Unlicensed Immigrants Learn the Rules of the Road

The Waukegan Public Library now offers a class to help foreign born residents prepare to pass the Department of Motor Vehicles’ written exam in order to obtain a temporary visitor driver’s license (TVDL). Since 2005, the state of Illinois has issued TVDLs to individuals in Illinois who have lawful immigration status but no social security number.

On January 27, 2013, Senate Bill 957 established a new TVDL for undocumented immigrants. Applicants may begin applying for these TVDLs approximately ten months from the date of the Bill. A TVDL may be used only for driving and not for identification and must be renewed after three years.

To meet the needs of the community, Library staff created the Rules of the Road study group to help Waukegan immigrants understand driving laws and how to lawfully obtain a TVDL.  Without a driver’s license, residents have a difficult time commuting to school, work, and running basic errands like grocery shopping. The study group explains the State of Illinois Motor Vehicle book driving laws to Spanish speakers to prepare them for the written exam. The class is free and offered days and evenings.

“The class was created to teach safe driving strategies to unlicensed immigrants so they can make well-informed decisions on the road. In addition to basic driving information, it includes discussions on road hazards and the importance of having automobile insurance,” said Carmen Patlan, Community Engagement and Outreach Manager. “The participants have all been extremely grateful that we opened an opportunity such as the TVDL study group so that they can become informed and educated legal drivers in the community.”

To qualify for a TVDL, an applicant must prove that they have been a resident of Illinois for at least one year and provide documentation that includes a letter of ineligibility for a social security card, proof of date of birth, proof of signature, two forms of documentation proving one year of residency and a valid passport from their native country or a Consular Identification card. Applicants must also pass the vision, written, and road tests and pay a fee. TVDLs are distinguished from regular driver’s licenses because they have a purple/blue color scheme rather than the standard red driver’s license.

To find out more about the Waukegan Public Library’s Rules of the Road class or to register, call Tatiana Alonso at 847-623-2041, ext. 273 or email talonso [at] waukeganpl [dot] info.