Car Keys

Illinois Drivers License Requirements & Application

To drive legally in Illinois, residents must have a valid Illinois driver’s license, temporary visitor driver’s license, probationary license, instruction permit, Restricted Driving Permit or Monitoring Device Driving Permit.

How to get driver license in Illinois

To receive a driver’s license, applicants must:

  • Visit a Driver Services facility, show required identification documents and have a photo taken.
  • Surrender all Illinois or out-of-state licenses, state ID cards, instruction permits and commercial driver’s licenses.
  • Pay the appropriate fee (see driver’s license fees here).
  • Pass the appropriate exams (vision screening, written and/or driving).
  • Provide a valid address for the mailing of the permanent driver’s license.

Age Restrictions — Drivers 16-21

Applicants must be at least age 18 to obtain an Illinois driver’s license. The following exceptions apply:

  • Applicants age 16 or 17 may receive their license if they successfully complete a state approved driver education course, complete 50 hours of practice driving and pass the three parts of the driver’s license exam. If a parent cannot accompany a minor to the facility, an Affidavit/Consent for Minor to Drive must be signed by a legal guardian or a responsible adult over age 21.
  • If the individual is a first-time Illinois driver’s license applicant, age 18, 19 or 20 and never been licensed or completed an approved high school or commercial school driver education program, he/she must successfully complete a six-hour Adult Driver Education Course through a Secretary of State certified adult driver education provider before obtaining a license. More information is available by visiting www.cyberdriveillinois.com.
  • A driver under age 18 is not allowed to drive any vehicle for-hire transporting property (e.g., delivery persons).
  • A driver under age 21 is not allowed to drive any vehicle for-hire that is transporting more than 10 passengers, or drive a commuter van, religious organization bus, school bus, vehicle transporting senior citizens or child care vehicle.

See more about Novice Drivers!

Additional Requirements

  • Illinois drivers are required to carry their driver’s license or permit with them while driving.
  • A driver must meet special requirements to operate a school bus. Interested applicants should contact their local school district. There are also special requirements to operate a religious organization bus, child care vehicle, vehicle used in for-profit ride sharing or a vehicle used for senior citizen transportation. Driver’s license applicants should check with their employer, a local Driver Services facility or call the Safe Ride Section of the Secretary of State’s office at 217-782-7674.
  • For procedures on obtaining a license to operate a motorcycle or commercial vehicle, please refer to the Illinois Motorcycle Operator Manual, the Rules of the Road for Non-CDL Vehicles or the Commercial Driver’s License Study Guide, available at any Secretary of State facility or at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.
  • For procedures on obtaining a temporary visitor driver’s license, please refer to the Temporary Visitor Driver’s License Quick Guide available at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

Medical report

When applying for a driver’s license, applicants will be asked about any physical or mental conditions that may potentially impair the safe operation of a motor vehicle or any medications (prescribed or over-the-counter), drugs or alcohol that may impair their driving ability.

In certain instances, applicants must provide a Medical Report completed by a licensed physician verifying their medical ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. The report must be presented to the Driver Services facility personnel within 90 days from the date the physician signs it. The form is available at any Driver Services facility or at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

If drivers develop a medical condition that is likely to cause a loss of consciousness or any loss of ability to safely operate a vehicle, they must notify the Secretary of State’s office within 10 days of becoming aware of the condition. Failure to do so may lead to cancellation of the driver’s license and driving privileges.

Driving without valid license exemptions

Individuals may drive in Illinois without a valid Illinois driver’s license under the following circumstances:

  1. If they have permanently moved to Illinois from another state or country, their non Illinois driver’s license is valid for 90 days. The driver must obtain an Illinois license within that 90-day period or when the driver’s license expires, whichever comes first.
  2. If they are visiting or driving through Illinois, they must have a valid driver’s license from their home state or country.
  3. If they are an out-of-state student attending an Illinois college/university, they and their spouse and children may drive with a valid license from their home state or country.
  4. If they are on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces, they and their spouse and dependent children living with them may drive with a valid license from their home state.
  5. If they are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces outside the United States but a legal resident of Illinois, they and their spouse and dependent children living with them may drive during the first 120 days of their return if they previously obtained a deferral of their driver’s license.
  6. If they are serving as a civilian employee for the U.S. Armed Forces or the U.S. Department of Defense outside the United States but a legal resident of Illinois, they and their spouse and dependent children living with them may drive during the first 120 days of their return if they previously obtained a deferral of their driver’s license.
  7. If they are employed by the U.S. government or a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, they do not need a valid Illinois license if traveling on official business and driving a vehicle owned by or leased to the government.
  8. If they are operating a road machine temporarily on the roadway or operating a farm tractor between the farm buildings and nearby farmland.

Sources and references:

  1. Illinois Vehicle Code, Chapter 6: The Illinois Driver Licensing Law
This article about Illinois Drivers License Requirements & Application was last updated in 2018. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!