Published:  November 4, 2013

Beginning November 12, 2013, the State of Illinois’ Secretary of State’s office will begin the process of allowing certain noncitizens without access to social security numbers, including undocumented foreign nationals, to obtain temporary drivers licenses.  The program, which was first announced earlier this year, is expected to draw at least 250,000 applicants in the coming 2 years.

Highlights of the new policy and process include:

1)  Starting November 12, 2013, prospective applicants will be able to schedule an in-person appointment at a Secretary of State facility by way of A) a telephone call to 1-855-236-1155 OR B) by way of website contact at  In addition to English, each of these avenues will have the capacity to accommodate foreign language communication, including Spanish, Polish, Mandarin Chinese and Korean.

2)  Prospective applicants without an appointment scheduled via telephone or online will NOT be serviced on a walk in basis.  Thus, applicants are advised not to show up without an appointment.

3)  The earliest appointments being scheduled are for December 3 at two Secretary of State locations:  5301 W. Lexington in Chicago AND 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway in Springfield.  On December 10, 2 additional facilities will start accommodating prospective applicants:  5401 N. Elston in Chicago and 1510 W. Market St. in Bloomington.  By January, 21 more facilities will be available to process these applications.

4)  The temporary licenses, which will be valid for 3 years, will only be issued to applicants who present A) a valid consular i.d. card, passport or other proof of identity and date of birth as well as B) evidence of 1 year of residency in the state – and again regardless of immigration status.  To prove their residence in Illinois, applicants will be required to present a lease, utility bill, or other similar documentation.

5)  All applicants will be required to provide proof of auto insurance coverage

6)  Appearances at a facility can expect to take at least 2 hours, where applicants will be administered a vision test as well as a written and behind-the-wheel driving test.

7)  The application fee will be $30.00

8)  According to Secretary of State officials, the identities and immigration status of applicants will not generally be shared with federal immigration authorities or other governmental agencies.  However, on a “case by case basis”, such information may indeed be released where Secretary of State officials receive a subpoena or “a legitimate request from police”.

9)  Prospective applicants are cautioned to think twice about applying if they have previously obtained a driver’s license under an assumed identity.  The facilities are equipped with facial recognition software and individuals may find themselves subject to prosecution for previous fraudulent license applications.  That is not to say, such individuals should never apply and will forever face unfixable consequences.  Rather, such vulnerable applicants should be fully aware of the possible risks of proceeding before initiating an application under this new program.


PUBLISHED November 4, 2013 – “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2013, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois