Driver's License Examination
Examinations are required for applicants for a driver’s license or permit that have not been previously licensed as a driver under the laws of Illinois or any other state or country, or any applicant for renewal of such driver’s license or permit when such license or permit has been expired for more than 1 year.
Applicants must successfully complete a vision screening, written examination, and driving examination.
An applicant who is required to take a vision screening must obtain a binocular (both eyes) acuity reading of 20/40 or better before being issued a driver’s license without vision restrictions. If an applicant utilizes corrective eyeglasses, contact lenses, or a combination thereof in order to obtain an acceptable acuity reading, a driver’s license issued to this applicant shall be restricted to operating a motor vehicle while using the corrective lenses.
Drivers must be reexamined at least once every 8 years unless they possess a driving record devoid of any convictions of traffic violations or evidence of committing an offense for which mandatory revocation would be required.
Graduated Driver’s Licensing
Illinois has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.
At age 15, individuals enrolled in driver education are eligible for an instruction/learner’s permit. While operating with a learner’s permit, drivers may not drive unsupervised between 11 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday, between 11 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. Sunday or between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.
- Learner’s permit holders must accumulate 50 hours (10 at night) of supervised driving, supervised by a parent or an adult age 21 or older with a valid driver’s license, who must be sitting in the front passenger seat and may not be intoxicated.
- The learner’s permit must be held for a minimum of 9 months before becoming eligible for an intermediate license without acquiring any driving convictions during the 9 month permit phase.
Learner’s permit holders who have completed the learner’s permit stage as well as a state-approved driver education course and have their parent’s or guardian’s permission may apply for an intermediate license.
- Intermediate license holders may not drive unsupervised between 11 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday, between 11 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. Sunday or between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.
- For the first year of licensing, or until the driver is age 18, whichever occurs first, the number of passengers is limited to 1 person under age 20, unless the additional passenger(s) is a sibling, step-sibling, child, or step-child of the driver. After this period, the number of passengers is limited to 1 in the front seat and the number of safety belts in the back seat. The intermediate license must be held for 12 months and may be extended for 6 months if driver receives a moving violation.
- All occupants must wear safety belts.
At age 18, drivers are eligible for an unrestricted license as long as they have not received any moving violations in the last 6 months and have resolved all tickets.
All license applicants must complete driver education.
Driver’s License Renewal
For new applicants aged 21 to 80, the expiration date is 4 years from the applicant’s next day of birth. For renewal applicants, the expiration date is 4 years from the present expiration date. Drivers between the ages of 81 to 86 will be issued a 2-year license and drivers aged 87 and older will be issued a 1-year license.
The Secretary of State’s office mails a renewal letter to driver’s license holders 60 to 90 days prior to the expiration of your license. The letter is mailed to the address in the office’s driving record file. The letter contains the information needed to renew a license.
Each original or renewal driver’s license issued to a licensee under 21 years of age shall expire 3 months after the licensee’s 21st birthday.
Renewal applicants 75 and older must take a road test.
Members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty and civilian employees of the Armed Forces outside Illinois, as well as their spouses and children may drive with an expired license for up to 120 days after their return to the state. A Military Deferral Certificate(s) must be carried with an expired Illinois driver’s license. Certificates are available at no charge and may be mailed to an out-of-state address.
Types of Driver’s Licenses
Class A: Any combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more, provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 lbs.
Class B: Any single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 lbs. GVWR.
Class C: Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 16,001 lbs. or more but less than 26,001 lbs. GVWR, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 lbs. GVWR or any vehicle less than 26,001 lbs. GVWR designed to transport 16 or more people including the driver or used in the transportation of hazardous materials which requires the vehicle to be placarded.
Class D: Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 16,000 lbs. or less that is not designed to transport 16 or more people or not used in the transportation of hazardous materials which would require such vehicle to be placarded.
Class L: Any motor-driven cycle with less than 150cc displacement.
Class M: Any motorcycle with 150cc or greater displacement.
Temporary Visitors Driver’s License (TVDL): All applicants must provide a valid, unexpired foreign passport or an Illinois State Police-approved Consular Card. The TVDL is valid for driving purposes only. It is not valid for identification purposes. The TVDL will be valid for three years from the date of publication and is only valid if the card holder is able to provide proof of liability insurance. The applicant must have resided in Illinois for more than 12 months.
Secretary of State may issue a restricted driving permit for a period as appropriate, but no longer than 2 years from the date of issuance.