How to Get an Illinois Driver’s License: Your Guide

Illinois Drivers License Guide
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The state of Illinois uses a graduated driver licensing program (GPL) starting at age 15.

Drivers begin their journey with a learner’s permit, followed by a provisional license.

Those showing good driving skills submitted their documents, and held their provisional license for the required time may update it to an unrestricted “adult” license.

Assuming you have a clean record, did the GPL program, and the license shows valid, you’ll take the following steps to get your permanent Illinois license.

How to Get an Illinois License

An Illinois license becomes available for those having “graduated” the GPL program at age 17 and 3 months. Or, age 18 and over (though it’s recommended you practice before driving or take a driver’s education course before attempting the application).

Here is what you’ll do when applying for an IL license (in full):

  1. Schedule and visit a local IL DMV office
  2. Provide personal identification
  3. Provide proof of residency
  4. Provide a valid provisional license
    1. 18 – 20yo do not need a provisional license but must take a driver’s ed course
    2. 21 and older may apply without the driver’s education course
  5. Pass the written test
  6. Pass the vision screening
  7. Pass the road test
  8. Show proof of insurance
  9. Pay the application fee

Application fees are priced per age group:

  • 18 to 21 is $5
  • 21 to 68 is $30
  • 69 to 80 is $5
  • 81 to 86 is $2
  • 87 and older it’s free

Your license is valid for 4 years for those aged 21 to 80.

The license expiration goes to 2 years between ages 81 to 86. And, is only valid for 1 year (before renewal) for those 87+.

Proof of Identification includes:

  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • W-2 or 1099

Proof of residency includes

  • Mortgage statement
  • Utility bill
  • Current deed
  • Medical/health card

The DMV driving test verifies adult drivers can:

  • Check for safety
  • Control the vehicle
  • Obey traffic signs
  • Signal properly
  • Observe and communicate

A temporary, paper driver’s license becomes available to you – valid for 90 days. This is the license you’ll use until the permanent license arrives (usually within 15 days).


You’re now a new, proud owner of an unrestricted license! This gives you an incredible opportunity but also carries great responsibility. Practice safe driving and you’ll enjoy your time on the roads.

Your next (likely) step is purchasing a car. Use our Illinois Car Registration Guide to get your title and tag.