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).
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.
- 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.
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.