Illinois Permit and Driver's License FAQ

  • Applying for Your IL License
  • Preparing for the IL Permit Test
  • Taking the IL Permit Test
  • Preparing for the IL Driving Test
  • Taking the IL Driving Test
  • Renewing Your IL License
Close all

Applying for Your IL License: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the age requirements for getting started?

Illinois has instituted a Graduated Driver’s License program that is designed to give teen drivers increasing responsibilities and privileges as they age. Stages of the Illinois GDL are:

  • 15 years old – Learner’s Permit
  • 16 years old – Provisional License
  • 18 years old – Full driver’s license

What documents am I required to bring with me when applying for a license in Illinois?

You will need to provide the following:

  • Proof of Written Signature
  • Social Security Number
  • Proof of Birth Date
  • Proof of Residency (2 documents

Here are acceptable documents for each of the above.

Where do I file my IL driver’s license application?

You will apply at your local driver’s services facility.

How can I contact my local office?

You can call the Springfield office at (217) 782-6212 and you can call the Chicago office at (312) 793-1010. You can also visit https://www.ilsos.gov/facilityfinder/facility to find an office near you.

Do I have to take a Driver’s Ed Course?

Yes, in Illinois teens under 18 years of age who are seeking their driver’s license must complete driver’s education.

What if I am New to Illinois?

You’ll have 30 days from when you establish residency to transfer an out-of-state license to an Illinois license. You will need to pass a written test, a vision test and possibly a driving test.

Close all

Preparing for the IL Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

What subjects are commonly covered on the written test?

You can count on the Illinois written test to cover state traffic laws, road signs and other rules of the road. Here are two examples of content from the Illinois Driver’s Manual that could be on the test:

  • Even using hands-free technology is considered a distraction while driving and can be dangerous. If you must make a phone call, even with hands-free technology, it is recommended that you pull off to the side of the road before making the call
  • Driving off the pavement or main traveled part of the road is not allowed when passing another vehicle on the right or the left

How is the test formatted?

The Illinois written test is given in a multiple choice format.

Are there a lot of “trick” questions on the written test?

No, Illinois’ written test questions cover material presented in the state’s driver’s manual. Study the manual well enough and you shouldn’t be surprised by any questions on the test.

How many questions are on the test and how many do I need to answer correctly to pass?

There are 35 questions on the Illinois written test and you must answer at least 28 of the questions correctly to pass.

What are the best ways to prepare for the written test?

We recommend studying the Illinois Driver’s Manual extensively. We also recommend that you take numerous practice tests to get a better idea of your existing knowledge and to direct your study efforts. Take a practice test.

Where can I get a free Illinois Driver’s Manual to study?

You can get a free copy of the manual here on this website.

How can I improve my odds for passing the first time I take the test?

To assess your knowledge and determine if there are certain subjects you need to study more take practice test. We offer practice tests. Of course, you will also need to study your Illinois Driver’s Manual thoroughly to ensure a passing score.

What should I do the night before the test?

Review the driver’s manual and be sure to get a good night’s sleep. Before going to bed you may also want to take a practice test to familiarize yourself with the real test format and to bolster your confidence. On test day, be sure to eat a good meal and give yourself plenty of time to get to the driver’s license office for the test.

Close all

Taking the IL Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to make an appointment to take the written test?

It is recommended that you make an appointment if your local office accepts them.

Where do I take the written test?

You will take the test at your local driver’s services facility.

What do I need to bring when I sit for the written test?

  • Proof of Written Signature
  • Social Security Number
  • Proof of Birth Date
  • Proof of Residency (2 documents

Here are acceptable documents for each of the above.

Who should accompany me to the written test?

You should be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Do I need to pay a fee to take the written test?

Yes, there is a $20 Learner’s Permit fee.

What should I expect when I sit for the written test?

The test contains 30 questions covering traffic laws, road signs and rules of the road. The test is multiple choice and you will need to answer at least 28 questions correctly to pass. You cannot refer to the state driver’s manual or use any notes during the test. To get more familiar with the test format, you can take an Illinois written practice test.

What happens after I pass the written test?

Upon passing the written test, you will receive your Learner’s Permit and can begin the behind-the-wheel driver training portion of the GDL program. You must log 50 hours of driving practice, with 10 of those hours driven at night.

What happens if I fail the written test?

You can retake the test as soon as you like.

How many times can I retake the test?

You can take the test three times in a one year period.

Close all

Preparing for the IL Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve passed the written permit test, what are the next steps?

Armed with a Learner’s Permit you can begin practicing driving with a parent, guardian or other licensed driver age 21 or older. With your Illinois permit, you can drive only with a supervising driver, with one passenger in the front seat and as many as there are seatbelts in the back seat. You must have your permit on you when driving. You also cannot drive between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday – Thursday and between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

How long after getting my Learner’s Permit can I apply for a license?

You must be at least 16 years old and have held your Learner’s Permit for nine months without any traffic violations to apply for your provisional license.

Can I drive anywhere in Illinois with my Learner’s Permit?

As long as you are accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or older you can drive on any public road or street in Illinois.

Should I practice driving solely during the day?

No, you should also drive at night. Illinois requires 10 hours of practice driving time be completed during nighttime hours.

Does anyone have to be in the car with me when I’m driving with my Learner’s Permit?

Yes, a supervising driver age 21 or above should always be with you.

What should I do if I have a lost Illinois Learner’s Permit?

Illinois requires that residents with a lost permit replace it in person at their local driver’s services office. You will need proof of signature, birth, Social Security Number and residency. You will also need to pay a $5 fee.

How can I be sure I’m prepared to ace the driving test?

Learn the Illinois rules of the road as presented in the state driver’s manual and apply those rules when you drive. Also, be sure to get as much behind-the-wheel practice as possible, especially working on maneuvers like turns, stops, starts, lane changes and more. The more driving practice you get, the more comfortable you will feel behind the wheel.

Are there particular driving maneuvers I should practice?

Practice turns, including two-point and three-point turns; stops, accelerating, using your mirrors, parking in a parking space, lane changes and defensive driving techniques.

How can I simulate the driving test?

Practice both common car maneuvers, like parking and three-point turns, as well as driving in traffic. You will need to be able to do both well to pass your driving test. If you know the roads that are used on the test it can also be beneficial to drive them so that you are more familiar with the challenges they present.

Close all

Taking the IL Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule my driving test?

Contact your local driver’s services facility.

Where do I take the driving test?

You will take the test at a local driver’s services facility.

What should I bring to the driving test?

  • Illinois Learner’s Permit
  • Driver’s Ed completion certificate
  • Form DSD X 174 – Affidavit/Consent for Minor to Drive (must be signed by parent/guardian)
  • Proof of completion of behind-the-wheel driving hours
  • Proof of identity (here are acceptable documents)
  • Payment for $30 license fee – this fee is waived if your permit has not expired

You also need:

  • A working vehicle
  • Vehicle registration
  • Proof of insurance

Who should bring me to the driving test?

A licensed parent or legal guardian should bring you so that they can sign Form DSD X 174.

What will I be asked to do on the driving test?

The driver’s test includes a basic maneuver course where you will be asked to do such things as park, make a three-point turn, come to a sudden stop, accelerate and more. You will also be required to drive in traffic and show proper defensive driving skills.

What are the most common reasons new drivers fail the driving test?

Drivers fail due to nerves, lack of attention to detail, failure to signal, failure to check mirrors, speeding and more.

What are five mistakes I should be sure to avoid when taking the driving test?

  • Following too closely
  • One-handed steering – or steering with hands in wrong position
  • Rolling stops
  • Improper lane changes
  • Not adjusting to road conditions

What happens if I fail the driving test?

You may retake the test.

How many times can I take the test?

You can take the test three times in a one-year period.

I’ve passed the road test, now what?

You will receive your provisional license.

What restrictions come with an Illinois license?

  • You cannot drive between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
  • You can only drive with one passenger under 20 who is not a member of your family for the first 12 months or until you turn 18
  • You must be conviction-free for the six months prior to turning 18 to get your full license
  • You cannot use a cell phone while driving

What are the insurance requirements for drivers in IL?

There is a mandatory insurance law for drivers in Illinois. The law sets the minimum insurance requirements at:

  • $25,000 – injury or death of one person in an accident
  • $50,000 – injury or death of more than one person in an accident
  • $20,000 – damage to property of another person

In addition, all drivers are required to carry their insurance card in their vehicle and show it upon request by any law enforcement officer.

Close all

Renewing Your IL License: Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need to renew my license or replace a lost/stolen license?

Illinois driver’s licenses are valid for a length of time dependent on your age. For example, if you are 21 to 80, your license will need to be renewed every fours. If you are 81 to 86 years old, it will need to be renewed every 2 years. If you are 87 years old and older, it must be renewed every year.

If you have a lost or stolen license, Illinois requires that you replace it in person at the local driver’s services office. You will need proof of signature, birth, Social Security Number and residency. You will also need to pay a $5 fee.

Where can I renew my Illinois driver’s license?

You can renew your Illinois license online, by mail, by phone or by visiting a driver’s services office in person with proof of identification.

Will I be required to take a vision test when renewing my license?

Yes, you will have to take an eye exam if you are renewing in person at a driver’s services office.

All applicants are required to have a vision screening or to submit a Vision Specialist Report from a licensed optometrist, ophthalmologist or physician dated within six months of their renewal visit.

Vision requirements as determined by the state are:

  • Minimum visual acuity of 20/40 with or without corrective lenses
  • Drivers with acuity between 20/41 and 20/70 are limited to daylight driving only
  • At least 140 degree peripheral vision (the ability to see to the side) with or without corrective lenses

The Illinois DMV Test — What You Need to Know

Imagine getting your learner’s permit and finally having the freedom to go where you want, when you want.  The only thing standing between you and your permit is the Illinois permit test. The Illinois Secretary of State office (SOS) requires you to complete and pass a multiple-choice permit test before the state can issue you a learner’s permit. Its purpose is to verify your knowledge of the rules of the road, various road signs, and state specific traffic laws.  The test has been designed to ensure you have the information needed to be a safe and courteous driver.

Study Effectively With IL DMV Practice Permit Tests

The permit test turns can turn a lot of people into “nervous wrecks.” In fact, statistics have revealed that nearly 50% of test takers fail the exam.  Do you want to take that chance?  Why leave the DMV office empty-handed when you could start preparing now.

We’ve made the process simple. On this page you’ll find an excellent collection of study resources, including our free Illinois practice permit test. We also provide a copy of the official Illinois Driver’s Handbook. Interested in getting your motorcycle permit?  You’ll also find some great resources here to prepare for that exam too.