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I am on F1 visa and currently on OPT. My OPT ends in Dec 2014. I have my H1B approved and it starts from Oct 2014.

My driver's license expired on 31 Aug 2014. When I went to the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) office (I am in Ohio), they said I cannot renew my license till my H1B starts, i.e. 1 Oct 2014.

I am pretty sure I can get my license renewed only on OPT, as one of my friend got it. It is just that I thought H1B has longer duration, so I should try with H1B. But since it cannot be used, I asked them to renew on my OPT (till Dec 2014 at least). But they said it cannot be done at all.

I really need my license as I cannot work without it.

  • Do you have a valid driver's license from another country? – Karlson Sep 8 '14 at 16:07
  • No, I don't. I got my license for the first time in the US. – tempusfugit Sep 8 '14 at 16:18
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    In my experience DMVs are not very consistent nor open to reasoning even on a legitimate basis. I would recommend to try another DMV office or even the same office but at another time with another officer. – Ghaag Sep 8 '14 at 16:54
  • @Ghaag, you are right. I tried with a different DMV and got my license renewed. Only till my OPT though. Thank you. – tempusfugit Sep 9 '14 at 12:59
  • Another lady told me that there is a rule which says H1B receipt can be used one month before its start date. Not sure about that though. – tempusfugit Sep 9 '14 at 13:00
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If you have valid OPT status they should offer you drivers licenc without any problem

After you have filed for extension with USCIS, you can remain and work for 270 days from the date when H1B extension is filed. Some officers within DMV are aware of this rule and the will issue DL for 270 days.

If you can use your H1B receipt notice to get DL for like 270 days.

Go to different DMV and try to get DL renewed.

Here in North Carolina, you can get driving license for 270 days with original H1B receipt notice. Ohio should have something similar.

Let me know what happens and do come back to share your experience.

  • I have seen lots of people having same problem in OHIO, CALIFORNIA, NJ and FLORIDA in online forums. – Im88 Sep 8 '14 at 16:41
  • This may be an Ohio specific problem. Behavior of North Carolina may not be the same as Ohio. – Karlson Sep 8 '14 at 16:43
  • I know people in California who have been able to renew a driver's license for the last 4 months of OPT (yes, they issued a driver's license with a validity of 4 months). – user102008 Sep 8 '14 at 18:59
  • Thanks, I just extended till my OPT expiration. That officer did not know about the 270 days rule I guess. – tempusfugit Sep 9 '14 at 13:02

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