Graduate Studies

Applying for a U.S. Driver's License


Who is eligible for a driver’s license? 

Any F, M or J nonimmigrant may apply for a temporary visitor driver’s license (TVDL) as long as he or she is in lawful status and presents the necessary supporting documents required to verify legal presence in the United States.  If you possess an international driver’s license or one from another U.S. state, you should apply for an Illinois TVDL.


What should an F, M or J nonimmigrant do before applying for a state driver’s license?

A nonimmigrant student or exchange visitor should:

  • Become aware of the appropriate state requirements (
  • Wait a minimum of 10 calendar days from the date of entry into the United States before applying for a driver’s license.


Do I need an SSN to apply for a Driver’s License?

  • If you have a job, please wait until you have your SSN to apply for a driver’s license.
  • If you do not have a job and do not have an SSN, email email and attach a copy of the completed SS-5 form  ( plus your passport and explain that the reason you are submitting the application is in order to receive a denial letter for the IL Driver’s License process.  (You do not need to be interviewed in person).


What documentation must a nonimmigrant present to the DMV?

In general, the nonimmigrant should present:

  • Passport
  • I-94 (print a copy of your I-94 number at
  • Form I-20
  • 2 documents which prove your residency, such as a copy of your apartment lease, a utility bill (electric, water, telephone, cable), official mail from the University, etc.


Once you gather the required documents, go to the Macomb Secretary of State Facility (DMV).  You will take a written test and a driving test.  It may be helpful to review the Rules of the Road handbook before you take the tests.  This handbook can be obtained at the Macomb Secretary of State Facility or online.


Please Note:  If you need to bring a translator to take the written test, you must call the DMV to schedule an appointment.  The phone number to call is (309) 833-5661.


Macomb Secretary of State Facility                               

466 Deer Rd                                                                      

Macomb, IL 61455                                                           


Road tests generally are available until 30 minutes prior to closing; however, the number of customers waiting for road tests may necessitate an earlier cut-off time.  If you are taking a road test, you must show a vehicle insurance card.  Road tests will not be started after dark regardless of the time, and may be denied or discontinued due to unsafe road, weather or vehicle conditions.macomb