The Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL) is a document permitting foreign-born people without a social security number to drive in the state of Illinois. TVDLs are valid only for driving, not for identification (i.e.: one cannot use a TVDL to enter a plane or enter federal buildings). After someone receives a TVDL, it is valid for three years from its publication, and only works if the cardholder can provide proof of liability insurance. Additionally, the Secretary of State facility will not issue the TVDL on the day of the application and will mail it after verifying the application information. TVDLs are only valid in Illinois and no other states.
Initially, the state of Illinois only issued TVDLs to Illinois residents with lawful immigration status, including international students, long-term visitors, and family of temporary workers, but the state has since expanding the TVDL program to include undocumented residents. For undocumented immigrants, the TVDL protects them from arrest for driving without a license and from potential imprisonment and deportation for that offense. Any foreign-born person (visa or non-visa) without a social security number who has resided in Illinois for 12 months is eligible for the TVDL.
To qualify, applicants must provide proof of liability insurance, pay a $30 application fee, and pass the vision, written, and road exams. Additionally, applicants must provide the following proof or identification for the following information:
- Either an unexpired Foreign Passport issued by the country of citizenship OR a Consular Card issued from Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia or Ecuador;
- Written signature (unexpired Foreign Passport, Consular Card, court order, credit card, mortgage/installment loan agreement, Mexican electoral card, etc.);
- Current address (Consular Card, utility bill, bank statement, credit report insurance policy, medical claim, official mail, retirement statement, certified school transcripts, etc.); and
- Proof of 12-month residency issued at least 12 months before the application date (bank statement, insurance policy, official mail, medical claim, Consular Card, etc.)
First-time applicants will also be required to complete a verification of residency form at www.cyberdriveillinois.com. Applicants need only bring one of each of the types of documents listed above except for proof of current address, which requires two. Additionally, if applicants use a Consular Card to prove their current address, they cannot use it to prove their 12-month residency.
An important note: If an undocumented immigrant has ever obtained a drivers’ license using false information (such as a fake social security number) or had a DUI on their record, then they could face a suspension or criminal prosecution when applying for TVDL. Individuals who have either used a false drivers’ license, had a DUI or committed any other act that could involve criminal prosecution should consult with an attorney before applying for a TVDL.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.
Written by Francis Law Center Staff Christian Monzon