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SPRINGFIELD — Nearly 47,000 immigrants living in the U.S. illegally have started the process to receive Illinois driver’s licenses.

According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, 5,235 immigrants have already applied for the licenses since the new program began in December.

Another 41,712 have scheduled appointments at the 36 driver’s licenses stations handling the applications.

Officials say as many as 500,000 illegal immigrants could apply for the temporary visitors licenses this year.

Illinois is among 10 states that enacted laws in 2013 allowing immigrants to receive licenses. The state is the largest to launch a program so far.

“It’s a monumental task,” said Henry Haupt, spokesman for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

Haupt said the gradual rollout of the program at a limited number of facilities beginning in December helped them work out some minor problems.

“We’re very pleased with the way the program has been going and continues to evolve,” he said.

Under the new program, illegal immigrants set appointments to visit their local driver’s license station to launch the application process.

Over the next 90 days, Secretary of State figures show there are at least 617 appointments set at the Carbondale facility and 676 each at the Bloomington and Moline facility.

Since the program was launched, Carbondale has already had 120 appointments. The Bloomington facility has had 293 appointments. The facility in Moline has had 122 appointments.

Applicants must show proof of insurance and take a vision test, a written test and a road test. They also must show proof they have lived in Illinois for at least a year.

The $30 licenses will feature a purple border rather than a red border used for regular licenses. They will be good for three years.

217-782-4043

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