Center for International Studies

Driver's License

If you have an international driver's license and wish to drive in the United States, please apply for a temporary visitor driver's license (TVDL) as soon as possible.


Where to go

In the United States, the government office that deals with cars is called the DMV. It means Department of Motor Vehicles, but everyone calls it the DMV. This is the place you go to get your drivers license and register your car.


466 S. Deere Road


You can take bus 19 to get there. Just tell the driver you are going to the DMV.


How to get a drivers license

If you need to practice driving, you must first get a learners permit. This card allows you to drive with someone who is older than 21 and has had their drivers license for more than one year.

If you have a social security number (SSN), you can apply for a full drivers license, which lasts 3-5 years. You do not need to go to the social security office in Springfield.


*Effective July 1, 2014 Public Act 98-167 requires Illinois driver’s license applicants ages 18, 19, or 20, who have never previously been licensed or completed an approved driver education course, to complete a six hour Adult Driver Education Course.

The Adult Driver Education Course can only be taught by providers certified by the Secretary of State. Courses may be taught in a classroom setting or online, depending on the certification of a provider. Completion of an Adult Driver Education Course from a provider NOT LISTED, will not be accepted.

Upon successful completion of this course a certificate of completion will be provided to you and then you may visit a Secretary of State Driver Services facility to complete your vision, written and road test.

Click here to view a list of certified providers.


If you do not have a social security number (SSN), you can apply for a temporary drivers license, which lasts six months.

To get a drivers license, you must bring your passport, I-20 and I-94 card to the DMV and two documents to provide information about your address in the United States. Many of your university documents will have this address. You can come to the international office (Memorial Hall 347) if you need help finding these documents.

Bring 5 things to the DMV:

1)     Passport

2)     I-20

3)     I-94 (print it from

4)     your address information (you will need two separate documents)

5)     social security card (if you have one)


First you have to take a vision test, to check your eyes.

Then you will take a written test. This test will be about the information in the Illinois Driver's License Manual. You can download this manual here:

If you pass this test, they will give you a driving test. You will need to bring a car for this; the DMV cannot provide one. If you do not have a car, you can borrow on from a friend or rent one.

If you pass the tests, you will pay a $30 fee and get your drivers license.

It is important that you do not let your license expire. If you don't have a social security number, your license will only last six months. You can go to the DMV to renew your license.


Buying a car

There are two very important documents for all cars to have. These are called the Title and the Registration.

A title proves that you own your vehicle. If you buy a new car you must get a title for it. If you buy a used car you must change the title from the previous owner to your name. 

Registration is a document that proves that your car is safe to drive. 

You must also have insurance to legally drive a car. For a list of insurance agencies in Macomb, click here.

More resources:

Macomb Local Government Offices


You can call the DMV for any additional questions: Phone #: (309) 833-5661