How to get driving licence – Tips to alien dependents in Quad cities, IL

Step 3: Road test

Once you are comfortable and are bored of driving practice you can go for the test. If you want to gain more confidence, you can ask your family friend or other experienced driver to rate your driving skills and ask for suggestions. This is useful as you may be blinded by your spouse’s positive as well negative comments.

Check Points

Stopping at the signals and Stop signs, Indicators, Lane change rules, Left and right turn, Backing up from a parking lot, Parking are some of the basic skills tested. The other resources and rules of Illinois can be found at Rules of the Road.

You will be tested to start the vehicle, back the vehicle, turn about, park uphill, start uphill, park downhill, start downhill, control the vehicle and so on. 

Acceptable Documents

Along with the passport, I-94, letter with your name and address printed, it is mandatory to have the letter from SSN office. Also, insurance card of the vehicle is mandatory.

  • The validity of the proof of address, that is, a letter with your name and address printed is only one month.
  • The letter from SSN office is valid for only three months or 90 days.

So, check the validity before you decide to go for road test.

Car Condition

The car you are taking for the test must be in good driving condition. Make sure all the indicators, lights, wipers and other controls are working. The tyres and seats must be clean and in good condition.

Clean the car windows, rear-view mirror, side-mirrors, rear window shield with clean cloth. Keep the dash board and the cup holder clean and cluster free.

Day of the test

I started early and drove to Rockford along with my spouse and kid. The journey was smooth though the kid got bored in the backseat. After reaching the office, here is what happened.

  • As it was a week day, the office was not crowded and I was led directly to the counter
  • The officer checked my documents and learner’s permit and insurance card of the vehicle
  • After checking the documents, they asked me to wait until the officer arrives
  • The officer was a white American. He appeared friendly and was soft spoken
  • He instructed me to sit in the car and turn on the signals and break
  • He checked the left signal, right signal and then the break light
  • After he was seated, I  asked him to adjust the seat height and leg distance
  • He instructed me to take the car through the parking lot to a small road at the back of the DMV office
  • He observed whether I stopped correctly at the STOP signal and traffic signals
  • The officer checked whether I was scanning the road, whether I was using the indicators properly and how I started from a STOP signal
  • The officer asked me to take right and left turns in a small residential road with maximum speed limit if 30 mph
  • At a downhill, I was asked to park the vehicle and immediately asked to get to the main road. Remember to switch on the parking light, when you park the vehicle at the downhill or uphill
  • I was asked to take a three-point turn at an intersection
  • And finally after multiple left and right turns we came back to the DMV office
  • The officer suggested that I could park anywhere I like
  • I waited for ongoing pedestrians and then parked opposite the DMV office
  • I was really scared now as the car was in a cross position and was not parked straight
  • Then, the officer turned to me, smiled and said that I ‘passed the test’

Finally, the officer instructed me to wait in the office. After a while, the counter officer called   y name to take a picture. They took the picture and a minute later handed me my licence.

I was happy to see  my face on the card in the outlined by the border of Illinois state. My spouse and kid were happy. My spouse was happy that all his training was fruitful and I had successfully completed the test. My son for having passing the test and he could go to karate classes. 🙂

What was surprising is the test is far easier than actual driving on the road. I wonder what would happen if the officer tested me on a highway or in the downtown.

How to get driving licence – Tips to alien dependents in Quad cities, IL

Step 2: Practice, Practice, Practice

When it comes to the road test, you really need two months of on the road driving experience to gain enough confidence and expertise. The basic requirement is fifty hours of training including ten hours in the night.

Key Rule

The important rule is to drive. Get your spouse in to the passenger seat and take charge of the driving. Of Course, your spouse is going to be your driving coach.

It is better to think all the scoldings and screamings from the spouse as the suggestions of the coach, instead of getting irritated (which we all do daily :)).

Your spouse is an experienced driver (Probably got a couple of tickets already :)) and is going to guide you perfectly than any other private trainer.

Car controls

Get acquainted with the basic controls of the car, which my seven-year-old already knows well.

Some of the first actions once you are seated. Starting the engine, wearing a seat belt, adjusting the rear-view and side mirrors, checking everyone is buckled up, see the gas level, music level and temperature level in the car, and so on.

Adjusting the seat height and distance from the accelerator and breaks is must every time for me. My physical measurements are different than my spouse so I have to make the adjustments every time. My car has this cool feature of setting the seat positions and with a press of a button your seat is back to your required level. Voila!!

Practice on Road

Back to the road practice, I made this mandatory that whenever we get out to a store or a friend’s place, I would drive with my husband’s guidance. Once you get a learner’s permit, you can drive with an experienced driver in the passenger seat.

Instead of spending separate time for practicing driving, it is better to drive whenever you go out. Of Course, this is risky but you have to take the chance to drive more. That’s the only opportunity to get more driving experience.

Next step is to take the road test.

How to get driving licence – Tips to alien dependents in Quad cities, IL

Taking your kid to the library or getting an urgent grocery from Walmart can be a challenge if you cannot drive in US. You are practically crippled if you cannot drive. I got my Temporary Visitor Driving Licence (TVDL) recently.

All these days, I was hoping to get a valid identification document once I receive a Driving licence, but  was surprised to learn that alien dependents who do not possess an SSN get a TVDL, not a DL. The TVDL is not a valid identification document, it says.

Anyways, here are some tips I followed:

Step 1: Computer test

Take the computer test after you have gone through the driving manual of Illinois. Reading the entire book once or twice will help.

You may not memorize all the rules, but it is better to remember the basic rules and signals. Passing the computer test is easier than the road test and may require one week study.

It is a must to acquire a letter from SSN office before going to the Rockford DMV office. The other documents required can be found at Acceptable Documents.

Being a Saturday, the office was busy and crowded when I took the computer test.

  1. You will be required to take a token number on entering.
  2. Once your number is called, you need to submit your required documents at the counter.
  3. The people are courteous to speak slow enough that we can understand them. So I wasn’t scared.
  4. An eye exam will be performed at the counter to screen your vision. It is similar to the one which do at the doctor’s office.
  5. After verifying the documents, you will be asked to wait to take the computer test.
  6. Once the queue is cleared, you will be asked to start the test.
  7. If you are familiar with computers and English, the test environment is comfortable.
  8. The questions appear one after the other. All are multiple choice or fill in the blanks. You will have to select an answer from the given options.
  9. If you are unsure of an answer, you can skip that question, which will appear later.
  10. Sometimes the questions are linked and are leading answers to other questions.
  11. Once you are done with all the questions (35/100), the results appear.
  12. You need not answer all the questions correctly, if you get minimum correct, you are through.

The officers will give you a Learner’s Permit after you pass the computer test. You can drive a vehicle under the supervision of a licence holder. The validity of the permit is one year. Now, you can practice driving the vehicle.

Read my subsequent posts about the remaining two steps.

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