How To Renew Your US Driver's License On A Pending I-130 Or I-485

Just when you think you have completed and submitted the paperwork for your I-130 and I-185 you realize that your driver’s license is about to expire. Needing your own driver’s license is not only legally required in order to get around the U.S., it also acts as a legal form of identity in many federal buildings including in airports and domestic flights.

Renewing a driver’s license has different requirements under different visa statuses and in different states. The primary requirement is having a valid Social Security number (SSN). If you don’t have one, you can request the SSN office to give you a letter stating that you are not eligible for an SSN. For this you will need your I-94, passport, and H4 visa, if applicable.

Some states issue a driver’s license with an ITIN as well.

Driver’s License Renewal Process

The basic process remains the same across most states in the U.S. but might vary in how the appointments are given and documents are received. For example, while Illinois and California require a specified list of documents, New York and New Jersey operate on a point-based system. You need six points to get a license – four points for valid passport and one each for health insurance, bank account, SSN denial letter, I-94 or utility bill.

Please keep in mind, due to the pandemic restrictions, hours of operation and process may have been altered in every DMV. Please call before you proceed with the driver’s license renewal process.

  • Call for an appointment. It’s always better to let them know what you are coming for in advance. Else you will be unprepared with everything they may require.
  • Collate all the required documents. Make sure all documents especially the passport and visa are current and valid. Complete document list below.
  • Request form. Once you fill out and submit the request for a driver’s license – opt for either new or renewal of driver’s license.
  • Letter. If approved, you will receive a mail with a letter stating that your lawful presence has been verified in two weeks.
  • Receive new license. Take this letter to the DMV and they will give you a temporary license and then mail you either your new driver’s license or the renewed one shortly. 

Driver’s License Renewal Document List

How To Renew Your US Driver's License On A Pending I-130 Or I-485

Below we will enlist the documents you will require if you need to renew your driver’s license under different stages of your green card journey.

Documents Required When On An H4 Visa 

Once you have your letter from the Social Security Administration office, you will be able to apply for your driving license. Here is the list of documents required for H4 visa holders applying for either a new driver’s license or a renewal:

  • Current driver’s license. Preferably unexpired yet.
  • Valid passport with visa stamp (Some states ask for a copy of the birth certificate as well)
  • Proof of entry: I-94 9 (available online)
  • H1-B/H4 approval notice
  • Proof of address (utility bill, apartment leasing contract, for example)
  • Proof of medical insurance
  • ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number)
  • International driving license (This is surrendered in lieu of a U.S. driver’s license)

Documents Required When I-130 or I-485 Is Pending

In most cases, the renewal is done for the same period as mentioned in your I-797 receipt notice – either a 1 year extension or 3-4 years. The renewal is issued for the length of time that you have a valid proof of residency.

The receipt notice is usually sufficient to request a renewal. But in certain other states the DMV might ask for the following documents as well – 

  • Valid Passport-both yours and primary beneficiary’s
  • SSN card
  • I-797 showing approved I-130 or I-485 adjustment of status
  • Current driver’s license. Preferably renew before your current driver’s license expires.
  • Primary beneficiary’s H1-B, green card, if applicable, and/or I-797 receipt notices
  • Copy of your marriage certificate to submit and the original to show
  • Printed copy of the online I-94
  • EAD card, if available
  • Utility bills and other sources showing residential address

Once you receive your green card, you can instantly get a driver’s license issued, both new or a renewal.