When students come to the USA from all over the world, they usually need a car for the duration of their study. This can make moving around a whole lot easier, but as an international student, you should know you cannot get a car without auto insurance. If you’re ready to get a car in the USA, there are many auto insurances available for international students. This process can be somewhat complicated if you have no experience and no one to guide you through, so keep reading for some much-needed direction.
Where to Find Insurance for International Students in the USA
Most of the colleges and universities in the USA provide immense support to their international students, including providing help for dealing with needs like getting car insurance for 18 year olds international students. Some insurance providers require students to have at least three years of driving experience in the USA before they can cover them. International students help programs are very helpful in linking international students up with auto insurance firms that don’t have this requirement. Instead, they will suggest insurance companies that count driving experience from the students home country. All you have to do is ensure your international driving license is free of warrants, fines, and duly updated.
Getting an International Driver’s License
Almost all countries of the United Nations recognize the international driver’s license. You can use this to drive in the USA as a foreigner.
You can get an international license for a period of one year up to five years. With a five year license costing less than $60, it isn’t difficult or expensive to obtain your international driving license. However, you must have the proper documentation for this, especially a valid driver’s license from your home country.
Documents You Need to Get Car Driver’s License in the U.S.
The documents needed to apply for a drivers license will vary from one state to another. To be clear and have all you need, go to your school’s DMO or the local Department of Motor Vehicles for state-specific required documents. However, here is a list of standard documents required by many states:
- A valid passport with a visa: to verify your identity, your international passport will be required. Your visa will also be checked to ensure you are qualified to apply for a driver’s license and you are legally residing in the country.
- Form I-94: issued by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), this form shows records of your arrival and departure from the United States.
- Form DS-2019 for J exchange visitor: this is a certificate of eligibility that permits international citizens to apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy.
- Form I-20 for F or M students: this certificate of eligibility is issued by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified schools. It serves as supporting information for your F or M student status.
- Form I-797: different Form I-797’s exist for the purpose of communicating immigrant benefits with the applicant. If you received an immigration benefit, this would be the proof.
- Employment Authorization Document Card: known more commonly as a work permit, an EAD Card is proof of temporary employment authorization status of foreigners. It is given by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service).
- Social security card or Social Security Association Form: if you are an international student on a J-1 or F-1 visa, and you have gainful employment in the USA, you must apply for a unique Social Security Number (SSN). It will be used to keep track of your income for tax purposes. If you don’t have one, you can use an SSA Form (Social Security Association). It is a refusal to apply for an SSN.
- Proof of legal residence: any other record that proves your legal residence in the USA.
Getting Auto Insurance for International Students
It isn’t impossible for international student in the United States to purchase their cars and get adequate auto insurance to cover it. The process is strict, and there are a lot of requirements, but many options exist. More auto insurance companies are offering international student car insurance to foreigners.
As we mentioned earlier, it is beneficial to reach out to the DSO’ in your college or university for assistance. They might have a list of auto insurance companies with less strict requirements to make your application process smoother.
One thing you must keep in mind is that auto insurance policies for international students are generally more expensive than regular car insurance. This is because international students are considered as higher risk than U.S. citizens. Insurance companies have to make this assumption since they have minimal information and personal history on the students taking out their insurance plans.
If you are an international student in the USA, you can surely get a U.S. driver’s license or an international license to enable you to buy a car and get your required auto insurance. Make sure you take time out to study different premium options from various offers and arrange all your documents for the process.