How to Acquire the Illinois Driving License

Are you a teen driver or a new Illinois resident?  If yes, you must be wondering how you can acquire an Illinois driving license. Like most states, Illinois has different types of licences with varying limitations.

Lucky for you, we will make the process straightforward by giving you all the information necessary to acquire the license.

Let’s get right into it!

Acquiring the license as a teenager

Acquire the Illinois Driving License For you to acquire the Illinois driver’s license, you must first apply for the instruction permit or the learners’ permit. But not so fast; you must first meet the following requirements:

  • Be 15 years and above.
  • Be enrolled on a driver’s education course.
  • Successfully complete the knowledge test/IL learner permit test.
  • Pass a vision test.

Of course, if you’re below 18 years, you will need to have a consent form or affidavit signed by your parent or guardian that allows you to drive. Once you’re given the learner’s permit, you can use it for not less than 9 months before you’re allowed to take the driving test and proceed to the next stage.

After you’ve passed the driving test, you will be given an initial driving license; that’s if you’re 16 or 17 years of age. The initial driving license for a teenager is restricted by a few rules. For instance, you can’t drive between 10 P.M and 6 A.M from Sunday to Thursday with an initial driving license. But if it’s on a Friday or Saturday, you’re allowed to drive until 11 P.M.

Besides that, you’re not allowed to drive more than one passenger under the age of 20 if you possess an initial driving license; although you can drive unsupervised. Please note that if you get a traffic conviction with an initial license, you may face stiffer penalties and get your restrictions extended past 18 years of age.

Acquiring the license as an adult

If you are above the age of 18 years, you automatically qualify for the full Illinois driver’s license. In fact, if you possessed an initial driver’s license before you turned 18 years, you can graduate to a full driver’s license with no restrictions.

However, if you apply for the Illinois driving license for the first time after you’ve turned 18 years, you still have to go through a driver’s ed course, knowledge exam, vision test and a driving test. If you’re 21 years and above, it’s not a must you enrol for a driver’s ed course, but it would help you out.

Out of state visitor

If you’re visiting Illinois from a different state, you can still use your out of state license for 90 days. But if you want to become a permanent resident of Illinois, you can trade-in your out of state license at the Illinois Secretary of State office (the equivalent of DMV in Illinois).

Once it has been established that you’ve become a legal resident of Illinois with an out of state license, you will need to pass a vision test and written test before you’re cleared with a full driver’s licence. However, if you have traffic violations on your record, you may be required to take a road test.

Acquiring the license as a non-citizen

If you’re not a U.S citizen, you can still drive in Illinois with a valid driver’s license from your home country. Alternatively, if you plan to stay in Illinois for more than 12 months, you can apply for the Temporary Visitor Driver’s License Program (TVDL); although you will need to pass the vision test, written exam and road test.

Please note that the TVDL is valid for 3 years; after that, you need to reapply again.

Restricted local driver’s license

In Illinois, you can apply for a restricted local driver’s license if you live in an area with a population of fewer than 3,500 people. Unlike a full driver’s license, you can only use the restricted local driver’s license to drive yourself to specific places such as the post office, bank or grocery store.

The process to acquire a restricted local driver’s license is not so different; you need to pass a vision exam, knowledge exam and a driving test along the specific route you want to travel.

Acceptable identification documents

During the driver’s license application process, you will need to bring acceptable identification documents to verify your written signature, date of birth, social security number and residency. Of course, the documents that you’re required to present depend on the type of driver’s license that you’re applying for.

Some of the most reviewed documents include:

  • Social security card.
  • Birth certificate.
  • Illinois ID card.
  • Citizenship certificate.
  • Foreign passport and U.S visa.
  • Utility bill.
  • S military service record.
  • S military driver’s license.
  • Bank statement.
  • Cancelled check.
  • Insurance papers.

After you’ve been successfully processed, you should receive the Illinois driver’s license in your mailbox within 15 days.