In Illinois, a valid motorcycle license is required to legally operate a motorbike on state roadways. Riders can obtain a motorbike driving license through the Driver Services Department (DSD) of the Office of the Secretary of State (SOS). The SOS issues a motorcycle endorsement which is added to existing drivers licenses. You can either obtain a Class M motorcycle license, which authorizes you to operate any motorcycle and motor-driven cycle, or a Class L license for motor-driven cycles with an engine displacement of 149cc or less. However, prior to applying for your endorsement, you may have to obtain and hold a learner’s permit for a certain amount of time. Learn more about the process of applying for a motorcycle license in IL and the current fees by reviewing the following sections.

Motorcycle License Requirements in Illinois

The state DSD will issue a motorcycle drivers license in Illinois only to applicants who meet the state requirements, which may vary depending on the applicant’s age. The standard IL bike license requirements that apply in most licensing situations require that applicants:

  • Be 16 years of age or older.
  • Have a valid driving license that is not subject to an active suspension.
  • Have obtained a DMV learners permit if required to do so.
  • Be mentally and physically fit to ride a motorcycle.
  • Have completed a standard driver education course and enrolled in a rider’s safety course, if younger than 18 years of age.
  • Have the theoretical and practical skills necessary to safely operate a motorbike.

To meet the documentation requirements for a new motorbike license, drivers must submit proof of their written signature, legal name, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN) and state residency when applying for a license in the state. Depending on the applicant’s U.S. citizenship status, he or she will be required to choose documents from different groups of acceptable paperwork. Bike license applicants can obtain the full list of acceptable identification documents by contacting the state DSD.

Although you may not obtain your motorcycle license online, you may be able to use the Illinois SOS site to check your license status, update your address and perform many other important actions.

Note: New state residents transferring a valid out-of-state motorbike license will have to submit the full set of supporting paperwork, and they may still be required to take the applicable licensing tests, depending on their circumstances.

Illinois Motorcycle License Training Courses

Enrolling in a driver’s safety course before applying for a license is a strict requirement only for applicants younger than 18 years of age. Therefore, if you are applying for an M Class license as an adult or you are over 16 years old and are applying for a Class L license, you do not have to enroll in a motorcycle course. However, even if you are applying for a bike license in IL as an adult rider, you can still complete a state-approved course to earn a waiver for the written and the skills examination. To meet the course completion requirement, motorcycle license applicants will need to finalize a course of the Cycle Rider Safety Training Program of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

Illinois Motorcycle License Tests

To obtain an Illinois motorbike endorsement, riders will have to prove that they have the theoretical and practical skills necessary to safely operate a motorcycle. For purposes of determining whether or not an applicant is ready to own a bike license, the state DSD administers a separate motorcycle written exam and a driving skills exam. While the knowledge exam covers topics on safe riding operations and road rules and regulations, the skills examination is administered to verify the rider’s ability to execute various riding maneuvers.

Motorcyclists who do not hold a valid license before applying will also be required to complete the vision screening and the regular written exam. Those who are applying for a motorcycle license as an adult rider and complete an IDOT rider’s safety course will not be required to pass the licensing exams, provided the IL motorcycle endorsement is applied for within a year of completing the course.

The Illinois Motorcycle License Application Process

When applying for a motorcycle endorsement in Illinois, riders will be required to finalize several steps, which may vary to a certain degree depending on factors such as their age and the type of license they are obtaining. Also, bike license applicants will most likely be required to make more than one visit to an SOS office, since they will first have to apply for a learner’s permit.

To get a 12-month bike permit as an adult rider, you will have to present your driver’s license, fill out an application, pass the initial licensing tests, surrender any supporting documentation and pay the applicable fees. Riders under 18 years old can obtain a motorcycle permit in IL only if they complete a mandatory driver’s education course and a rider’s safety course. If applying for a Class L permit for a motor-driven cycle, however, minors only need to complete a basic driver education program and pass the written exam.

To finalize the application process for a motorcycle drivers license, you will be required to schedule and take the road skills exam. If you are applying for a full bike license as an adult, you have the option of completing a motorcycle safety course to avoid taking the on-cycle exam. Once the state DSD receives the final paperwork and fee payments, it will issue you a 90-day temporary motorbike license that can be used until the permanent credential arrives by mail within 15 business days.

Illinois Motorcycle License Fees

Arranging payment for the Illinois motorcycle license costs is the last step when applying for a bike license in the state. Prior to paying the fee for a Class L or Class M endorsement, however, an applicant will be required to pay the regular driving license fees. Therefore, the $10 bike endorsement fee is an addition to the cost of a regular driver’s license, which varies depending on the applicant’s age. When getting a motorcycle license in IL, riders may also be required to pay an additional fee for their learner’s permit and the required testing. These fees will be different when renewing your license in the state. To get the most up-to-day bike license costs, contact the state DSD.

Last updated on Thursday, September 27 2018.

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