International Students Exploration Guide

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Obtaining an Illinois Driver’s License

Applying for an Illinois Driver’s License

International students are permitted to obtain an Illinois Driver’s License during their time in the USA. ISS assists international students in applying for a driver’s license by writing a Verification of F-1 Student Status Letter for the applicant. This letter simply confirms that the applicant is a valid F-1 visa holder and is eligible to apply for a driver’s license. This confirmation letter is one of several required identification documents that the applicant must show to apply for an Illinois Driver’s License. The cost of an Illinois State Driver’s License is $30.

The following are general steps for applying for a driver’s license. Please follow the embedded links for more important details from the Illinois Department of State.

  1. Visit a Secretary of State facility
  2. Bring required identification documents
  3. Pay the appropriate fee
  4. Pass the appropriate exams (vision screening, written and/or driving)

A social security number is required to apply for an Illinois Driver’s License.

Applying for a Temporary Visitors Driver’s License

If you do not have a social security number, you may still apply for a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL). The Secretary of State’s office issues a TVDL for non-citizens of the United States who have been granted temporary, legal entry into this country and are temporarily residing in the State of Illinois and ineligible for a Social Security number. To check your eligibility for a TVDL and how to apply, visit the Secretary of State website and click “Temporary Driver’s License.” A document provided more information on eligibility, facilities, process, and more can be found here.

Where to Apply

Lombard Illinois Secretary of State Facility
837 S Westmore Ave. B27
Lombard, IL 60148

(Or closest Secretary of State Facility)

The Lombard Secretary of State’s office is open Monday–Friday from 7:30 am –5 pm and Saturday from 7:30 am- 5 pm.

The cost of an Illinois State ID is $20.

Please note: TDVLs (Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses) can currently only be obtained in designated locations. For a listing of locations plus process/document requirements please visit:

What to Bring

Download the Acceptable Identification Documents

Normally, the following are needed for international students applying for the Illinois State ID.

  • Group A, Written Signature: Passport
  • Group B, Date of Birth: U.S. Visa
  • Group C, Social Security Number: Social Security Card or Non-SSA-1099 Form
  • Group D, Residency: Letter on Official School Letterhead

Updating Your Information

ISS assists F-1 International Students in maintaining and updating current information on their SEVIS record.

  • F-1 regulations require that F-1 International Students report any address changes to DHS within 10 days. This is done via a student updating ISS and ISS updating the student’s SEVIS record.
  • Any Major or Minor changes (add, drop) need to be reported to ISS and updated in SEVIS to maintain accurate records as well. This can affect employment benefits such as CPT and OPT.

To update your address or academic major/minor on your SEVIS record please email within one week of the change.

Please note: Students should also update their personal information on file with Elmhurst University via the Self Service application in the myElmhurst Portal. This is not done as part of the ISS update on a student’s SEVIS record. Always make sure your information is up to date before submitting forms, letter requests, etc.

Letter Requests

As an F-1 International Student you might need a variety of letters for different purposes (bank accounts, apartment leases, military waivers, family visit for graduation, etc.). The following are the main letters ISS issues:

  • Verification of F-1 Student Status
  • Invitation Letter (Graduation)
  • DSO Letter for SSN (with on-campus or authorized CPT employment)

Students can request an Enrollment Verification document, which also contains a student’s provided address, through the Office of Registration and Records here.

Please note that ISS might require some information from the requestor to complete a letter (such as family information for the Invitation letter and a Letter of Employment for the SSN letter). In the near future, these letters will be automated requests via forms that students will be able to complete. Until then please email to request a letter.

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