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Getting an Official ID

Social Security Number (SSN) or ITIN number for your spouse

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  • Social Security numbers are not required for spouses living in the US unless they are given work permission (available for J-2s only).

  • SSN's can only be issued to non-immigrants (those who are not citizens or permanent residents of the US) who have an official “need” for such numbers.

  • Spouses on J-2 visas can only prove the need for a SSN if they have received work authorization from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

  • Since F-2 spouses are never permitted to work, they cannot receive a Social Security Number. See the Social Security Worksheet for more information.

A Driver's License or New Mexico State ID

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***A new law passed in January 2016 that will come into effect in November 2016. We do not yet know how this will affect international students.***

  • To apply for a driver’s license, a spouse must take his/her I-94 card/form, passport, I-20 or DS-2019 copy and Social Security Card (if available) to the Motor Vehicle’s Division (MVD) office.

  • In addition, take two documents as proof of residence in New Mexico. You should also take a translated and notarized version of your home country driver’s license if you have one (when applying for a NM license, not the ID).

  • He/she will need to study the New Mexico Driver’s Manual, pass the written or computerized portion of the driver’s exam, take a vision screening test, and pass a road test.

  • Once the individual has successfully completed all these steps, he/she will be granted the driver’s license. Note that MVD personnel are not well informed about requirements for non-immigrants who want to obtain their license.

Handouts:
GEO has a handout that lists the requirements and other details. It may help you to bring that handout with you and to ask for a supervisor if you have difficulty with the MVD staff person.