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Illinois Driver’s License Requirements

Driving In Illinois Legally

To drive legally in Illinois, you must have a valid Illinois driver’s license, probationary license, instruction permit, Restricted Driving Permit or Monitoring Device Driving Permit. To receive a driver’s license, you must:

  • Visit a Driver Services facility, show required identification documents and have
    your photo taken.
  • Surrender all Illinois or out-of-state licenses, state ID cards, instruction permits and
    commercial driver’s licenses.
  • Pay the appropriate fee.
  • Pass the appropriate exams (vision screening, written and/or driving).

Age Restrictions

You must be at least age 18 to obtain an Illinois driver’s license. The following exceptions apply:

  • If you are age 16 or 17, you may receive your license if you successfully complete a
    state-approved driver education course, complete 50 hours of practice driving and
    pass the three parts of the driver’s license exam. If a parent cannot accompany a
    minor to the facility, an Affidavit/Consent for Minor to Drive must be signed by a
    legal guardian or a responsible adult over age 21. For more information about
    obtaining a driver’s license before age 18, see page 14.
  • Drivers under age 21 are not allowed to drive any vehicle for-hire that is transporting
    more than 10 passengers, or drive a commuter van, religious organization bus, school
    bus, vehicle transporting senior citizens or child-care vehicle.

Additional Requirements

  • You are required to carry your driver’s license or permit with you when you drive.
  • To obtain a license to operate a motorcycle or commercial vehicle, please refer to the
    Illinois Motorcycle Operator Manual, the Rules of the Road for Non-CDL Vehicles or
    the Commercial Driver’s License Study Guide, available at any Secretary of State
    facility or at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.
  • A driver must meet special requirements to operate a school bus (contact your local
    school district); religious organization bus; child-care vehicle; vehicle used in forprofit ride sharing; or vehicle used for senior citizen transportation. Please check
    with your employer, a local Driver Services facility, or call the Safe Ride Section of
    the Secretary of State’s office.

Exemptions

You may drive in Illinois without a valid Illinois driver’s license under the following circumstances:

  • If you have permanently moved to Illinois from another state or country, your non-
    Illinois driver’s license is valid for 90 days. You must obtain an Illinois license within
    that 90-day period or when the driver’s license expires, whichever comes first.
  • If you are visiting or driving through Illinois, you must have a valid driver’s license
    from your home state or country.
  • If you are an out-of-state student attending an Illinois college/university, you, your
    spouse and children may drive with a valid license from your home state or country.
  • If you are on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces, you, your spouse and children
    may drive with a valid license from your home state.
  • If you have been serving in the U.S. Armed Forces outside the United States but are
    a legal resident of Illinois, you may drive during the first 120 days of your return with
    a military deferral license.
  • If you are employed by the U.S. government or are a member of the U.S. Armed
    Forces, you do not need a valid Illinois license if you are on official business and
    driving a vehicle owned by or leased to the government.
  • If you are operating a road machine temporarily on the roadway or operating a farm
    tractor between the farm buildings and nearby farmland, you do not need a valid
    Illinois driver’s license.

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