his or her Social Security card or other acceptable documentation.”

However, in a number of states, there have been laws passed that prohibit the state government from not issuing driver’s licenses based on immigration status. This not only means that non-citizens are able to apply for a driver’s license with another form of identification, but it also means that unauthorized immigrants in certain states are still able to apply for a license without fear of being reported to local authorities due to their immigration status.

Documents Required for a Driver’s License

The documents required to apply for a driver’s license can vary slightly from state to state, so be sure to check the official DMV website of the state where you’ll be applying for your license. However, the general requirements tend to be the same. 

For reference, here is a list of acceptable documents when applying for a driver’s license in the State of California. You’ll note that for residents with legal proof of their California residency, a US Citizen Identification Card is sufficient, as is a Temporary Resident Identification Card.

You will be required to submit acceptable, official documents that validate your residency in the state where you’re applying for the driver’s license. For these documents, you will have to present the original copies when possible.

What about a social security number? It’s a general requirement listed on most websites. However, there are usually other forms of identity that you can provide if you don’t have a SSN. In the State of Oregon, for example, their DMV website notes that:

“If you don't have a Social Security number, when you apply for your driver license, permit or ID card you will be asked to sign an electronic statement certifying that you haven't been assigned a Social Security number.”

How to Apply for a Driver’s License Without a SSN

First, let’s start by listing off the states that allow you to apply for a driver’s license without a SSN: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.

Now, if you don’t live in one of those states and don’t have a SSN, what are your options? First, we suggest that you visit your state’s DMV website to look at the specific requirements for that state. Requirements vary slightly from state to state, so it’s best that you familiarize yourself with your state’s requirements first.

In most states, all you need to prove is that you’re legally allowed to live in the US (again, not the case for the states linked in the article above) and that you understand local driving rules and how to operate a vehicle. Outside of that, a DMV shouldn’t deny you simply because you aren’t eligible for a SSN.

In most cases, if you’re ineligible to apply for a SSN, you need to sign an affidavit at the DMV or other office that states that the reason why you’re applying for a driver’s license without a SSN is because you don’t qualify for one.

For example, you don’t need a SSN to apply for a driver’s license in Connecticut or Illinois. However, you will need to get an official letter from the Social Security Administration that explains why you’re not eligible for an SSN at the time.

Think you qualify for a SSN and need to apply for one? To apply for a SSN, visit the US Social Security Administration website.

What About Other Cards Without a SSN?

Starting in 2023, you’ll need a REAL ID card to fly on domestic flights within the US. And, having a valid form of identity wherever you go is a good idea. After all, carrying around your passport is such a hassle, and it can be dangerous to have it on you while you’re out and about.

But, what about other types of cards that you’ll need if you’re living in the US, such as a debit card? Uh, yeah, you’re gonna need to bank, too! Unfortunately, most major banks in the US do require you to have a SSN or, at the very least, an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). However, that’s not the case with the Cheese Debit Card.

At Cheese, we believe that your immigration status should never affect your ability to access easy banking solutions. And, we also believe that those solutions should feature fee-free perks. How does free international wire transfers and up to 10% cash back sound? Good, right? You deserve it, and we make it easy for you to access.

To sign up for the Cheese Debit Card, simply use your passport and valid visa, along with a valid US address, to access our unique zero-fee, cash back debit card. 

🧀️  No SSN required

🧀️  Apply with just an established US address, passport & valid visa

🧀️  $5 signup bonus  

🧀️  Up to 10% cashback with every purchase

🧀️  Early paycheck (up to 2 days early!)

🧀️  No incoming wire transfer fee

Click here to learn more about the Cheese Debit Card or go ahead and download the Cheese Mobile Banking App for iOS or Android