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Driver's License, Buying a Vehicle, Credit Cards


Driver's License

If you do not have a Social Security number and wish to obtain a driver's license, you must go to an Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles office. You will need to present your passport with a U.S. visa, (current I-94) or a passport and an original document issued by the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services. You also will need to take one official item that indicates your Idaho Falls address, such as a rental agreement, utility bill, original government-issued document or a financial institution document. You may or may not be required to take written and driving tests. The Bonneville County DMV office (in Idaho Falls) is located at 254 "E" Street. For more information about driver’s licenses in Idaho, visit the Idaho DMV Web site.

Buying a Vehicle

In the process of buying a car, you will need a valid driver's license. In Idaho Falls, used cars are sold by giving the car’s title (a document) to the buyer and the car’s current license plate to the seller. You and the seller must each complete a form printed on the back of the title. The seller is everyone named on the title; if the title names two persons, both must sign. If the seller or you make a mistake on the title, then you both must fill out another form, a Bill of Sale, available from the Bonneville County DMV office (in Idaho Falls). The seller then takes the license plate off the car.

You may not drive a car without a license plate on a public road, so you should ask the seller to either leave the license plate on the car for a few hours, or sell you the car in the parking lot of the insurance agent you have chosen. Before you can register the car and get its new license plate, you must buy insurance for the car. To sell you the appropriate insurance, the agent must see the car.

Credit Cards

In addition to establishing an account at a local bank or credit union, it is wise to obtain a credit card. Credit cards are used for charging various expenses such as shopping and purchasing goods locally, renting a vehicle, purchasing an airplane ticket on the Internet or by phone. Most hotels require a credit card to make a reservation.  Without a credit history, most U.S. financial institutions are reluctant to extend credit to foreign nationals. You might apply for a secured credit card which would require you to open and maintain a savings account as security for your line of credit. You might also obtain a charge card through a major department store.  As a foreign national, such cards are easier to obtain and will help you to establish a credit history in the U.S.

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