illinois-road-signReady to start preparing for the Illinois permit test?  Like many states, Illinois has a Graduated License Program (GDL), which serves to help you become comfortable with the rules of the road before moving on to earn unrestricted driving privileges.

In the state of Illinois, the GDL process consists of obtaining your:

  • Instruction Permit.
  • Initial Driver’s License.
  • Full License.

In this guide, you will learn how to pass the Illinois permit test and go on to become a fully licensed driver.

Instruction Permit

When you are 15 years old, and you have enrolled in a state-approved driver’s education course, you are eligible to apply for your Instruction Permit (also known as the learner’s permit). To earn your permit, you must pass a written knowledge test (or permit test) that will show that you know the rules of the road as well as various traffic signs and signals.

Study as Much as You Can

The permit test can be easy or difficult depending on how much time you dedicate to studying. We provide a free copy of the Illinois Driver’s Handbook, and you can request a physical copy by contacting your local Driver Services facility. In Illinois, driver’s licenses and permits are handled by the Secretary of State (SOS) offices.

Do Practice Exams

Taking practice exams is a great way to make sure you’ve absorbed the information you’ve been studying. Our Illinois practice permit test includes much of the same material from the actual test and is a great resource for learning.

Check That You Have the Required Materials and Visit Your Local SOS Facility

Before you leave to do your testing, make sure you bring:

  • Your parent or guardian.
  • Proof of identity.
  • Proof of enrollment in a state-approved driver’s education course.
  • Your Affidavit/Consent for Minor to Drive (Form DSD X 174), signed by your parent or guardian.
  • $20 for testing and permit fees.

Take Your Tests

Relax and do your best on the test. Once you pass, you will be required to take a vision test to ensure you can see well enough to drive safely.

Begin Your Driving Practice

Once you are given your Instruction Permit, you can begin training behind the wheel as a part of your driver’s education course. In Illinois, driver’s education includes 30 hours of classroom training and six hours of behind-the-wheel training. At this time, you can also begin working on the required 50 hours of practice driving under the supervision of a licensed driver age 21 or above. Of those 50 hours, 10 must take place at night.

Intermediate Driver’s License

When you are 16 years old, you have held your Instruction Permit for at least nine months without any accidents or traffic violations, and you have completed your driver’s education course, you can apply for your Initial Driver’s License.

When you are ready, visit your local SOS offices, bringing along:

  • Your Instruction Permit.
  • Proof that you successfully completed your driver’s education course.
  • An Affidavit/Consent for Minor to Drive (Form DSD X 174). Your parent or guardian must be present to sign the form in front of an examiner, or you must have the form signed and notarized ahead of time.
  • Proof that you completed your required practice driving (Form DSD X 152).
  • Proof of identity.
  • A registered vehicle and proof of insurance.

At this point, you will be required to take a behind-the-wheel test to ensure that you are ready to drive. When you pass, you must also pass a vision test.

Be aware that the Initial Driver’s License comes with a few restrictions:

  • You may not drive between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday.
  • You may not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
  • For the first year, or until you turn 18 years old, you can only drive with one passenger under the age of 20 who isn’t a member of your family.
  • You may not use a cell phone while driving except in cases of emergency.

Driver’s License

When you are 18 years old, and you have held your Initial License for at least six months without any violations, the restrictions will be removed from your license. If you received any driving convictions during this time, your restrictions will be extended.

Additional Information

When you turn 19, you will be allowed to talk on a cell phone while driving, but texting and driving is always illegal in the state of Illinois.

If you would prefer to avoid taking driver’s education, you can wait until you are 17 and three months old to apply for your Instruction Permit, which removes driver’s education as a requirement.