Driving in United States

Obtaining a Driver's License

If you want to drive a motor vehicle, then you must obtain an Illinois State Driver’s License. This requires taking a written test on the driving regulations, and a driving test, at the Driver’s License Bureau. International Students with a driver’s license from their home country must change to an Illinois driver’s license within 90 days.

There are two Driver's License Bureaus in the area:

Secretary of State Offices
2450 W. Jefferson
Joliet, Illinois 60435
(815) 725-5262


Secretary of State Office
931 West 75th Street, Suite 161
Naperville, Illinois 60565
(312) 793-1010

Hours for both offices:

Tues: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Wed-Fri: 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Sat: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

To take the driving test, you will need to provide a vehicle.

If you are over 18 years of age

A driver’s license from your country may be used temporarily; however, to acquire an Illinois driver’s license, you will need:

  1. Passport
  2. Social Security Card
  3. One piece of mail with current residence address (e.g. a utility or telephone bill)

You will then take a written, a vision, and a driving test.  If you are 21 and over, there is a $10.00 fee for the license.  The license will not expire until four years from the date issued.

Before taking the test, you should study a booklet of Illinois driving laws and regulations titled, “Rules of the Road.”  This booklet can be obtained in the Office of International Student Services or the Secretary of State’s Office, or on the Secretary of State web site identified below.

If you are under 18 years of age

If you are under the age of 18, you are required to go through a driver’s education program.  Some suggestions are:

Sears Driving School
Joliet Township High School
(800) 483-7483
(815) 727-6950

If you have never driven a car, you should attend a drivers training course.

If you are under 18 years of age, there is a extra fee for the written, vision and driving tests, if taken in the same day.  The driver’s license is valid for three months past your 21st birthday.

You can find more information about obtaining a driver's license from the Illinois Secretary of State webpage: www.sos.state.il.us/home.html . This web site will provide helpful details offered by the Secretary of State's office on the "Locations of Drivers Services" link, as well as the booklet of laws and regulations called "Rules of the Road."

Illinois State Identification Card

If you do not wish to obtain a driver’s license, an Illinois Identification Card will serve all identification purposes. It can be obtained at the Secretary of State’s Office for $4.00.  The same documentation needed for your driver’s license is needed for an Identification Card.

Automobile Insurance

In the U.S., an automobile owner is fully responsible for any damages or injury as a result of an accident involving your motor vehicle. This is true even if another person is driving your car. If you own and drive a car, Illinois law states that you must buy automobile insurance. It is absolutely necessary for you to have coverage from a good auto insurance company.

Your insurance will cover these three (3) major areas:

A. Collision coverage will pay for damages to your car or another car in an accident.

B. Comprehensive coverage will pay if your car is stolen, vandalized, or damaged by ice and hail.

C. Liability coverage will pay medical and court settlement expenses if you are in an accident. Tip:  Before you buy automobile insurance, call several companies to compare their prices.  Check the telephone book under “Insurance-Automobile” for phone numbers of various companies.  You may also get insurance cost quotations through web sites such as www.quicken.com and www.progressive.com.