I'm currently in the United Stated on a travelers Visa but am in the process of converting it to a Student Visa. I currently use public transportation but in San Diego it's not very convenient. My questions are:

  • How to get a Driver's License without a SSN?
  • How to purchase a car without a SSN?

Any help or insight would be much appreciated.

  • 2
    You just can't. No one would be willing to insure your car. But the moment you get your student visa there is a stem program where you can apply for a SSN.
    – Numair Aidroos
    Jun 28, 2017 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


In California you can apply for a driver's license without a SSN if you can prove legal presence (e.g. an F visa) but are ineligible for a SSN. Once you become eligible for a SSN you must obtain one and provide it to the DMV when you renew your license (which you will do frequently since California licenses for non-immigrants expire when their current legal presence does).

Once you have a license I don't believe a SSN is required to buy and register a car if you pay cash for it; you certainly won't get a loan without a SSN or ITIN since one of these is needed for a credit check. You'll need to make sure you can insure the car without a SSN, but I suspect this may not be a big problem since I don't recall having to provide mine to my own insurer.

  • While I am not promoting the company, this website says To borrow money with a car title loan, let's start with what you don't need. First, you do not need a Social Security Number. Second, you don't need a bank account. Finally, it is not necessary that you have good credit. Please provide evidence that a car loan requires a SSN.
    – StrongBad
    Jun 29, 2017 at 14:58
  • @StrongBad, I think a loan requires some identifier for credit reporting and I'm pretty sure he won't be able to get an ITIN in a hurry either since I understand new applications for those need to accompany a tax return that he won't have any immediate need to file. That could be wrong, though, I've not been in the position.
    – Dennis
    Jun 29, 2017 at 21:33

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