The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
Visit our resources for immigrants for information about who we help and the services we provide, along with basic information about how immigrants can defend their rights during immigration proceedings or if they are arrested and detained by the Department of Homeland Security.
What is a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL)?
The Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses (TVDLs) is a legal document permitting foreign-born individuals living in Illinois to drive. Established in 2005, TVDLs have been issued to individuals without a Social Security Number, but who have lawful immigration status, such as international students, spouses and children of temporary workers, and long-term visitors. Under the new state law SB 957, TVDLs will be available to undocumented drivers. A TVDL does NOT serve as identification, meaning you cannot use it to board a plane, enter federal buildings, or for any other official purposes. TVDLs are only valid for driver’s license class D, L, or M (car or motorcycle).
How can I get my TVDL?
TVDL applications will be available at facilities throughout the state. Appointments can be made at https://www.ilsos.gov
or by calling (855) 236-1155. Appointments are required for TVDL applicants.
What if I cannot attend my appointment?
To cancel your appointment, please call 312-814-4913.
When will I receive my TVDL?
It will be printed and mailed to you after your application is verified. You will NOT receive it the day of your appointment.
How long will my TVDL be valid for?
It is valid for 3 years, after which point you have to reapply as a new applicant by presenting new documentation.
Will someone know I’m undocumented when they see my TVDL?
No. TVDLs are available to undocumented immigrants as well as visa holders who are unable to obtain social security numbers. However, TVDLs are visually distinct from a driver’s license; they use a purple color scheme as opposed to the red, and are clearly marked as “not valid for identification.”
Will my TVDL be accepted outside of Illinois?
Other states will decide on their own whether to accept TVDLs. Individuals planning to drive out of state should confirm whether that state accepts TVDLs.
Should I register to vote when I apply for my TVDL?
No. Only U.S. citizens may register to vote.
Do I qualify?
To qualify for a TVDL, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Prove that they have lived in Illinois for at least one year
- Provide a valid unexpired passport or consular ID
- Provide other proof of identity and residency the Secretary of State may require
- Pass the vision, written, and road exams
- Provide proof of insurance for the vehicle used for the road test
- Pay a $30 application fee ($35 for motorcycles)
Do I need to obtain a copy of my driving record?
No. Applicants do not need to obtain a copy of their driving record unless it is requested during the application process.
**WARNING: INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE USED A FALSE DRIVERS’ LICENSE SHOULD CONSULT WITH CRIMINAL DEFENSE AND IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS PRIOR TO APPLYING FOR A TVDL**
The Secretary of State will also check the applicant’s driving record, including past violations (e.g. driving under the influence (DUI) or providing false information on a prior license application to the Secretary of State) that might impact the applicant’s eligibility to receive a TVDL. Anyone who is subject to a suspension must serve the suspension before receiving a TVDL.
For more information on application requirements, please visit the Secretary of State
*Individuals who are seeking asylum or other protection in the U.S. should be aware that applying for a passport or consular ID can impact asylum eligibility and should consult with an immigration attorney before applying for a new passport or consular ID.