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Driving in the U.S.

Below is a basic guide to assist you through the process of applying for your State of Illinois State Driver’s License. If you need more detailed information please review the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website at

Please be aware that at times the DMV will not be able to process your application directly at their location. When you present the correct documents to the DMV they will process your information into their system. If the immigration screen does not allow them to process further then they will then copy all of your documents and send to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for further processing. This clearance check can take up to approximately 8 weeks.

The DMV is obligated to ask each applicant if they would like to register to vote. Your response must be no, as it is illegal for you to register to vote when you are not a citizen of the United States. If you say yes, it could lead to problems for future visa or Permanent Resident applications.

How to Apply

To receive a driver's license at the age of 18 or older, you must:

  • Be authorized to be in the country for at least one year and have at least six months remaining on an authorized stay
  • Visit the DMV (address and hours below)
  • Surrender licenses and/permits from other states
  • Present Liability Insurance Card (if taking driving exam)
  • Pass the appropriate exams (review the Rules of the Road book); type of exams include: vision, written and/or behind-the-wheel driving exam
  • Pay the appropriate fee via cash, check or debit/credit card
  • You must bring a car with proof of auto insurance to take the driving exam
  • Present proper identification documents (see list below)

You will need to wait a few weeks after classes start to get your license if applying for the license in your first semester of classes.

  • Passport
  • I-94 print out (
  • Most recent I-20 or DS-2019 (If you have transferred to the university directly from another school in the U.S. you must show both your prior school’s I-20 used for entry to the U.S. and your University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign I-20)
  • Two items from the following list to show Proof of Address:
    • Lease agreement with address listed, your name and signature of the landlord
    • Utility Bill (electric, water, cell phone, etc., issued within 90 days of application)
    • Tuition invoice/official mail from college or university dated within 12 months prior to application
    • Renter’s insurance policy

The DMV may collect copies of all your documents and send for review to DHS.
No personal mail accepted.

Champaign Driver’s License Office:

2012 Round Barn Road
Champaign, IL 61820

  • Phone: 217.278.3344
  • Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Tuesday), 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday), 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon (Saturday)

Monticello and Rantoul also have driver’s license offices which tend to be less busy than the Champaign office. You are also welcome to get your license at those facilities.

Downloadable Instructions