Driving in New York State
If you have an international license you can drive in the US for a brief period of time. However, you will not be able to purchase a vehicle, register and insure it. In order to apply for a NYS license, purchase a vehicle, and then register and insure the vehicle you will need more than one year left on your I-20.
You would then take all of your paperwork – the I-20, F visa, passport and I-94 card – to the Department of Motor Vehicles located at 224 South Pearl Street in Albany. The phone number is 1-800-225-5368. After filing forms, you would be given a paper test of traffic signals and driving skills. You could then schedule a driving test to receive your license.
Register, Inspection, Insurance Costs
Once you receive a NYS license, you would be eligible to purchase, register and insure your own vehicle. You cannot own and operate a car that is not registered and insured. Registering your vehicle costs about $40 per year; annual inspections, which can be performed at any auto repair shop, cost about $15-20; and insurance can cost about $1,000 per year for someone in your age group.
Another perk to having a NYS license
You become eligible to borrow a vehicle from Siena College in order to tour the area. The Capital District boasts many scenic sites in the Adirondacks and Lake George, local cultural opportunities in Saratoga and Albany, and is central to visiting New York City, Boston, Canada (remember to bring your passport and recently signed visa papers when crossing the border) and New England.