U.S. Driver’s License

International Driver’s Permit

There is no known legitimate “international driver's license,” though some scam artists try to sell them at costs from $5–500. However, there are international driver’s permits (IDP); the IDP translates the license issued to you in your home country so that it can be understood by officials in other countries. You still need to carry along your original driver’s license even if you have an IDP.

  • You must obtain an international driving permit in your home country. While lack of an IDP does not invalidate your home country license, having one makes it easier for law enforcement to assess the validity of your home country driver’s license.
  • The law states that you can drive on your country’s driver’s license until it is expired. (Vice versa, U.S. students get translation of U.S. driver’s license when traveling overseas.) Check with your country consulate to find out where you can get an IDP—a notary public is not enough.

Getting an Illinois Driver’s License

In order to get an Illinois driver’s license, you must have a Social Security number. If you are ineligible for a Social Security number, you may apply for a Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License (TVDL) or an Illinois State ID (which will not allow you to drive).

How to Apply for a Driver’s License

You must visit an Illinois Driver Services Facility. The closest one to Moody is the Chicago Central location:

100 West Randolph St.
Concourse level
Chicago, Il 60601

Hours: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Fee: The basic fee for a driver's license is $30

For more information please visit the Illinois Secretary of State website

You are required to take a written exam (plus a vision screening) and a road test (driving exam); because the Chicago Center location doesn't offer the road test service, you will need to fulfill that part of the license application at a different Driver Services Facility. One location within Chicago that provides the road test service is the Chicago North facility located at:

5401 North Elston Ave.
Chicago, Il 60630

Hours: Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.

Fee: The basic fee for a driver's license is $30

If you would prefer to take the road test at a suburban location, you can find a listing of all Illinois Driver Services Facilities at the Illinois Secretary of State website.

You can get more information about driving rules in Illinois and about taking the exams at the following websites:

Items to Bring

First-time applicants for an Illinois driver’s license must present several documents:

  • Group A: Written Signature--USCIS Form (I-20)
  • Group B: Proof of Date of Birth---Valid passport
  • Group C: Social Security Number---Social security card (not the denial letter)
  • Group D: Residency/Personal Data (Bring two documents)

Examples of the proof of residency may be, but are not limited to the following: Lease agreement, utility bill, vehicle registration card, a letter from Res Life, school bill, paystub, bank letter, phone bill.

Applying for a Temporary Visitors Driver’s License

Who Is Eligible?

The Secretary of State's office issues a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL) for non-citizens of the United States who have been granted temporary, legal entry into this country and are temporarily residing in the State of Illinois and ineligible for a Social Security number. To be eligible for a TVDL, a foreign national must:

  • Be a non-citizen of the United States residing in Illinois
  • Be authorized by the USCIS to be present in this country, and provide documentation such as F-2 visa, spouse I-20 (as well as F-1 student who does not have a SSN)
  • Be ineligible for a social security number, and present a letter from Social Security Administration (SSA) dated within 90 day (The form is called SSA-L676, “Refusal to Process SSN”)
  • Be authorized to be in the country for at least one year and have at least six months remaining on an authorized stay
  • Provide acceptable documentation that proves name, date of birth, Illinois residency and verification of written signature
  • Pay the appropriate fee, and successfully complete a vision screening and the appropriate written and road tests
  • A TVDL will be issued only in a Class D, L, M, DL or DM, authorizing operation of a personal car, motorcycle or motor-driven cycle. A TVDL is valid for three years or for the period of time the individual is authorized to stay in this country, whichever ends sooner.

We suggest that if you are married you bring your spouse with you.

Where Should I Go to Apply?

Applicants must visit one of seven selected facilities during business hours. Only certain selected dates are open for TVDL the application (see more details from the website) Two of those locations are in Chicago:

Chicago North Facility
5401 N. Elston St.
Chicago, Il 60630

Hours: Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.

Chicago West Facility
5301 W. Lexington St.
Chicago, Il 60644

Hours: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m.–12 p.m.

International Student Office