National Immigrant Justice Center
208 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1818, Chicago, IL 60604
Illinois Driver's Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants
Important Immigration Rights Considerations
Before applying for temporary licenses, drivers should be sure they understand their full rights under immigration law. NIJC, a Chicago-based immigration legal aid and advocacy organization that provides immigration counsel to more than 10,000 people per year, emphasizes the following considerations:
- Only noncitizens without access to social security numbers should apply for temporary visitor driver’s licenses. Temporary driver’s licenses will authorize individuals to drive and obtain car insurance. Temporary licenses may not be used for identification or other purposes.
- Drivers with lawful immigration status are immediately eligible for regular driver’s licenses. This includes temporary status such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), any other form of deferred action, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Individuals with these forms of immigration documentation do not need to wait to obtain a license.
- Drivers who have had licenses using other names or social security numbers could be subject to criminal prosecution and should proceed with caution. Because the state uses facial recognition software, even a person who obtained a license in another person’s name could be at risk.
For more information about how the temporary visitor’s driver’s licenses will be issued, visit highwaysafetycoalition.org.