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How to Apply for a New Driver's License in Illinois

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Drivers License Online Services Guide

Become an Illinois new drivers license holder by following the guidelines set up by the Illinois Secretary of State. To apply for drives licenses with the IL DMV, drivers who have never been previously licensed must meet minimum age, education and residency requirements. For many beginner drivers, drivers ed classes are a necessary requirement for obtaining a license to drive.

Did you know? Learners who take our online practice driving test are five times more likely to pass the Illinois DMV knowledge test.

How to Apply for an Illinois Driver's License:

  • Visit an IL SOS location.
  • Present the necessary documentation.
  • Pass the written DMV exam and/or driving test.
  • Pay Illinois drivers license fees.

Learn all about the Illinois drivers license application process by reviewing the information presented in the following sections.

Types of Drivers Licenses in Illinois

Getting drivers licenses in Illinois requires that applicants visit IL DMV offices to apply. DMV drivers license applicants who meet the age, education and residency requirements can submit their requests in person for the various types of credentials offered by the IL SOS. The Illinois Secretary of State's office classifies driving licenses based on the gross weight rating of vehicles (GVWR):

  • Class D drivers license - For the operation of standard vehicles with a GVWR of less than 16,000 pounds.
  • Class M motorcycle license - For the operation of a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle.
  • Class A, B or C commercial drivers license (CDL) - For the operation of commercial vehicles with a GVWR of more than 16,000 pounds.

First-Time Driver (Under 18) in Illinois

Illinois new drivers license applicants must meet the criteria set forth by the Secretary of State's office. In addition to the Illinois DMV license age and residency requirements, learners must also take driver safety courses. The requirements also include restrictions on when persons younger than 21 years of age can operate an automobile, as well as restrictions on who may be in the vehicle when they are driving.

For more information, visit our Learner's Permit page.

Illinois New Drivers (Over 18)

Adult drivers license applicants must take an IL DMV written drivers test to qualify for their first license to drive. Additionally, beginner drivers who are between 18 and 20 years of age and have never been previously licensed must complete an approved adult drivers education course.

IL Driver's Study Guide and Driver's Practice Test

New DMV license applicants can get the additional assistance they need to pass the drivers license test by utilizing a proven study method. Our Illinois drivers ed practice test will help you understand the state traffic laws that you are already familiar with, and it will also assist you with filling the gaps in your driving knowledge. The license to drive test bundle, which includes a supplemental study guide, contains sample questions and covers topics that are featured in the official Illinois exam.

How to Apply for Drivers Licenses in IL

To get drivers license services in Illinois, visit an IL DMV office and apply within. You will need to gather the appropriate documents to show:

  • Proof of written signature.
  • Proof of date of birth.
  • Proof of Social Security Number.
  • Proof of Illinois residency.

IL Drivers License Eligibility Requirements

Illinois DMV drivers licenses can be acquired by residents 16 years of age and older. Drivers 20 years of age and younger must gain their driving privileges, incrementally, during participation in the Graduated Driver's License program. All driving license applicants must, however, pass a drivers exam which can include a written drivers test and/or a road skills test, in addition to a vision screening.

IL Written/Driving Test

New drivers license applicants in Illinois will have to pass a written test and road skills test to complete their drivers license application process. Beginner drivers 18 to 20 years of age who have not previously participated in a drivers training course are subject to complete an approved adult drivers education program prior to taking the IL DMV drivers test. Learners of any age can benefit from our online practice driving test, which features questions similar to those found on the actual IL SOS knowledge test.

IL Driving Test

The Illinois drivers license test is required of any first-time driving license applicant. You will be examined operating a motor vehicle of your choice and tested on how well you maneuver the car while performing driver functions, including the following:

  • Ability to obey traffic laws.
  • How you slowly reverse the vehicle for a distance of 50 feet.
  • How you start and park the car on a hill.

Did you know? Drivers who have any traffic convictions must re-take the written drivers test every eight years. Sign up for a DMV traffic school to have points removed from your driving record, whereby making you exempt from re-taking the knowledge test.

New Illinois Resident

Drivers license applicants new to Illinois must obtain in-state driving credentials within 90 days of establishing residency. To obtain a license to drive in Illinois, you must visit an IL SOS office to surrender your previous state drivers license and present proof of name, date of birth, Social Security Number, written signature and Illinois residency. During your office visit, you must be prepared to take a vision test, written drivers exam and possibly even a road skills test.

Replace Driver's License in Illinois

Drivers license holders who find themselves with a stolen or lost drivers license should first report the incident to law enforcement. To obtain a DMV duplicate drivers license, visit an IL Secretary of State office with proof of identification as well as the fee amount. To find out more about how to get a replacement drivers license, click here.

Locate a DMV in Illinois

Get contact details on a nearby IL SOS driver service center. View our IL DMV location page to note the office hours, telephone number and other information you need to aid you in getting a driver license appointment.

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