Transportation and Driving

Public Transportation

RIT provides shuttle bus transportation throughout the day and evening. This includes transportation across campus and between campus and local shopping areas. Visit transportation for more information including bus schedules, commuting alternatives, ridesharing, and more.

Taxis, Lyft, and Uber serve the campus from a variety of locations. This includes several major off-campus apartment complexes. To access Regional Transit Service (RTS), Rochester’s public bus line, you’ll need to take an RIT shuttle to an off-campus location such as Wegmans.

Your Driver’s License

Many international students choose to drive while they are in the US. If you have a driver’s license from your home country, you are able to drive in New York State. You are not required to obtain a New York State driver’s license unless you become a resident of this state.

New York State Driver’s License

According to New York State law, a resident of another country can get a NYS driver license. However, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does not recommend it. Please review the requirements and proofs of identification when considering a NYS driver’s license. Also, consider whether you will need your foreign license in the future.

My NYS license has/will expire. What can I do?

There are two dates on your NYS license. The bottom one is when your license expires. The top one is when your I-20 or DS-2019 “expires.” If you have updated your I-20 or DS-2019 with a new end date, or you have obtained a post-graduation employment document (OPT card), then you should go back to the DMV so they can adjust your “immigration expiration” date on your license.

If you get stopped for a traffic violation, a police officer might issue a ticket for driving past the “immigration expiration” date. However, if you can prove in court that your immigration status did not actually expire, you may be able to contest the ticket. We strongly recommend that you always carry your passport and I-20 (or DS-2019) when driving. This way you can always prove to a police officer that you have valid immigration status. This can prevent the police from calling US Border Patrol to come check your status during a routine traffic stop.

International Driving Permit

If you driver's license is written in a language other than English, we recommend that you get an International Driving Permit (IDP) to carry with you, as well as your non-US driver's license. An International Driving Permit is not a driver’s license. The permit only verifies that you hold a valid driver’s license in your home country. Your foreign driver’s license is what allows you to drive in NYS. Contact the authorities in your home country to get an International Driving Permit. If you are not a resident of the US, you cannot apply for an International Driving Permit in the US.

You are not required to have an International Driving Permit to drive in NYS, but the permit has value. The permit verifies, in several languages, that you have a valid foreign driver’s license. A police officer who cannot read the language on your foreign driver’s license can read the permit.

Buying a Car

Buying a car can be complex and expensive, and it requires insurance. We recommend purchasing from a major car dealership because they are easier to work with if the car is defective. It is very difficult to hold a private seller responsible for repairs.

Please read the proof requirements for Vehicle Registrations and Title Certificates. They are similar to what is needed when getting a NYS license.

We recommend using sites such as AutoList, or Edmunds* when searching for a car online. Also, consider visiting local dealership websites as well.

* By listing these, RIT is not recommending any particular websites or dealerships.

Car Insurance

Drivers are required by law to have car insurance. Please review New York State DMV Insurance Requirements. New York has some minimum insurance levels, but the DMV recommends increasing your liability coverage depending on your needs and the assets you would like to protect. An insurance agent from any of the major insurance companies can also guide you about proper insurance coverage. We recommend you get quotes from a few of the major car insurance companies.


Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Ability Impaired (by alcohol or drugs) is extremely dangerous and is a serious crime. Never drive after having anything to drink. A taxi, Lyft, or Uber is always cheaper than the consequences of an accident or an arrest.