What is a Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License in Illinois?

Every Illinois resident is required by law to have a driver’s license or a government-issued Photo ID. Before 2005, Illinois residents who did not have a social security number could not acquire a driver’s license.

In 2005, Illinois changed this policy to allow documented immigrants who have visas to obtain a Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License (TVDL) as long as they had a proper visa. This new law allowed spouses and children of temporary workers, long-term visitors, and international students to acquire a TVDL. Per Illinois state law SB which went into effect in 2013, TVDL licenses are now available to undocumented immigrant drivers as well as those with legal status.

TVDLs can only be used to operate motor vehicles. Applicants can acquire a TVDL license class of D, L or M (car or motorcycle). TVDL licenses are not acceptable forms of identification for entering federal buildings or boarding a plane or for any other official government purpose.

What is Required to Obtain a TVDL?

In order to successfully apply for a TVDL in Illinois, the applicant must do the following:

  • Show an unexpired, legally valid consular identification or passport.
  • Provide evidence proving that the applicant currently lives in Illinois and has lived in Illinois for one year or longer.
  • Pass all required road, written, and vision tests.
  • Provide proof of insurance for the car the applicant uses in his/her driver’s road test.
  • Pay a $30 fee.

Where do I Acquire a TVDL License?

You will need to sign up for an appointment at TVDL authorized facilities. Approximately 35 motor vehicle facilities throughout Illinois including 18 in the Chicago area and 17 downstate are authorized to issue TVDL licenses. TVDL licenses are valid for three years. When they expire, you may apply as a new applicant. When re-applying, you must schedule a new appointment and bring all of the required information to start the process anew.

What are the Consequences of Incorrectly Applying for a TVDL?

If you have obtained a TVDL license using falsified information or you have had a driving under the influence (DUI) charge while in possession of a TVDL license, you might be subject to criminal prosecution, fines and/or a license suspension. TVDL licenses do not indicate whether a person is a documented or undocumented immigrant, however they are visually distinct from typical Illinois driver’s licenses.

If you or a loved one would like to secure a TVDL driver’s license, you have obtained a TVDL license using false information, or you have been charged with a DUI while in possession of a TVDL license, it is important that you secure legal assistance.

Attorney Thomas Glasgow has extensive experience with successful Illinois DUI defense and Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License matters. Contact our Schaumburg, Illinois license reinstatement attorneys by filling out this online form. Our lawyers represent clients throughout Cook, Lake, DuPage, McHenry, and Kane Counties, and we are available to tell you more about your legal options.

(image courtesy of Abdiel Ibarra)

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