Driving in the U.S.

The Illinois Secretary of State office is responsible for the issuance of drivers licenses in the state of Illinois. International students and scholars are typically eligible for a Temporary Visitor Driver's License (TVDL) or a regular drivers license.

Please note that while international students can drive with a valid foreign driver's license, it is not recommended. If you do drive with the foreign driver's license, please be sure to carry a translation just in case.

Temporary Visitor Drivers License

To be eligible for TVDL, you must be:

  • A non-citizen of the U.S.
  • Granted temporary, legal entry into this country
  • Temporarily residing in the State of Illinois
  • Ineligible for a Social Security number
  • Be authorized to be in the country for at least one year and have at least six months remaining on an authorized stay (I-20)

The TVDL is valid for three years or for the period of time the individual is authorized to stay in this country, whichever ends sooner.

The Illinois Secretary of State office has more information about facilities, requirements and costs.

Regular Driver’s License

You will need to fulfill the identification requirements of the Secretary of State to apply for a license.

You will be required to take a vision and written test. If you do not have a driver’s license from your home country or your home country drives on the left side of the road, you will be required to take a driving test. The driving test must be taken in your own vehicle.

Contact Us

International Student Scholar Services (ISSS)
Williston Hall

Phone: 815-753-1346
Email: isss@niu.edu

Staff Office Hours

8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Walk-in Appointments

No scheduled appointment needed in these hours

10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m.