Temporary driver's licenses issued in Peoria

By Beau Ebenezer

January 24, 2014 Updated Jan 25, 2014 at 12:15 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Undocumented immigrant drivers in the state of Illinois have been all smiles since last year.

That is because of a new law allowing them to receive Temporary Visitor Driver's Licenses.

Those who voted for the law last year said it would bring down insurance costs for drivers along with making the roads safer.

Now, Peoria's facility has started serving applicants.

"They are going to have to prove their date of birth, and they are going to have to prove their residency that they have been hear for more than one year in the state of Illinois," said Peoria DMV Regional Manager, Billy Halstead. "You have to have these certain documents, and if you don't have these documents, you won't be able to be processed."

Applicants will also be required to pass a driving and written test.

If passed, individuals will receive their license by mail in up to three weeks.

Latino community members have been preparing for this over the last few months.

The Latino Outreach Program in Peoria has provided them with books and information on driving laws.

Outreach officials said before the new law, many undocumented immigrants were forced to drive illegally without a license.

"It is big. It means a lot because now people can drive freely," said Latino Outreach translations coordinator, Catalina Zavala. "They are no longer afraid to be stopped and get a ticket or penalty."

There are currently 45,000 applicants state-wide.

Bloomington has already issued more than 100 licenses since it began in December.

License officials in Peoria said they have 13 appointments per day set up for the coming weeks.

In order to apply for a license, appointments must be made online at cyberdriveillinois.com.