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    Welcome to Illinois―The Prairie State

    Located in the middle of the U.S. heartland, the state of Illinois has thousands of miles of scenic roads, the thrill of Chicago, Wrigley Field and the Abraham Lincoln Historic Site to explore. Not to mention the bordering Great Lakes where the fishing and beautiful water provide endless fun for boat enthusiasts.

    What You Need to Know about Driving (and boating) in Illinois

    Illinois gives you have a full 90 days before you need to get your license.

    However, the time to get a CDL license and to register and title your vehicle is a mere 30 days.

    The application to register a boat needs to be done within 15 days. There is no license requirement for boats.

    Documents for Illinois Driver’s License and ID’s

    Even though you have 90 days to get a license or an ID, your best bet is to make sure you have all the documents you will need to get a new license before you visit your local Illinois Drivers Services Facility.

    To get ready for your appointment for your new Illinois license there are a few things you will need:

    • Proof of your true full name, birth date and legal presence.
    • Surrender your valid out-of-state driver's license.
    • Payment for your driver's license fee or CDL. IL Drivers Service Facilities accept cash, check, money order or ATM/Debit cards.
    • Pass the appropriate exams (vision screening, written and/or driving).

    Just Need an ID?

    If you don’t plan on driving you can apply for an Illinois ID card. The identification for an ID card is the same as for a license. ID cards come in handy for those who don’t drive but plan on traveling or banking.

    Registering Your Vehicle or Boat in Illinois

    After moving permanently to Illinois, you have 30 days to properly register your vehicle and 15 days to register your boat. Registering your car requires a trip to an Illinois Drivers Services Facility, while the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) handles boat registrations.

    To register a vehicle you will need some documents:

    • Application for Vehicle Transaction(s). Obtain from any Secretary of State(SOS) facility, or by calling (800) 252-8980.
    • Name and Illinois address of owner.
    • Odometer reading.
    • Description of the vehicle.
    • Names and addresses of any lienholders.

    NOTE: Depending on your county, your vehicle may also need to pass an emissions test.

    The following documents also are required for a leased vehicle:

    • Your lease agreement.
    • Valid out-of-state registration.
    • Valid out-of-state title.
    • Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO).
    • Bill of sale identifying the vehicle and the lessor’s name and address.

    To register your boat:

    For detailed boat registration information, visit our IL Boat Registration page.

    IL Auto Insurance Coverage

    Not only must you have a valid registration but Illinois law requires that you carry liability insurance as well. Unlike many states you are not required collision, comprehensive, medical payment or uninsured property, though a lien holder may require it.

    Military Personnel Stationed in Illinois

    Active duty military members are exempt from being required to get an Illinois driver's license if they have a valid license from their home state. The same applies to their spouse and any children of driving age still living at home.

    Need more information? Visit our Military Drivers page.

    Non-US Citizens Driving in Illinois

    Non-US citizens who have been granted legal entry into the US and are living in Illinois may apply for a Temporary Visitor Driver's License (TVDL) with the Secretary of State.

    The following requirements must be met if you wish to have a Illinois license:

    • Residing in Illinois but not a citizen of the US.
    • Proof from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be in the US.
    • Not be required to obtain a driver's license issued by the U.S. Department of State, Office of Foreign Missions.
    • Documentation from Social Security Administration verifying such ineligibility for a Social Security number.
    • Documents of name, date of birth, Illinois residency and verification of written signature.
    • Pay the appropriate fee and successfully complete a vision screening and the appropriate written and road tests.