How to Apply for a Drivers License in Illinois
New drivers licenses cannot be obtained online or by mail. Instead, you must apply for a new license in person at a local DMV. While there, you must pass a vision screening, a written exam and a skills test. To make sure that you are prepared, download our informative online drivers license guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to complete this application easily and quickly. In it, you will get in-depth details on how to complete other important licensing transactions, such as updating personal information on your license, renewing your license and replacing a lost one.
2. In Person at the DMV
To obtain a new drivers license at the DMV, you must submit identification documents and pass mandatory tests. A birth certificate or passport can verify your name and age, and a utility bill can prove your state residency. Generally, you must pass a written knowledge exam and a road skills test. You must also fill out a drivers license application form and pay the applicable fees. However, you may not know which forms to complete or if you are already eligible to take your exams. Arriving at the DMV unprepared may result in long wait times and potential mistakes, which could mean having to redo the process.
You must have an Illinois driver’s license issued to you and in your possession if you are an IL resident who intends on operating a vehicle in the state. It is important to note that the process of getting a new driver’s license is different for adults and teenagers.
For instance, you can get a driving credential if you are at least 16 years of age, as long as you meet the requirements set in place by the state’s graduated license program. Conversely, if you are 18 years of age or older, the process is much simpler. To learn more about how to get a driver’s license in Illinois and how these requirements vary based on your age, read the sections below.
How to Apply for a Drivers License in Illinois as an Adult (18 or Older)
You must visit an Illinois Secretary of State (SOS) facility in person in order to apply for a new driver’s license for the first time. As such, getting a driver’s license online is not an option in IL. Most licensing services must be completed in person through the SOS.
There are certain requirements that must be met before you can apply for an Illinois DMV license with full privileges through the Secretary of State (SOS). For example, in order to be eligible, you must be 18 years of age or older, provide valid identification documents and pass the vision, written and road skills tests. Furthermore, if you are between 18 and 21 years of age, you will also be required to provide a certificate of completion from a state-approved adult driver’s education course.
In order to obtain a driver’s license in Illinois, you will be asked to follow certain steps. These steps include that you must:
- Visit a local Illinois Secretary of State (SOS) facility in person.
- Present acceptable documentation verifying your name, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN), state residency and signature.
- Pass a vision screening.
- Pass a written exam.
- Pass a road exam.
- Provide a certificate of completion from a state-approved adult driver’s ed course if you are between 18 and 20 years of age.
- Pay the applicable SOS license
Getting an Illinois Drivers License as a New Resident
If you relocate to Illinois, you must apply for an IL driver’s license within 90 days of becoming a resident. As such, you are only authorized to drive in the state with a valid out-of-state license for up to 90 days. To get a new license, you must visit a driver’s license services facility, surrender your out-of-state credential and pass vision and written knowledge tests. In certain cases, you may also be required to pass a road skills exam. Furthermore, you will be asked to present proper identification to verify your full legal name, date of birth, Social Security Number and state residency.
How to Apply for a Drivers License in Illinois as a Teen (Younger Than 18)
If you are younger than 18 years of age and want to obtain an SOS license, you must comply with the requirements that the Illinois Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) program has set in place. The program has three phases that you must go through in order to eventually obtain a standard license with full privileges. The phases are as follows:
- Permit phase for drivers who are at least 15 years of age.
- Initial licensing phase for motorists who are between 16 and 17 years of age.
- Full licensing phase for drivers who are 18 years of age or older.
You can only start the process for acquiring a new driver’s license in IL at 15 years old, which is the minimum age for you to apply for an instruction permit. Once you obtain a permit, you must meet the other requirements of the GDL program, which will allow you to eventually acquire a full license after turning 18 years of age.
Illinois Drivers License Eligibility Requirements for Teens
You must meet the Illinois driver’s license eligibility requirements for the initial licensing phase in order to get an SOS license with restrictions. These requirements include that you must:
- Be between 16 and 17 years of age.
- Have held an instruction permit for at least nine months.
- Have completed 50 hours of driving practice, including 10 hours at night.
- Have completed a state-approved driver education course.
- Provide parental/legal guardian signed consent to obtain a license.
As long as you meet all of the criteria listed above, you can begin your driving license application at a local Illinois Secretary of State office.
Undergoing a driver’s education course is an important driver’s license requirement in Illinois for anyone between 15 and 20 years of age. If you are between 15 and 17 years of age, you will be required to enroll in an approved driver education course in order to obtain a license starting at 16 years of age. On the other hand, if you are between 18 and 20 years of age and have not undergone a driver’s education course, you will be required to complete a six-hour adult driver’s ed class before you can obtain an SOS license.
Steps to Get a New Drivers License in Illinois as a Teen
Before you can get a new driver’s license in Illinois, you must obtain and hold an instruction permit for a period of time. In order to get a permit, you must:
- Visit a local Illinois SOS office.
- Submit legal documents that verify your full name, date of birth, SSN, IL residency and signature.
- Pass a vision screening and a written exam.
- Provide proof of current or future (within 30 days) enrollment in an approved driver education course.
- Pay the $20 permit fee.
Once you have held your permit and met the other requirements established by the state’s Graduated Licensing Program, you can obtain an initial SOS license, which has certain restrictions attached to it. To apply for a driver’s license, you must:
- Visit an IL SOS facility.
- Surrender your valid instruction permit.
- Prove your name, date of birth, Social Security Number and state residency by submitting legal documents containing these personal details.
- Provide a certificate of completion from a state-approved driver education course.
- Submit a driving log detailing a minimum of 50 hours of driving practice, including 10 hours at night, signed by a parent/legal guardian.
- Provide a completed Affidavit/Consent for Minor to Drive form, signed by a parent/legal guardian.
- Pass a vision screening, a written exam and a road skills driving exam.
- Pay the applicable license and testing fees.
Illinois Drivers License Costs
There are different driver’s license costs in Illinois, which vary according to an applicant’s age. Thus, keep in mind the following fees for new licenses and permits:
- Instruction permit – $20
- Basic license – $30
- License for motorists between 18 and 20 years of age – $5
- License for drivers between 21 and 68 years of age – $30
- License for motorists between 69 and 80 years of age – $5
- License for drivers between 81 and 86 years of age – $2
- License for motorists who are 87 or older – Free