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Obtaining an instruction permit is generally the first step that a beginner driver takes toward becoming a fully licensed driver in Illinois. You are eligible to apply for an instruction permit if you are at least 15 years old and:
- you have never been licensed to operate a vehicle, or
- you are a new resident of Illinois who has been licensed in another state, but your driver's license has been expired for longer than six months
HOW TO OBTAIN AN ORIGINAL INSTRUCTION PERMIT
- Download a copy of the Illinois Driver's Manual, or get a hard copy by visiting a local VSD Office.
- If you are under 18 years of age, you must obtain a affidavit of consent, and have it completed and signed by your parent or guardian.
- You must be enrolled in an approved driver education course.
- Visit your local VSD Office to submit the application. You must bring with you:
- Acceptable proof of identity, age and Illinois residency, as specified by the DMV. If you have changed your name, you must bring documents that support and clearly indicate your current name.
- Your Social Security card.
- The correct fee for the permit. All major credit cards are accepted.
- You will be given a written knowledge test and an eye screening at the Driver License Center. If you pass these tests, you will be issued an instruction permit, which is valid for two years.
When driving with an instruction permit you must be accompanied by a licensed driver age of 21 or older. This person must sit beside you. There is also a night time driving restriction from 10 pm to 6 am Sunday-Thursday and from 11 pm to 6 am Friday-Saturday.
Remember anyone caught driving without a license will not be eligible to get a license till age 18.
THE INITIAL LICENSE (AGE 16-17)
If you are at least 16 and under 18, you are eligible to take the road test and for the initial license provided you meet the following requirements:
- You have held the instruction permit for a minimum of nine months.
- You have completed an approved driver education course.
- You have a minimum of 50 hours of behind-the-wheel driving experience including 10 hours of night time driving (under direct supervision of an experienced adult driver).
- You have no traffic violations against your name in the last six months prior to turning 18 years old.
- You have completed the affidavit of consent by your parent/guardian.
- The same driving hour restrictions apply as with the instruction permit.
- For the first year of licensing or until you are 18 you are permitted to carry only one passenger under 20 years of age, unless he/she is related to you.
THE FULL LICENSE
A full, unrestricted license may be issued when you are at least 18 years old. An initial driver's license may be changed to a regular, non-commercial driver's license, provided you meet all of the following requirements:
- You have a minimum of 50 hours of behind-the-wheel driving experience including 10 hours of night time driving.
- You have not been convicted of any traffic violation in the six months prior to turning 18.
- For more information, see our Beginner Drivers section.
- See also Applying for a Drivers License.
- See also Driver's Education, Driving Schools and Practice Tests.
- Learn more about Illinois's New Licensing Requirements for Young Drivers.
- Bear in mind that in order to drive legally in the state of Illinois, you must have valid auto insurance. See our Auto Insurance section for more information, or to obtain a competitive quote on car insurance.