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:
Complete educational requirements.
Illinois is one of the states where online Driver’s Ed courses are accepted. You can opt to complete the mandatory 6-hour course using this platform. If you prefer to take in-person classes, though, it’s also possible.
If you are below 18 years old, make sure you check the requirements stated in Illinois’ Graduated Driver License program as there are additional items to be fulfilled.
Have all the required documents.
If it’s your first time getting a driver’s license in Illinois, you need to show proof of the following items:
- Your written signature
- Your date of birth
- Your social security number
- Your home address
Most identification cards carry these details. Check out this list of acceptable IDs.
If you are currently experiencing homelessness, you can secure a Homeless status certification ID. In Illinois, only a shelter or a public service agency can validate that you are homeless.
You need to fill out a form and have it notarized before applying for ID at the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. Remember that you can only use it up to 90 days from when it was notarized.
Settle the required fees.
Instruction permits cost $20. The rate for basic licenses vary, depending on your age:
- 18 to 20: $5
- 21 to 68: $30
- 69 to 80: $5
- 81 to 86; $2
- 87 or older: Free
Pay a visit to the nearest Secretary of State Facility.
You may need to pass a written test, a vision test, and a behind-the-wheel exam. The office of the Secretary of State may grant you a temporary license that lasts up to 90 days.
Should you still be in the process of completing your requirements, they will continue this as long as necessary.
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 vehicles.
- 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; a vehicle used in for profit 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 have a medical condition you need a comprehensive medical report stating you are fit to operate a vehicle. These include such as physical disability, vision impairment, or mental health concerns. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles if you’re not sure whether your condition warrants a filed report or not.
- If you are an out-of-state student attending an Illinois college/university, you, your spouse, and your 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 your 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.