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Undocumented immigrants can get driver's licenses in Illinois

Illinois will now allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses. The new law creates temporary visitor driver's licenses for these immigrants. The governor said the law will help increase public safety throughout the state as well as promote national immigration reform.

Supporters of the new law say that thousands of immigrants drive and travel on Illinois roads every day. Allowing undocumented immigrants to receive training and their driver's license will make them better drivers, keep Illinois roads safer and even prevent car accidents.

The driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants will have a purple border on the top of the license to identify that they are legally allowed to drive. The temporary visitor driver's license is only available for people who have valid proof of car insurance.

Below is the list of requirements for individuals seeking a temporary driver's license:

  • Submit to facial recognition software.
  • Provide proof of written signature, proof of birth date and letter of ineligibility for a Social Security number.
  • Show valid passport or consular identification card and two documents that prove a minimum of living in Illinois for one year or longer.
  • Receive drivers training and undergo vision screening, written and driving tests.
  • Purchase insurance.

The temporary driver's license is only valid for driving. It cannot be used as identification. Individuals who apply for the license will receive it through the mail. Immigrants can apply for the temporary driver's license in 10 months. The delay is to allow offices to implement the program.

It is unknown if allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses will impact road safety in Illinois. However, many believe it will lead to safer roads because everyone has to pass the driving exam as well as meet other requirements before obtaining a license.

Source: ABC 7, "Illinois become 4th state to issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants," Leah Hope, Jan. 27, 2013

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