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Illinois Drivers License Guide

As you can see, the Illinois Secretary of State's office performs many services to the public. In fact, the Secretary of State's office interacts with more Illinois residents than any other state agency. The most commonly utilized services are getting a driver's license and registering a vehicle. Here is a quick primer on how to do both:


Getting an Illinois driver's license

The procedures for getting a driver's license in Illinois vary, depending on your age and on whether or not you have been licensed before in another state. However, no matter who you are, getting your license the first time requires a visit to one of the Illinois Secretary of State's Driver Services Facilities. To find a driver services facility near you, click here.  Before you go, read on to make sure that you have all of your paperwork in order.

First Time Driver- under 18

  • Your parents must agree to let you get your license. They can either accompany you to provide written permission when you go to apply for your license, or they can provide you with a completed, notarized copy of an "Affidavit/Consent for Minor to Drive" form to take with you.
  • You must have completed 50 hours of driving practice, including 10 hours driving at night.
  • You must have completed a state-approved driver's education class, the written test, the vision test and a road test.
  • You must have had your learner's permit for at least 9 months, and maintained a clean driving record with no traffic convictions during that time.
  • You must bring proof of signature, proof of date of birth, proof of social security number, and proof of residency. For a list of acceptable documents, click here.
  • $10.00 fee


First time driver- Age 18 and above

  • You must bring acceptable documentation for each of the categories listed above (signature, date of birth, social security number and residency.)
  • You must pass a vision test, written test, and a driving test. You do not have to take a driver’s education class.
  • Fees: If you are 18-20 years old, pay $5.00. If you are 21-68, pay $10.00. If you are 69-80, the price goes back down to $5.00. If you are 81-86, it's only $2.00. Once you hit your 86th birthday, you can renew your license free of charge.


Driver licensed in another state

  • You must bring acceptable documentation per above.
  • You must pass a vision test, and possibly a written and a road test, depending on your current license status in the state you moved from.
  • Fees as described above.



  • Drivers with no tickets on their record may be eligible to renew online through the Safe Driver Renewal Program.
  • Vision screening is required, even if you are eligible for a Safe Driver Renewal.
  • If you have convictions on your driving record, you will be required to take the written test again every 8 years.
  • If you have accidents, you may also have to re-take the road test.
  • Unless you are renewing online, you must bring three acceptable forms of ID to prove your name, date of birth, address, Social Security number, and signature. To see acceptable forms of ID, click here.
  • Fees depend on how old you are. See the list above of driver's license fees by age group.


Vehicle registrations
When you buy a vehicle from a dealership, the dealer may take care of all of the registration paperwork for you. If that’s the case, you’ll just get your tags in the mail. However, if you buy a vehicle from a private-party seller, or if you moved to Illinois from out-of-state, you'll have to do the dirty work yourself. Here's how:

  • The first time you register your vehicle, you'll need to go into a Secretary of State Branch office. Click here to find one near you.
  • If your vehicle is a new purchase, fill out an Application for Vehicle Transaction and bring it in along with a tax form and a surrendered title signed by the previous owner.
  • A $65 fee for getting the title in your name.
  • A $78 fee for the new license plates.
  • Proof of Illinois liability insurance.


Renewing your registration is easier. You can apply for renewal online or through the mail. You should get a renewal notice about 45 days before your registration expires. The renewal notice will list all applicable fees and give you instructions on how to renew.


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