Illinois Driver’s License Information For Undocumented Residents

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Senate Bill 957, allowing undocumented residents living in Illinois to obtain temporary visitor driver’s licenses (TVDLs), becomes law, December 3, 2013.

A pilot program will begin at four state driver services facilities with a scheduled expansion at 21 other locations in January 2014. The licenses may be used only for driving and are not considered valid forms of identification for activities such as entering a federal building, voting, buying a firearm, or boarding a plane.

Unlike a standard driver’s license, which has a red stripe across the top and may be renewed every four years, the temporary visitor licenses have a purple stripe. The license is valid for a maximum of three years; no renewal options are allowed. Holders must reapply as a new applicant after three years, presenting all required documents for verification.

What requirements will applicants need to obtain a TVDL?

To qualify for a TVDL, an undocumented immigrant must:

  • Prove they’ve lived in Illinois for at least one year;
  • Provide a valid unexpired passport or consular ID;
  • Provide other proof of identity and residency that the Secretary of State might require;
  • Provide documentation that they are not eligible for a Social Security Number;
  • Pass all applicable vision, written, and road tests;
  • Show proof of insurance for the vehicle used for the road test;
  • Pay a $30 fee.

Acceptable proof of identity documents include a copy of a lease, utility bills and a valid passport or consular identification card. A complete list of required documents needed to apply for a TVDL is available at: http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/TVDL/tvdl.html.
The tests are offered in Spanish, Polish, Mandarin Chinese and Korean – applicants must make an appointment in advance.

What happens if someone with a TVDL drives without insurance?

TVDL holders will be subject to all provisions of the Vehicle Code, including those requiring insurance coverage. In fact, anyone applying for any license, including a TVDL, must prove that the vehicle she is using for her road test is insured. Finally, if someone with a TVDL is stopped and cannot show proof of insurance, the TVDL becomes invalid, and the motorist can be ticketed for driving without a license.

To schedule an appointment or see a list of participating facilities, visit the Illinois DMV.