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Public transportation in Rochester is not as extensive as in some larger cities. Rail and bus systems are not as widespread, and living areas are more spread out. Many Americans own cars, the most common form of transportation, but it is quite possible to live in Rochester without owning a car.

The University’s Parking and Transportation Services website has information about:

Driving in the US

If you have a driver’s license from your home country, you are able to drive in New York State. You may drive legally with your current driver’s license and are not required to obtain a New York driver’s license unless you become a resident of this state (students and other temporary visitors do not usually satisfy this definition).

For information about purchasing, registering, and insuring a car in the US, see our vehicle ownership page.

International Driving Permit

Since most foreign driver’s licenses are written in a language other than English, you may want to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) if you plan to drive in the US. This document is not a driver’s license, but does offer a formal translation in several languages that you hold a valid license.

You are not required to have the permit, but it can be particularly helpful if you are pulled over or in an accident. You can only apply for the IDP in your home country. If you do not have an IDP, you may get an authorized translation and carry it with your current driver’s license as a precaution.

Access our Understanding Driver’s Licenses & Traffic Laws in New York handout for more about state requirements, guidance for drivers from other nations, local branches of the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and basic traffic laws.

Obtaining a New York State Driver’s License

For international students, scholars, and employees, your eligibility to apply for a New York State license is tied to your program dates. Your authorized status in the US must have a total duration of at least one year AND you must have at least 6 months remaining before the current expiration date.

Department of Motor Vehicles website