Secretary of State expands TVDL locations, frustrated applicants say they can’t schedule appointments

Since its inception on Nov. 12, the Illinois Secretary of State has issued approximately 1,200 TVDLs. The agency plans to expand the TVDL program to 36 sites across the state by the end of the month. (Flickr/State Farm)

Since its inception on Nov. 12, the Illinois Secretary of State has issued approximately 1,200 TVDLs. The agency plans to expand the TVDL program to 36 sites across the state by the end of the month. (Flickr/State Farm)

The Secretary of State’s office is expanding its Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL) sites to 36 more locations across Illinois this month.

Henry Haupt is a spokesperson for the secretary’s office. He said since the program was launched on Nov. 12, the agency originally opened four pilot offices in December and has now begun an extensive program rollout set to open new TVDL locations every other day.

On Tuesday, Jan. 7, the agency opened application sites in Aurora and Carbondale, and on the following day in Bridgeview and Moline, Haupt said. City residents can schedule their appointments at the Chicago West, North and South locations.

According to Haupt, the Secretary of State has issued 1,200 TVDLs. About 1,500 individuals, he said, have completed the process but haven’t yet received a driver’s license.

But the number of people completing the process and the number of driver’s licenses that have been issued seems low compared to the number of applicants initially expected to apply. Haupt said the agency intentionally planned for a gradual program rollout to avoid technical complications.

“We expected up to 500 thousand, or if not more, would want to apply for a TVDL,” Haupt said. “But it was very important for our office to roll this out in a measure of manner so that we better guarantee the best delivery of services when we expand statewide.”

Since its inception, the agency opened its phone and online system for people to schedule appointments. During the pilot stages, some locations took about six appointments per day. In January, Haupt said, the appointments are increasing to 39 per day. He said, every day the agency is taking about 750 new appointment slots total.

“I think this is part of the design of the program, I think the number will continue to increase significantly as we expand statewide,” he said.

According to Haupt, his agency is trying to make the appointment process as user-friendly as possible. Once they go to the website, applicants can select their preferred application site.

“From there, they learn which facilities still have available appointments and again the expansion of the 36 facilities is helping absorb a significantly greater number of appointments.”

But the process of scheduling the appointments is instead making people frustrated, said Chely Gonzalez, a Back of the Yards resident who has been working closely with community groups to help individuals apply for the new Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License. Gonzalez is also applying for a license herself.

She said a lot of applicants are having a hard time making the appointments online and eventually are giving up. She secured her appointment on the Secretary of State’s website after trying for several days even during late hours. Others haven’t been as lucky, she said.

“I’ve tried, I keep trying to make appointments for my friends and I can’t get through,” Gonzalez said as she walked me through the process. “It tells me to try again, as you can see in the computer, it says there are not available [appointments].”

Gonzalez said it has been also difficult to even schedule appointments over the phone because the lines are busy most of the time.

Of the eight applicants she has been trying to help, only three have been able to secure appointments out in the suburbs.

Haupt said Illinois is by far the largest state to have implemented a TVDL program; a task the state has never done before.

“We understand and we appreciate the demand and their desire to get the TVDL but we are asking them to please be patient,” he said.

According to Haupt, the agency didn’t receive any start-up money from the General Assembly, “We have had to do this all on our own, and we had to do it in a manner that we are absorbing this great demand while simultaneously serving our standard customers.”

As the program progresses with all 36 locations up and running, Haupt asks new applicants to keep trying and to bring all the required documentation once they make an appointment.

“I would just ask applicants to go to our website and to look very closely at the documents they need to bring,” he said. “I think that will help a lot.”

Secretario de Estado expande sitios TVDL, solicitantes frustrados dicen no poder programar citas

La oficina del Secretario de Estado expandirá sus sitios de Licencias de Manejo Temporales para Visitantes a más de 36 lugares a lo largo de Illinois este mes.

Henry Haupt es el portavoz de la oficina del secretario. Dijo que desde que el programa fue lanzado el 12 de noviembre, la agencia originalmente había abierto cuatro oficinas piloto en diciembre y ahora ha comenzado un extensivo despliegue del programa fijado para abrir nuevos sitios de TVDL cada dos días.

El martes, 7 de enero, la agencia abrió sitios de solicitud en Aurora y Carbondale, y al siguiente día en Bridgeview y Moline, dijo Haupt. Los residentes de la ciudad pueden programar sus citas en las sucursales Chicago West, Chicago North y Chicago South.

Según Haupt, el Secretario de Estado ha emitido 1,200 TVDLs. Aproximadamente 1,500 personas, dijo, han completado el proceso pero aún no han recibido una licencia de manejo.

Pero, el número de personas que completó el proceso y el número de licencias de manejo que han sido emitidas parece bajo comparado con el número de solicitantes que en un principio se esperaba que aplicaran. Haupt dijo que la agencia intencionalmente planeó un despliegue lento para evitar complicaciones técnicas.

“Esperábamos que hasta 500 mil, o si no más, quisieran aplicar para una TVDL”, dijo Haupt. “Pero era muy importante para nuestra oficina dar a conocer esto de forma medida para poder garantizar los mejores servicios cuando nos expandamos por todo el estado”.

Desde su inicio, la agencia abrió su sistema telefónico y en línea para que la gente programe sus citas. Durante las etapas experimentales, algunos sitios aceptaban aproximadamente seis citas al día. En enero, Haupt dijo, las citas están aumentando a 39 por día. Dijo, que cada día la agencia está tomando aproximadamente 750 nuevos espacios de citas en total.

“Pienso que esto es parte del diseño del programa, pienso que el número continuará aumentando significativamente a medida que nos expandamos por todo el estado”, dijo.

Según Haupt, su agencia está tratando de hacer el proceso de programación de citas lo más fácil posible para sus usuarios. Una vez que van al sitio, los solicitantes pueden elegir el sitio de solicitud de su preferencia.

“De ahí, se dan cuentan cuales sucursales aún tienen citas disponibles y de nuevo la expansión de los 36 sitios está ayudando a absorber un número significativamente mayor de citas”.

Pero el proceso de programación citas en cambio está frustrando a la gente, dijo Chely González, una residente de Back of the Yards que ha estado trabajando de cerca con grupos comunitarios para ayudar a las personas a solicitar la nueva Licencia de Manejo Temporal para Visitantes. González también está aplicando para su licencia.

Ella dijo que muchos solicitantes están teniendo dificultades para hacer las citas en línea y finalmente se dan por vencidos. Ella aseguró su cita en la página web del Secretario de Estado después de haber intentado por varios días a últimas horas del día. Otros no han sido tan afortunados, dijo.

“He intentado, sigo tratando de hacer citas para mis amigos y no puedo conectarme”, González dijo mientras me mostraba el proceso. “Me dice que intente de nuevo, como puedes ver en la computadora, dice que no hay [citas] disponibles”.

González dijo que también ha sido difícil programar citas por teléfono porque las líneas están ocupadas la mayor parte del tiempo.

De los ocho solicitantes que ella ha tratado de ayudar, sólo tres han logrado asegurar citas en los suburbios.
Haupt dijo que Illinois es por mucho el estado más grande en haber implementado un programa de TVDL; una tarea que el estado nunca había hecho.

“Entendemos y apreciamos la demanda y su deseo de obtener la TVDL pero les estamos pidiendo que por favor tengan paciencia”, dijo.

Según Haupt, la agencia no recibió fondos iniciales de la Asamblea General, “Hemos tenido que hacer todo esto por nuestra cuenta, y tuvimos que hacerlo en una forma en la que absorbemos esta gran demanda mientras que simultáneamente servimos a nuestros clientes regulares”.

A medida que el programa progresa y los 36 sitios están en función, Haupt le pide a los nuevos solicitantes que sigan intentando y que lleven toda la documentación requerida una vez que programen su cita.

“Sólo le pido a los solicitantes que vayan a nuestro sitio y examinen cuidadosamente los documentos que necesitan traer”, dijo. “Creo que eso ayudará muchísimo”.

10 Responses to Secretary of State expands TVDL locations, frustrated applicants say they can’t schedule appointments

  1. Hi my name is Jose in I’m so frustrated did my appointment in Carbondale Il, in this location look like they don’t want give no body license they see my documents and they was ask for more. I’m drive for 5 hours for nothing in the web is broken now. to hard it is a law last year?

  2. I was not able to book an appointment either through the website or through phone.

    The website doesn’t seem to be working and phone lines are always busy.

  3. I’ve gotten connected twice when I called exactly at 8:00 am. Both times they told me to call back at 9 am! They need to fix the schedule online and the automated message over the phone and stop deceiving people telling them that they open from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm and when you call at the time they tell you to call back when they know too well you won’t be able to get through when you try to call back at 9:00 am. Its so frustrating! I know I’m not the only one who is frustrated with trying because so many others are and I understand clearly as well you have to be patient and its a part of procedure. What I’m asking is feed us the right information and don’t deceive us!

  4. Jesus Becerra Flores.

    Hello everyone. Im also frustrated with all this, they don answer your calls. also it so hard when you go on line, they need to improve everything to assit all the people that trying to get the tvdl. I AGREE with WHAT Jose is sayin.

  5. The phone line is busy ALWAYS!!!! The web page is useless. Maybe they can charge more for the license to hire more people and make the procedure more efficient. I give up for today. I’ve been on the phone and online for about 4 hours.

  6. janneth elizalde

    It is so bad by phone or online you don’t get any answer,when they going to improve this service,I almost see them drinking coffee,on their phones, doing everything except working please get this people to work.

  7. Hi everyone. I just want to make my comments on this matter. Since the inception of this program, I have helped a total of 7 people obtain an appointment for their TVDL. However, now that I am trying to set up an appointment for another person, I see that now it is quite impossible to get through. I have tried to use the website, but it has never worked for me. All the appointments I have made were all done through the telephone. Despite what their website says, they start taking appointments at 9AM, not 8AM. Also, the website states they take appointments Mon – Fri, this is not true as well, they do not take appointments on Fridays. The operators can make up to 2 appointments for 2 different people at the same time so if you know someone else who is trying to get an appointment, make sure you have their information and vice versa so you have a greater chance of getting an appointment. This is a very frustrating process, if you are lucky enough to get through to choose to speak to an operator in your language, you have still try to get through that line as well, usually, it will just ring until it dies out or it will ring busy as well. I believe this is unacceptable customer service, taking into consideration the fact that a lot of people who need to take advantage of this program are people who do not have the luxury to sit by the phone and hit redial 20 thousand times to even try to get an appointment!

    • Hello everyone. I just wanted to update everyone on my progress on trying to get an appointment for a friend of mine. I am happy to say that I did have success today! The appointments are currently 90 days out. I called the toll free number (1-855-236-1155) at exactly 9 am when the phone lines opened up. I was put on hold for about 20 minutes before an operator answered and scheduled the appointment. At the same time, I was trying to schedule the appointment online, I was able to get to the last stage of choosing the appointment before the website timed out. Here are my tips: Make sure to call on a day that will be a weekday 90 days from now. Use an online date calculator that will automatically tell you the date 90 days from now, if you find that the date falls on a Monday through Friday, you should call! Also, call at exactly 9am, the operator who scheduled my appointment told me that all the appointments for the day are booked up by 9:30ish. Good luck!

  8. I’ve tried on the Internet to make an appointment, but all it says is that All appointments available are already booked. I mean ya I know that people make appointments and get booked and stuff, or how else would they know who is has an appointment at what time. I tried at exactly 8 in the morning online, but it says is that there is an error and I can’t proceed. Like MariAvz said that phone is at 9, do you think I should try online at 9 too? Once I had to wake up at 4 in the morning and I had to stay up to 3 in the morning. All I knew is that was too much caffeine I had drunk that day. Should people like you and I have to suffer that much just to make an appointment? I mean literally who has time to make an appointment and then end upm frustrated that they didn’t end up making one. Many people are happy to make an appointment, but they can make you pay up to $120. Well, not really, all people will make you pay and those people are family or very nice kind friends, or even neighbors, or just people you know, but the very only person that know won’t make you pay is you. I understand all of you people out there. The frustration you have to deal with like all the time, almost like a kid, but all I can say is don’t give up cause you might just proceed, and I should really stop commenting and go back to work. 07/17/2014

  9. This is getting really frustrating. I’ve been trying for 2 months now and i still cant get through. Been trying to book an appointment through the website or calling them on the phone but no luck. I called the Secretary of state Jesse White directly and they gave me a different number and said this is the number to call now. (855)212-2687. i called that number but it was just informations regarding TVDL, the person i spoke with that i was calling at the wrong time. I should call Mon-Thurs 9-10:30 am. and try making an appointment through the website Mon-Thurs 9-9:30 am. Thats what ive been doing! I asked so i cant make an appointment today anymore? take note its 10:20am here in Chicago. She said it was too late already and i would have to try again tomorrow. Damn. This is effed up.

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