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Illinois Driver License

In the state of Illinois, you cannot drive a car without an Illinois drivers license. And you should complete the Illinois drivers license renewal every 10 years.

Illinois Driver License Types

There are almost 5 types of driver’s license classes in the state of Illinois, and for each license type, there’s a corresponding type of instruction permit. You may also obtain your Real ID from the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State.

Class D driver’s license

It’s a regular license that allows you to operate any motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). It should not exceed 16,000 pounds and should not require a commercial driver’s license.

Class A driver’s license

In short, class A allows you to drive a combination of vehicles with a GCWR of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the GVWR of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds.

Class B driver’s license

To clarify, class B is for driving a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not over 10,000 pounds.

Class C driver’s license

That is to say, class C is for single vehicles with a GVWR of at least 16,001 pounds but less than 26,001 pounds.

These A, B, C license types are called the commercial driver license.

Class L driver’s license

This class L is used for riding motor-driven cycles with less than 150 ccs.

Class M driver’s license

Class M is for motorcycles.

Illinois driver’s license requirements

There are three main types of licenses you can obtain: Instruction permit, Initial driver’s license, and Full driver license. If you need to drive a car in your 15s, you should obtain an instruction permit.

But, you cannot obtain the permit and when you turn 18 you can apply for the full driver’s license.

Instruction permit

With the instruction permit, you can drive under the supervision of a 21 years old licensed driver. It’s the first stage of Illinois’s Graduated Driver Licensing program for everyone under the age of 18.

If you are not a US citizen and don’t have a Social Security Number, you still may qualify for a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License. Then you will be able to apply and obtain an instruction permit to drive legally or to practice driving.

How to apply

For your instruction permit, you should apply to the Secretary of State Facility:

  1. Apply in person
  2. Complete the application form and bring it with you. Or, you may complete the form at a Secretary of State Facility
  3. Have your parent’s permission. One of your parents should sign the application with you
  4. Complete the driver’s education course. You should complete 30 hours of classroom instruction and 6 hours of driving practice. Do it either before or after completing the application
  5. Pass a vision test. The minimum requirement for visual acuity is 20/40 with or without corrective lenses. Drivers with acuity between 20/41 and 20/70 are limited not to drive at night
  6. Pay $20 as a fee for the permit
  7. Pass a written exam
  8. Take a photo of yourself

The required documents

Submit the documents to verify your

  1. Legal name
  2. Signature
  3. Date of birth
  4. Social Security Number
  5. The residential address

You will receive the instruction permit within 15 business days by mail.

Initial Driver’s License

With this license, you can drive alone. But, there are some rules and restrictions you should follow. For example, you may not drive alone between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday. Or, Between 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. from Friday to Saturday. And, for the first twelve months or until you turn 18, you may not carry more than one passenger under 20 years of age who is not a member of your immediate family.

How to apply

To be able to apply for the initial driver’s license you should have an instructional permit for at least 9 months. And, you shouldn’t have any driving violations recorded.

Moreover, before or after obtaining a permit you should complete an approved driver’s education program in a public school.

If you have completed these two steps:

  1. Visit a Secretary of State Facility and apply in person
  2. Visit with your parent as he/she should sign the application with you
  3. Pass a driving exam
  4. If your instruction permit is expired you should pay $30

The required documents

Submit the documents to verify your

  1. Legal name
  2. Signature
  3. Date of birth
  4. Social Security Number
  5. The residential address

You will receive the instruction permit within 15 business days by mail.

When you turn 18, the restrictions will end. This means that you can drive with this license as with the Class D Adult Driver’s License.

Full Driver’s License

If you are 18 and applying for a driver’s license for the first time you should:

  1. Complete an adult driver’s education course. If you haven’t already completed any driver’s education course before it’s a must for you. The course lasts 6 hours, and you may take it online
  2. Visit a Secretary of State Facility and complete the application in person
  3. Pass a vision test. The minimum requirement for visual acuity is 20/40 with or without corrective lenses. Drivers with acuity between 20/41 and 20/70 are limited not to drive at night
  4. Pass a written exam
  5. Pay $5 if you are from 18 to 20 or 69 to 80 years old. And, $30 if you are from 21 to 68 years old
  6. Pass a driving exam
  7. Take a photo of yourself
  8. Take your temporary license as your full class D driver’s license you will receive within 15 days by mail

The required documents

Submit the documents to verify your

  1. Legal name
  2. Signature
  3. Date of birth
  4. Social Security Number
  5. The residential address
  6. And, a certificate to prove that you have completed your driver’s education course.

Illinois Driver’s License Renewal

The Illinois driver’s license should be renewed every 10 years.

You can renew your Dl in Illinois in person, by mail, or online. But, to renew by mail you should have a permit from the Secretary of State office. So, you should apply them before to have permission.

In-person renewal

You will receive a letter from the Secretary of State’s office 60 to 90 days before the expiration date.

To renew it in person:

  1. Visit the Secretary of State Facility and bring with you your current license
  2. Complete the application form
  3. Pass a vision test
  4. Take a photo of yourself
  5. Pay the renewal fee. Depending on your age you may pay $5, $30, or $2

Online Renewal

If you are deemed as a “Safe Driver”, you have a renewal authorization number, and you have never retake any test you can renew your DL online.

How to renew online

  1. Visit the Safe Driver Renewal webpage of the Secretary of State’s office
  2. Enter the Renewal Authorization Number on the front of the renewal letter
  3. Then follow the displayed instructions
  4. Pay the renewal fee. Depending on your age you may pay $5, $30, or $2

You can renew your DL also by phone. For more information, you may visit the Secretary of State’s official website.

Elen G

Elen is an English-Armenian-Russian translator and interpreter. But recently she tested her skills in content writing. According to her words, it's her new passion. Elen finds it more interesting to make searches and write content rather than look through the dictionaries to find a good synonym for a word. She hopes, that she will succeed in this field too, and will continue to grow and learn every day.

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