Moving to a different country is a huge step, and one that often involves a lot of confusion. It can be difficult to figure out, for example, how long a foreign driver’s license is valid in a new country. It can be even tougher to determine how long that driver’s license is valid in a particular state.
In Illinois, a valid driver’s license issued from another country is valid for 90 days. After those 90 days have passed, a person who plans on becoming a permanent resident of the state of Illinois will need to get an Illinois driver’s license. However, if the foreign driver’s license is expired, then the person holding that license will need to get an Illinois driver’s license as soon as possible, even if they haven’t lived in the state for 90 days yet.
Who needs to get an Illinois driver’s license? Only people who are planning on becoming legal residents of Illinois need to obtain an Illinois license. Those who are simply driving through the state or visiting can drive in Illinois using their foreign license, as long as the foreign license is valid and non-expired. College students who are only in Illinois for the purposes of education generally do not need to obtain a driver’s license from Illinois if they don’t plan on staying here.
Converting your foreign driver’s license to Illinois
In order to obtain an Illinois license, the person holding a foreign driver’s license will need to present several different documents to prove their identity to the state. These include documents showing name, date of birth and other identifiers. Of course, many people moving to Illinois from other countries may not have a social security number. A license known as the Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License can help individuals who cannot obtain a Social Security number drive legally in Illinois.
Those who are applying for a Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License need to show proof of residency and must also pass a vision test, written test and road examination. This type of license is valid for a period of three years and is used only for the purposes of driving; it is not a general identification card.
When a person moves to Illinois from another country, they can use their valid, non-expired foreign driver’s license in Illinois for up to 90 days. In order to avoid delays in obtaining an Illinois license, it may be helpful to begin gathering documents and visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles soon after moving.