TVDL Applications Are Now Open!:

But What Should You Know Before Applying?

November 26, 2013

In December, Illinois will become the third state in the U.S. to permit its undocumented residents to obtain driver’s licenses.

The Latino Policy Forum hopes to see the successful roll out of the expanded Temporary Visitors Driver’s License (TVDL) in Illinois; the Forum has identified some concerns with the provisions (haz clic aquí para español), which are outlined below. We urge applicants and advocates to inform themselves on the specifics of the program.  

Applicants should be aware of potential scams or predators relying false or misleading information regarding the process of obtaining a TVDL. The Forum urges applicants to contact Illinois Secretary of State’s (ILSOS) offices directly on the web, or via phone at 1-855-236-1155.

What You Need to Know

To submit an application, applicants must first make an appointment with the ILSOS via phone 1-855-236-1155 or online at During the appointment, applicants will submit required documents, as well as complete application forms and tests. If an applicant successfully completes their background checks and exams, their TVDL will be mailed within 15-20 days.

The Forum urges applicants to consider the following before applying to TVDL (you can read more about our concerns here; haz clic aquí para español):

1. Don’t be fooled: only certain ILSOS offices—4 locations in December and ultimately 36 locations across the state will process TVDL documents. You can find a list of locations here.

2. The ILSOS does not intend to provide your information to other entities, however, they will be required to divulge applicant information should it be requested by any federal agency.   
3. You’ll need to present documents that prove your identity and Illinois residency. Read the full list of required documents here.
4. To identify cases of identity fraud and protect applicants against future instances of fraud, the ILSOS will use facial recognition software as part of the TVDL application process.
5. Individuals who may have obtained a driver’s license with false information in the past and/or who have other potential criminal issues must take special caution when applying.

The Latino Policy Forum strongly recommends that individuals review their cases with a licensed attorney or an accredited legal services provider prior to applying for a TVDL, particularly for applicants with questions regarding past driving incidents or criminal histories. The Forum also recommends applicants consult with a licensed attorney before admitting to any act that could lead to criminal charges or prosecution as it could adversely impact your immigration status.

On November 12, ILSOS began accepting TVDL appointments.  Within four hours, ILSOS was booked solid, filling TVDL appointment slots through February 2014. The ILSOS will accommodate up to 120 applicants each day until the end of November; additional appointments will be made available on December 3.

It is estimated that ILSOS will only be able to process approximately 120,000 applicants per year. As the Forum estimates there are about 300,000 TVDL-eligible non-visa status individuals in the state, not all eligible applicants will receive their TVDLs in the first year of the program.

If you have any additional questions, please contact Isabel Anadon, senior policy analyst and civic engagement manager at the Latino Policy Forum.

Latino Policy Forum  
180 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 1250, Chicago, IL 60601  
312-376-1766 (office) | 312-376-1760 (fax)


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