In order to drive in the United States, you need a driver’s license issued by the state in which you live. Although international driver’s licenses can be used for a short time after you arrive (30 days for DC, 60 days for Maryland and Virginia), it is recommended that you get your U.S. state license as soon as possible.
The procedure and documentation required to obtain a U.S. driver’s license vary from state to state, particularly for first-time applicants with licenses from other countries, but the following are generally required:
- Application form
- Proof of age and identify (e.g. passport, out-of-state driver’s license, birth certificate)
- Proof of legal U.S. presence (visa and form I-94)
- Proof of state residency (e.g. mortgage statement, recent utility bill, pay check stub, rental agreement/lease)
- Social Security Number (social security card, pay check stub, social security statement)
- Ability to pass a vision test
- Ability to pass a written and driver’s test (may be required for first-time applicants or renewals)
Please check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for the exact requirements for obtaining a driver’s license.
In addition to the above requirements, G4 visa holders have special requirements.
Department of State Letter
You will need to present a letter from the U.S. Department of State (DOS) that certifies their visa status. This also applies to domestic employees on a G-5 visa. All G-4 visa holders need this letter to get a license, even if they have been issued a U.S. license in the past. The IMF can obtain the DOS certification letter for you. Letters take approximately 6-8 weeks for the DOS to process. Please contact the IMFFA Office more information on how to apply for this letter.
Personal Identification Number (PID)
All G-4 Fund employees are also required to have a PID before applying for a Driver’s License. A PID is issued by the U.S. State Department to every Fund employee and his/her dependents. Please contact the IMFFA Office if you need help locating your PID.
Social Security Number
G-4 visa holders employed by international organizations such as the IMF or the UN often do not apply for an SSN because it is not a requirement of their employment with the international organization. However, new driver’s license applicants need to provide either a SSN or a letter from the Social Security Administration stating that the applicant is not eligible for a SSN. Visit our Visa and Immigration page for more information on obtaining a Social Security Number/letter of eligibility.
If you drive, you will likely need to be familiar with parking in and around the DC metro area. The three main options for parking are parking permits, parking meters, and parking garages.
DC provides residential parking permits to allow residents and their guests to park for more than the standard two-hour limit. Visit the District Department of Transportation’s website to find out more about visitor parking passes, residential parking permits, and short-term parking permits.
Parking meters are position throughout DC (many many surrounding cities) to provide hourly, on-street parking for customers visiting retail and dining establishments. Information about DC’s parking meters, including rates and hours of operation, is available on the District Department of Transportation’s website. Information about parking meters in surrounding cities (such as Arlington, VA or Bethesda, MD) can be found on each city’s Department of Transportation sites.
Hourly, daily, and monthly parking is available at parking garages throughout DC and surrounding cities. Parking garages are owned by Each garage offers slightly different rates and offers, so use these tools for find the best garages for you:
The IMF has its own, onsite parking service for staff, spouses, and other eligible employees working at the Headquarters buildings. Contact the Fund’s Parking Office for details about requesting a parking spot.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) operates public rail and bus transportation systems within DC and throughout many of the outlying suburbs.
DC’s metrorail, often referred to as “the metro”, provides safe, clean, reliable transit service throughout the Washington, DC area. The system has six color-coded rail lines: Red, Orange, Silver, Blue, Yellow, and Green. Stations are marked with tall brown columns with a large “M” identifying the station entrance. Colored stripes around the column show which lines serve the station.
Learn more at www.wmata.com/rail.
DC’s bus system provides a clean and efficient bus service throughout the city and to outlying suburbs. Stops are marked by red, white and blue signposts.
Learn more at www.wmata.com/bus
Additional bus service is provide by The Circulator, which directly connects many of the cities popular neighborhoods. Look for the red and yellow signs at bus stops and for the distinctly bright red and gray buses. Visit www.dccirculator.com to find out more.
SmarTrip and Fares
The Metro system uses a permanent, rechargeable card called a SmarTrip card to pay Metrorail and local bus system fares. Cards can be purchased online, at Metro sales offices, retail outlets, and commuter stores. Find out more about how the SmarTrip card works at www.wmata.com/fares/smartrip.
Learn more about fares at www.wmata.com/fares.
Car and Truck Rental
Don’t own a car, but need one on a temporary basis? Car and truck rental is available from a number of nation-wide rental companies throughout the DC metro area.
List of Major Car Rental Companies
Ridesharing and Carsharing
Ridesharing is a type of service that arranges onetime, ondemand shared rides, and has quickly become a popular alternative to taxi, public transportation, and driving.
Learn more about how ridesharing works.
Carsharing is a model of car rental where people rent cars for short periods of time, often by the hour. They are attractive to customers who make only occasional use of a vehicle, as well as others who would like occasional access to a vehicle of a different type than they use day-to-day. Major carsharing companies include Zipcar, Car2Go, and Enterprise CarShare.
Did you know?
The Fund has an agreement with Zipcar to provide Fund staff with free memberships as well as access to Zipcars at a discounted rate. You can find more information about how Zipcar membership for Fund staff on the HR Web on the IMF Intranet.
In recent years, Metro has taken new measures to encourage bicycle commuting. Learn more at www.wmata.com/getting_around/bike_ride/
Washington, DC also has a bicycle sharing service called Captial Bikeshare in which Bikeshare members have access to thousands of bikes throughout the DC area, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Members can “check out” a bike at one of the hundreds of stations and return it to the same or any other station. Check out a bike for your trip to work, Metro, run errands, go shopping, or visit friends and family. Capital Bikeshare has 24-hour, 3-day, 30-day, and annual membership plans. Learn more at www.capitalbikeshare.com.