Title Application

The application for vehicle title is made to the Secretary of State and must include a description of the vehicle, date of purchase, odometer reading, and, if applicable, the name, email address and physical address of the person from whom the vehicle was acquired and any lienholders.

If the vehicle was purchased from a dealer, the dealer must promptly mail and deliver the application to the Secretary of State.

The applicant must furnish proof of payment for all applicable taxes.

The Secretary of State shall refuse issuance of a certificate of title if any required fee is not paid or if he has reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant is not the owner of the vehicle; the application contains a false or fraudulent statement; the applicant fails to furnish required information or documents or any additional information the Secretary of State reasonably requires; or the applicant has not paid to the Secretary of State any fees or taxes due under this Act.

The application for certificate of title for trailers must include the square footage of the vehicle based upon the outside dimensions of the house trailer excluding the length of the tongue and hitch, and, if a new vehicle, the date of the first sale of the vehicle.

Title Transfer of Ownership

Transferor must give the transferee an assignment and warranty of title at the time of the delivery of the vehicle in the space provided on the certificate of title and mail the certificate and assignment to the transferee or the Secretary of State.

Transferee must within 20 days after the delivery of the assigned title, execute the application for a new certificate and mail or deliver it to the Secretary of State.

Whenever the owner of a registered vehicle transfers or assigns his title, or interest thereto, the registration of such vehicle shall expire and the owner shall not be entitled to any refund of the registration fee.

When the transferee of a vehicle is a dealer who holds it for resale and lawfully operates it under dealers’ number plates or when the transferee does not drive such vehicle or permit it to be driven upon the highways, such transferee shall not be required to obtain a new registration of said vehicle.

Titles for Mobile Homes

Mobile homes must be titled and include a description of the home.

The owner of a mobile home not located in a mobile home park shall, within 30 days after initial placement of such mobile home in any county and within 30 days after movement of such mobile home to a new location, file with the county recorder’s office a mobile home registration.

The registration must show the name and address of the owner and every occupant of the mobile home, the location of the mobile home, the year of manufacture, and the square feet of floor space contained in such mobile home together with the date that the mobile home became inhabited, was initially placed in the county, or was moved to a new location. Such registration shall also include the license number of such mobile home and of the towing vehicle, if there be any, and the state issuing such licenses.

Registration Application

Application is made to the Secretary of State upon the appropriate forms furnished by the Secretary of State and must bear the signature, name, and address of the owner, a description of the vehicle, information relating to the required insurance coverage of the vehicle, and such further information as may reasonably be required by the Secretary to enable him to determine whether the vehicle is lawfully entitled to registration.

Registration stickers must be displayed at all times and firmly attached to the license plate of the motor vehicle in such a manner that it cannot be removed without being destroyed.

Notice of change of address or name must be made within 10 days to the Secretary of State.

There is no grace period for late registration.

Trailers are subject to the same registration requirements as motor vehicles. The Secretary of State shall permit the owner of a trailer to register the trailer for a period of either one year or up to an extended 5-year registration period.

Registration for Non-Residents

Non-residents may operate vehicles not registered in the state so long as such vehicles have at all times duly registered in, and displayed upon it, a valid registration card and registration plate or plates issued for such vehicle in the place of residence of such owner and is issued and maintains in such vehicle a valid Illinois reciprocity permit as required by the Secretary of State, and provided like privileges are afforded to residents of this state by the state of residence of such owner.

Every non-resident including any foreign corporation carrying on business within Illinois and owning and regularly operating in such business any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer within this state in intrastate commerce, shall be required to register each such vehicle and pay the same fees as is required with reference to like vehicles owned by Illinois residents.

Registration Type

Registration must be renewed annually for all normal passenger vehicles. When registered on a calendar year basis commencing January 1st, expiration shall be on the 31st day of December or at such other date as may be selected at the discretion of the Secretary of State; however, registrations of apportionable vehicles, motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, and pedalcycles shall commence on the first day of April and shall expire March 31st of the following calendar year. At the discretion of the Secretary of State, the vehicle owner’s birthday may be used as the date of registration expiration.

New residents have until 30 days after establishing residency to secure registration, provided the vehicle is properly registered in another jurisdiction.

Application for renewal of a vehicle registration shall be made by the owner not later than December 1st of each year, upon proper application and by payment of the registration fee and tax for such vehicle.

Registration plates issued for motor vehicles are valid for an indefinite term of not less than 1 year.

Registration plates issued as 2-year plates may be issued as multi-year plates at the discretion of the Secretary of State.

Emissions Inspection

Dependent upon year of vehicle. Annual testing required for vehicle owners in Cook, Dupage, Lake, parts of Kane, Madison, St. Clair, Will, Kendall, Monroe, and McHenry Counties. OBD is utilized as part of the state emissions inspection process.

Visit the Illinois Air Team for more information on the state’s Vehicle Emissions Testing Program.

Safety Inspection

There is no periodic statewide safety inspection requirement for passenger vehicles. Vehicles over 8,000 lbs. or designed to carry 10 or more passengers must submit to a safety inspection and secure a certificate of safety furnished by DOT.

Title and Registration Fees


Title Fee: $95.00

Registration Fee: $101.00


Title Fee: $95.00

Registration Fee: $41.00


Plate Fee: $26.00 (one); $29.00 (two)

Registration Fee: $3.00 (cards); $20.00 (stickers)

Driver’s License Fee: $5.00

Title Fee: $95.00

Special Plates: $37.00–$146.00

Plate Disbursement

Plates issued for a motor vehicle other than a motorcycle, trailer, truck, or bus must display 2 reflectorized license plates, 1 on the front and 1 on the rear, and be securely fastened in a horizontal position to the vehicle for which it is issued so as to prevent the plate from swinging and at a height of not less than 12 inches from the ground, measuring from the bottom of such plate.

The color scheme for license plates is blue on white with red letters.

Special license plates for disabled drivers are available upon application, with medical certificate, to the Secretary of State.

Transfer of Plates

Registration expires on transfer by owner and no refunds on registration fees are allowed.

The transferor must remove plates and stickers and either forward them to the Secretary of State or have them assigned to another vehicle upon payment of fees.

When any person who has been issued vanity or personalized license plates sells, trades, or otherwise releases the ownership of the vehicle, he or she shall immediately report the transfer of such plates to an acquired motor vehicle and pay the transfer fee or shall, upon the request of the Secretary, immediately return such plates to the Secretary of State.

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.

Distracted Driving

Text messaging and handheld cell phone use while driving are prohibited. Drivers under the age of 19 who hold a learner’s permit or intermediate license may not use a cell phone or other similar device while driving. School bus drivers are prohibited from talking on a cell phone and driving, except in emergencies. The use of any cellular phone while driving is prohibited in work zones and school zones, or within 500 feet of an emergency zone.


Wearing headset receivers is not permitted while driving. Exempts intercom helmets on motorcycles, cellular phone earpieces, and single-sided headsets.

Impaired Driving

Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating beverages, with the illegal per se limit set at 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (.08 BAC). Utah’s per se limit is 0.05 BAC. All 50 states and the District of Columbia set the legal drinking age at 21.

Illinois law specifies that drivers with 5 nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their whole blood can be prosecuted for driving under the influence.

Every state’s chemical test law has ‘‘an implied consent’’ provision providing that any person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway, who is suspected of driving while intoxicated, consents to a chemical test to determine if he or she is inebriated. Failure to submit or pass such a test may cause the driver’s license to be suspended or revoked regardless of any court action finding the person innocent of the charge.

The most comprehensive resource on U.S. impaired driving laws is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Digest of Impaired Driving and Selected Beverage Control Laws.  NHTSA’s Digest is updated annually.

Illinois requires the use of ignition interlocks for all impaired driving offenders.

Move Over Law

State law requires drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights, including towing and recovery vehicles, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest if safe and possible to do so, or slow to a safe speed. Also included in the law are disabled vehicles.

Seat Belts

Seat belts are required for all passengers in all seating positions.

Violation of the seat belt laws is a standard offense.

Riding in pickup truck beds is permitted.

Child Passenger Safety

Children under age 2 must be in a rear-facing child restraint system, unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches tall. Children under age 8 are required to be properly secured in a child restraint system.

Children over 40 lbs. may be transported in the back seat of a vehicle with only a lap belt if the back seat is not equipped with a lap and shoulder belt.

Violations of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Railroad Crossing

Drivers are required to stop between 15 and 50 feet of the nearest rail of a railroad crossing when a signal indicates the approach of a train, or an approaching train is plainly visible.

All drivers of vehicles for hire carrying passengers, buses, or vehicles carrying hazardous materials must stop between 15 and 50 feet of the nearest rail before proceeding.

School Buses

Drivers approaching a school bus from the rear, or from the opposite direction on a 2-lane road, must stop for any school bus receiving or discharging students and may not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or the driver is signaled to proceed by the school bus driver.  Drivers need not stop if traveling from the opposite direction on a road for 4 or more lanes.

Bumper Height

The maximum bumper height on all motor vehicles except multipurpose passenger vehicles is 28 inches for the front bumper and 30 inches for the rear bumper, measured from the road surface.

Headlight Use

Headlights are required to be on from sunset to sunrise, when wipers are in use, or when visibility is less than 1000 feet.

Hazard Light Use

The use of hazard lights is not permitted while driving.

Tire Chains

Tire chain usage is permitted for hazardous weather or other related incidents only, but may not damage the highway surface.

Studded Tires

Studded tire use is not permitted for most drivers. Rural mail carriers and persons with disabilities living in unincorporated areas may use them between November 15 and April 1.

Glass/Window Tinting

Any glass tinting on the front and side windows is prohibited, except when accompanied by a certification by a licensed physician stating that the driver’s medical condition would require it.

Exceptions may be permitted for certain windows with specified light transmittance and variances.

A non-reflective tinted film may be used along the uppermost portion of the windshield if such material does not extend more than 6 inches down from the top of the windshield.

The use of non-reflective, smoked or tinted glass, non-reflective film, perforated window screen, or other decorative window application on windows to the rear of the driver’s seat is permitted, except the motor vehicle must be equipped with a side mirror on each side of the motor vehicle and may not have window treatment on the windows immediately adjacent to each side of the driver.

Video Screens

It is illegal for any vehicle to be equipped with a television receiver, video monitor or video screen that is operating or located at any point visible to the driver.  Exempts vehicle information displays, GPS and navigation systems, and systems that lock when the vehicle is in motion. Also exempts equipment permanently installed in the vehicle and moving entertainment images that are not visible to the driver while the vehicle is in motion.

Radar Detectors

Radar detectors are permitted for passenger vehicles but prohibited for use by commercial vehicles.

Windshield Stickers

No person shall drive a motor vehicle with any sign, poster, window application, reflective material, non-reflective material or tinted film upon the front windshield.

Other Equipment Rules


Motorcycle Equipment

A person operating a motorcycle shall ride only upon the permanent and regular attached seat and such operator shall not carry any other person nor shall any other person ride on a motorcycle unless such motorcycle is designed for that purpose.

Any motorcycle carrying a passenger, other than in a sidecar or enclosed cab, must be equipped with footrests for such passenger.

No person shall operate any motorcycle with handlebars higher than the height of the shoulders of the operator when seated on the motorcycle.

Every driver and passenger must be protected by glasses, goggles, or a transparent shield.

Motorcycles and motor-driven cycles need not be equipped with electric turn signals.

Motorcycle Licenses

Licenses will not be issued to any person under the age of 18 as an operator of a motorcycle unless the person has completed a motorcycle training course approved by IDOT and the required Secretary of State’s motorcycle driver’s examination.

A 12-month instruction permit for a motor-driven cycle or motorcycle may be issued to a person 18 years of age or more, which entitles the holder to drive upon the highways during daylight under the direct supervision of a licensed motor-driven cycle operator or motorcycle operator with the same or greater classification, who is 21 years of age or older and who has at least 1 year of driving experience.

Motorcycle Noise Limits

No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise of such vehicle above that emitted by the muffler originally installed on the vehicle.

Mopeds & Other

Only motor-driven cycles and motorcycles properly titled and registered in Illinois may be legally operated on Illinois roadways. A scooter within one of these categories may be titled and registered in Illinois if it displays a federal safety certification label in addition to a vehicle identification number (VIN).

Registrations of mopeds commence on the 1st day of April and expire March 31st of the following calendar year.

Every moped, when in use at nighttime, shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front, and with a red reflector on the rear which shall be visible from all distances from 100 to 600 feet to the rear; a lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.

A person operating a moped shall ride only upon the permanent and regular attached seat and such operator shall not carry any other person nor shall any other person ride on a moped unless such moped is designed for that purpose.

Every driver and passenger must be protected by glasses, goggles, or a transparent shield.

Trailer Dimensions

Total length: 60 feet; trailer length: 53 feet (excluding safety equipment and energy conservation devices); motor home length: 45 feet (excluding energy absorbing bumpers and mirrors); width: 8 feet 6 inches (excluding safety devices on interstates and mirrors;, for motor homes, appurtenances up to 6 inches on roadways at least 11 feet in width); height: 13 feet 6 inches.

A special permit issued by the Department of Transportation is required from September 1 through December 31 for a vehicle that exceeds the maximum axle weight and gross weight limits or exceeds the vehicle’s registered gross weight.

Trailer Brakes

Every trailer or semitrailer of a gross weight of over 3,000 lbs. must be equipped with brakes when operated upon a highway. Such brakes must be so designed and connected that in case of an accidental breakaway of a towed vehicle over 5,000 lbs., the brakes are automatically applied.

Trailer Hitch/Signals

Safety chains are required in addition to regular coupling device (drawbar). Trailers of 3,000 to 5,000 lbs. are required to have brakes on only 1 wheel on each side. Trailers over 5,000 lbs. must be equipped with brakes on all wheels and must have automatic breakaway application.

Trailer Lighting

Every trailer and semitrailer shall be equipped with an electric turn signal device which indicates the intention of the driver to turn to the right or to the left in the form of flashing red or amber lights located at the rear of the vehicle on the side toward which the turn is to be made, and mounted on the same level and as widely spaced laterally as practicable.

Every trailer and semitrailer having a gross weight of 3,000 lbs. or less including the weight of the trailer and maximum load, shall be equipped with 2 red reflectors located on the rear of the body of such trailer, not more than 12 inches from the lower left-hand and lower right-hand corners, and which will be visible when hit by headlight beams 300 feet away at night.

Trailer Mirrors

Mirrors must give a view of 200 feet to rear.

Trailer Speed Limits


Trailer Towing


Trailer Other Provisions

No person or persons shall occupy a trailer, semitrailer, farm wagon, or any other vehicle while it is being towed upon a public highway.

Accident Reporting

Crashes are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $1,500.00, or $500 if any vehicle involved in the crash is uninsured.

The deadline to file a report with the Department of Transportation is 10 days.

Liability Laws

Has security-type law applicable in event of accident causing damage to property of 1 person in excess of $500 or personal injury or death; no judgment minimum. Proof of financial responsibility is required at all times. There is a fine for driving without such proof.

A minimum policy of $25,000 is required for bodily injury or death to any 1 person in 1 accident; a minimum of $50,000 for any 2 or more people in 1 accident; and a minimum of $20,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in 1 accident.  )

State has non-resident service of process law and guest suit law (applicable to hitchhikers only).

No person shall operate a motor vehicle registered in another state upon the highways of this State unless the vehicle is covered by a liability insurance policy. The operator of the vehicle shall carry within the vehicle evidence of the insurance.