A learners permit in Illinois is a requirement for minor drivers as part of the Graduated Drivers Licensing program that has been set in place in the state. This program has three phases that must be followed by anyone younger than 18 years of age to eventually be able to get a full license. The phases are as follows:

  • Permit Phase – Drivers 15 years of age
  • Initial Licensing Phase – Drivers 16 and 17 years of age
  • Full Licensing Phase – Drivers 18 years of age and older

In order to complete the first phase, you must obtain a DMV learners permit when you are at least 15 years of age. Then, once you have obtained the permit, you can begin to meet the other requirements necessary for getting a regular license. Therefore, it is important that you understand what the eligibility requirements are for the drivers permit and also how to apply for the permit as well. To learn more, read the sections below.

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Illinois Learners Permit Eligibility Guidelines

There are several drivers permit requirements that must be met in order for you to be eligible to obtain the permit. Understand what these eligibility requirements are before you apply so that you can ensure you are eligible before making the trip out to a DMV office and starting the process.

In Illinois, to get a drivers learners permit, you must be at least 15 years of age or older. Also, if you are 15 to 17 years of age, you must either be about to enroll or currently enrolled in a state-approved drivers education course. If you are 17 years and 3 months or older, you may apply for a permit without taking a driver education course.

You must also be able to present appropriate identification documents, provide parental consent and pass both a written exam and a vision screening in order to finally obtain your Illinois learners license permit.

How to Apply for a Learners Permit in Illinois

Before you can understand how to apply for a learners permit, you must understand where to get a learners permit in Illinois. You must visit your nearest Secretary of State facility to start the application process.

Getting a learners permit is not a complicated process as long as you are prepared ahead of time. To apply for a learner permit, you must:

  1. Visit your local Illinois Secretary of State facility.
  2. Present acceptable documentation to verify your name, date of birth, Social Security number, Illinois residency and signature.
  3. Pass a vision screening.
  4. Pass a written exam.
  5. If you are 15 to 17 years of age, provide proof of current or imminent enrollment in an approved driver education course.
  6. Pay the applicable permit fee.

You will be issued a driving learners permit once you have completed all of the steps above. You can expect to receive it in the mail within a few weeks’ time.

The Illinois Drivers Permit Test

To get a permit, you must pass a learners permit test before you can be given the permit. In Illinois, all of the information found on the written test is found inside the Illinois drivers manual. The test requires you to:

  • Identify traffic signs by shape, color or symbol.
  • Identify signals and pavement markings.
  • Answer multiple-choice and true or false questions about traffic laws, safety rules, crash prevention and vehicle equipment.

Note that there is not an online Illinois drivers permit test available because the test will be provided for you in person at the Secretary of State office that you visit when you apply. It is very important that you study for the test before you take it so that you can get a passing score. To do this, it is advised that you read through the Illinois Drivers Manual or find a drivers permit practice test to practice the material with.

Illinois Driving Permit Rules and Restrictions

The answer to, “How long does a learner’s permit last?” varies depending on the age you are when you obtain the permit. If you are 15 to 17 years old, your permit is valid for 24 months (two years) and you must hold it for a minimum of nine months to be eligible for a regular driver license. If you are 18 years of age or older, your permit is valid for one year.

Also, be aware that there are learners permit rules that you must abide by once you obtain the permit. These learners permit rules in Illinois dictate who you may have in the car when you are driving with a permit, what permit driving hours you must abide by and more. Understand what these rules are before you drive with a permit so that you can avoid any consequences.

In Illinois, the rules include that you must:

  • Drive with a parent or adult 21 years of age or older with a valid drivers license.
  • Only drive as many passengers as there are seatbelts in the vehicle.
  • Ensure that all occupants wear seatbelts.
  • Not use any cell phone/wireless device, including hands-free devices, unless you are 19 years of age or older.
  • Follow the nighttime driving restrictions:
    • Sunday through Thursday, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
    • Friday through Saturday, 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Illinois Learner Permit Fees

Understanding “how much does it cost to get your permit?” is crucial before you are able to officially get your permit. There is a fee that must be paid at the same time that you complete your application at the Secretary of State office.

Once you have paid the appropriate fee that, you will be issued a valid permit. The fees are as follows:

  • Instruction Permit – Original: $20
  • Drivers Permit Duplicate: $5
Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.