Transportation & Driving
There are many ways to get where you need to go in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Public transportation may look a little different from what you are used to back home, and cars are a very popular mode of transit in the U.S., especially the further from urban areas you go.
Getting around your new hometown Heading link
Transportation options are a bit different depending on which UIC campus you call home.
Being a large city, Chicago is a transportation hub and it is easy to plan short and long-distance trips by bus, train, airplane, rental car, and more! Many Chicago residents, and most students, do not own a car. For travel within the city, taxis, bicycle, and rideshare services, and car-sharing companies are readily available. Chicago is also very walkable and the UIC city transportation webpage contains detailed information on the types of public transit available and any applicable discounts.
While transportation by car is the primary mode of transit in the Rockford area, the Rockford Mass Transit District offers public bus service routes within Rockford and the surrounding environs. Amtrak also offers train service to Rockford from many destinations including Chicago.
Getting to and around campus Heading link
Visit our Getting to UIC page for information on the various ways to reach campus. Once you are here, getting around campus is easy and there are many ways you can get around. UIC Transportation has a variety of services available to students and staff. Below are resources for some popular on-campus transportation modes.
Driving in Illinois Heading link
Driving in Illinois may be different from driving in your home country. If you are new to driving in the U.S., or Illinois, visit the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office ‘New to Illinois’ website to familiarize yourself with some of the documentation and driving laws in Illinois. In the U.S., driving rules and laws are referred to as the “Rules of the Road.” Per Illinois State Law, auto/car insurance is required for individuals operating a motor vehicle.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a variety of resources on their website for ‘motorists’ (drivers), including a short driving safety video.
Again, many Chicago residents, and most students living within the city, choose to not own a car. Parking can be very limited and expensive, and the added costs of insurance, gas, and registration fees often outweigh the benefits. That said, if you intend to commute to UIC from outside the city or have the added responsibility of transporting a family on a daily basis, owning a car may make sense for you.
Getting an Illinois driver's license Heading link
Drivers moving to Illinois may use their valid driver’s license from their home state or country for 90 days. Illinois does not recognize the international driver’s license. You may obtain an Illinois driver’s license or identification card only if you are becoming a legal resident of Illinois.
To apply for an Illinois Driver’s License, begin by visiting and reviewing the requirements on the Illinois Secretary of State’s webpage for the necessary documents.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security offers a fact sheet for individuals in F-1, J-1 or M-1 status that may assist you when preparing your documents to apply for a Driver’s License.
Can I apply for an Illinois Driver’s License without a SSN?
A Social Security Number is not required to obtain a State of Illinois Drivers License. Internationals (F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, among others) in Illinois may obtain a Temporary Visitor Drivers License (TVDL) from various locations in the state. To apply, you will need to visit the Social Security Administration to request a letter stating that you are not eligible for an SSN, this is known as a Form L-676. If, however, you are eligible for an SSN, then you must apply for and receive the SSN before applying for a state driver’s license.
If I do not want a driver’s license, can I apply for an Illinois State ID?
If you do not intend to drive while in the U.S., you may be eligible to apply for an Illinois State ID. However, an SSN is required to apply for an Illinois State ID.
Biking Heading link
Did you know that UIC is an official Bike Friendly University? There are over 800 bike racks around campus, and UIC has access to many Divvy stations if you do not own a bicycle.Visit UIC Sustainability for everything you need to know about biking on-campus and do not forget to register your bike with the UIC Police.
For additional resources on bike safety, check out the NHTSA’s website for Bicycle Safety and also their short safety video.
“On your left/right!”
Share the road with bicyclists. Common bicycle etiquette in the U.S. is to also verbally announce when you are riding up behind pedestrians or slower bikers. You may hear bikers shout out “On your left/right!” To indicate which side of you they will be riding past so you can move out of the way.
Pedestrian safety Heading link
When you are a ‘pedestrian’, you are either walking or utilizing a mobility device to get around streets or sidewalks in public spaces. The NHTSA offers a brief video introduction to safety considerations as a pedestrian and also offers walking safety tips. Since the relationship between pedestrians and cars can be different around the world, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with these tips prior to exploring Illinois!
Disability resources Heading link
UIC is committed to providing accessible physical spaces for all students with disabilities, whether they be permanent or temporary. The Disability Resource Center has information on mobility and physical access and can assist students in reporting an access issue experienced on-campus.