Drivers Permits in Illinois
The Illinois Secretary of State offers a graduated driver's license to teen drivers. You must complete each phase of permits and licensing before graduating to the next level.
This stage is for drivers who are at least age 15 years old. You must be enrolled in a driver's education course when you apply for a permit. Study the Illinois driver's manual, and then head to your local Secretary of State office to take the written and vision tests.
After passing the tests, you must practice driving for a minimum of 50 hours, with 10 of those hours being driven at night. A parent or licensed adult 21 years or older must accompany you as you practice.
You are allowed to drive with your permit until 10 p.m. on weeknights, and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
All vehicle occupants under 19 must wear seat belts while you are driving, and there can be only one passenger in the front seat with you and one for each seatbelt in the back seat.
Your permit is valid for two years. After nine months of safe driving and 50 hours of practice, you may be eligible to apply for the next level of driver's license as long as you are at least 16 years old.
If you are caught driving without your permit, you will not be eligible for your driver's license until you are 18 years old.
The second phase of licensing is for 16- and 17-year-old drivers. You must have completed a driver's education course, your parent or guardian must certify that you've completed 50 hours of practice driving time (including 10 hours of nighttime driving), and you must pass a road test.
Sixteen-year-old drivers must abide by the same curfew hours as in the permit phase of the license. You can drive until 10 p.m. on weeknights, or until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
With this initial license, you are not required to have a supervisor while you drive, but for the first six months you can have only one passenger under the age of 20, unless that passenger is your child or sibling.
If you earn two moving violations during this phase of your licensing, you'll receive a minimum one-month suspension on your license. The Secretary of State office will determine the length of suspension according to the seriousness of the offense and your driving history. When your license is suspended, you'll be required to attend a remedial driver's education course and pay a $70 reinstatement fee.
This phase of licensing is for drivers between 18 and 20 years old. No age restrictions apply during this time, but if you get two moving violations, your license could be suspended for a month or more, and you'll be required to attend a remedial driver's education course. You'll also have to pay $70 to get your license reinstated.
Permits are valid for two years. Once you've reached the full licensing phase of your license, your license will be valid until three months after your 21st birthday. Once you renew that license to a regular, full-fledged license, the state will mail you a renewal notice every four years under the Safe Driver Renewal program as long as you maintain a clean driving record. You can renew a clean license by mail.
If your address has changed, or if you have violations against your record, you will not receive the Safe Driver Renewal option. In that case, you'll need to visit your Secretary of State office to renew in person by your birthday. Driver's licenses are valid for four years.
Other Topics in This Section
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- Drivers Training Requirements: Do You Have to Enroll in Drivers Training?
- How to Choose a Drivers Training Program
- Who’s Required to Take Drivers Training
- Transferring a Learner Permit to a New State
- Teen Driver Safety: Seat Belt Use
- Graduating From a Drivers Permit to a Restricted Drivers License
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