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Illinois has moved one step closer to issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented, non-United States citizens. Senate Bill 957, which the Senate passed in early December, expands temporary visitor’s driver’s licenses to include non-citizens who cannot produce documentation authorizing their presence in the country. If the act becomes law, Illinois will join New Mexico and Washington as the only states to issue such driver’s licenses.

To qualify for the issuance of a temporary visitor’s driver’s license under the proposed legislation, undocumented applicants would be required to demonstrate residency in Illinois for more than one year, that they are ineligible to obtain a Social Security number, and that they are unable to present documentation issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services authorizing their presence in the country. Applicants must also submit a valid unexpired passport from their country of citizenship or a valid unexpired consular identification document. Additionally, applicants would be required to undergo the same examination process as applicants who apply for a standard driver’s license, such as an eye examination, on-the-road examination, and written test. The temporary visitor’s driver’s license is valid for a shorter period of three years for undocumented applicants.

Applicants under the age of 18 who obtain a temporary visitor’s driver’s license would be subject to the graduated driver’s license provisions of the Vehicle Code. Additionally, temporary visitor’s driver’s license holders would also be required to carry liability insurance. If a temporary visitor’s driver’s license holder is unable to provide proof of mandatory insurance coverage upon request of a police officer, the driver’s license would be considered invalid and the person could be charged with a violation of 625 ILCS 5/6-101. Lastly, Senate Bill 957 provides that a temporary visitor’s driver’s license cannot serve as proof of the holder’s identity.

The Transportation: Vehicles & Safety Committee of the Illinois House is scheduled to hear the bill on January 7, 2013.

Kevin A. Chrzanowski

Author: Kevin A. Chrzanowski