Illinois Drivers License Application
Those who have never been licensed before may be humbled by the amount of information that falls onto them when they are trying to research how they can apply for an Illinois drivers license. Do I need to follow the graduated driver's license rules, what tests am I to take, do I have to take any drivers education course before I can submit my application? All these and many other questions come to one's mind when he decides that it's time to get a license. We will try to break the application procedure into a number of simple steps that you can follow, hopefully this will get you started help you figure our the easiest way for you to apply for an Illinois driver license.
Illinois Drivers License - Under 18 Years of Age
If you choose to apply for an Illinois driver's license before you turn 18, you will need to meet all Illinois graduated drivers license requirements. The graduated license system was designed to minimize the risk of you having a traffic accident within your first years of driving and the Secretary of State takes the program very seriously. So seriously that if you are caught breaking the graduated driver's license restrictions, your driving privilege may be withdrawn and you may not be able to re-apply for a drivers license until you are 19 years of age.
Your road towards a drivers license starts with applying for an Illinois drivers permit. Obtaining a learners permit will allow you to practice driving before you take a drivers license test, since it is illegal to be behind the wheel without any kind of licensing documents.
The minimum age when you can get a permit is 15 years. By this time, you must already be enrolled in an SOS-approved Illinois drivers education course. Drivers ed programs are offered through high schools and commercial driving schools, it is up to you to choose a course provider that meets your requirements.
Once you have enrolled in a drivers ed course, visit a local SOS office, take a vision exam and an SOS drivers permit test. If you pass the tests, you are issued with an Illinois drivers permit.
This is where the fun starts. Having a learners permit allows you to get behind the wheel and start driving. However, don't forget that this is not a full license yet, you must observe all Illinois drivers permit restrictions at this point. For example, you are not allowed to drive alone and must have a licensed driver at least 21 years of age who has not less than one year of driving experience seated next to you at all times. Other restrictions also apply, so make sure to check out the Illinois drivers license manual before you hit the road.
You must hold your permit for a minimum of nine months and be at least 16 years of age before you can continue on to the next step of the application process, which is taking a drivers license test. During these months, you must finish your drivers ed program and receive at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice from your parents or another designated driver. Ten of these hours must be completed at nighttime.
A clean driving record is a must when it comes to applying for an Illinois drivers license. If you are convicted of a moving violation during your permit holding period, the waiting time is restarted and you have to wait another nine months before you can apply for a driving license.
Alas, all of the above requirements are met and you can take your Illinois drivers license test. You may be able to take a driving test through your drivers ed provider, if the school is participating in the Cooperative Drivers Testing Program. If you pass the driving test, you are issued with a drivers license and you can finally go out for a cruise without any supervisors breathing down your neck. However, don't let that excitement get the best of you. If you are still under 18 years of age, you are issued with a provisional license and you will have to observe all Illinois provisional driver's license restrictions. A full drivers license will be issued only once you turn 18.
Illinois Driver's License - 18 Years of Age and Older
If you are already 18 years of age, you have it easy compared to those who are applying for an Illinois driver's license at the age of 15 or 16. You do not need to observe any of the graduated drivers license requirements, so for you, it all comes down to passing the required tests. Here is an easy way for you to get your Illinois SOS drivers license in no time at all.
Grab yourself a copy of the Illinois driver license manual (you can download a free copy from the SOS website or pick it up at one of the SOS offices). Study the driving rules and road signs, then take a few drivers license practice tests. If you are doing well on practice tests, visit a local SOS office, file your application for an Illinois drivers permit, take a vision test and a permit test, pick up your learners permit. Once you have the permit, practice driving with a friend or relative. Your supervising driver must be at least 21 years old, have a valid drivers license and at least one year of driving experience. Once you feel that you're ready for the driving test, schedule the test with one of the drivers license testing stations, pass the road exam and get a full unrestricted Illinois drivers license.
Unlike teen drivers, you are issued with a full unrestricted Illinois drivers license as soon as you pass the drivers license test and you do not need to observe any license restrictions. However, we advise that you be extra cautious during your first months of driving, since you are most likely to have an accident during this period.
Most of the Illinois drivers license applicants are eager to find out what tests they will need to take as part of the application procedure. Unless you have been previously licensed in a different state, you will have to pass three tests: a vision exam, a drivers permit test and a driving skills test.
One of the key steps of the application procedure is determining whether you are able to see well enough to be allowed to operate a motor vehicle. The minimum vision requirements are as following:
- The minimum requirement for visual acuity is 20/40 acuity with or without corrective lenses. Drivers with acuity between 20/41 and 20/70 are limited to daylight driving only.
- You must have at least 140 degree peripheral vision (the ability to see to the side) to have a license without restrictions. This is with or without corrective lenses.
- If you wear telescopic lenses, you must meet special requirements and undergo additional testing to receive your license.
If you are unwilling to take a vision exam at the SOS while applying for an Illinois driver's permit, you may submit a Visions Specialist Report dated within six months and completed by a licensed optometrist.
Drivers Permit Test
Your results on the drivers permit test should allow SOS representatives to decide whether you know the state driving rules well enough to be allowed behind the wheel. The Illinois permit test covers the state driving regulations, road signs and pavement markings. You will need to be able to identify road signs by color and shape and answer multiple choice and true or false questions on Illinois driving rules.
If you are looking for ways to prepare for the permit test, you may find Illinois drivers practice tests quite useful. Practice driver's tests cover the same topics as the real SOS permit test and should give you a fair estimate of how well you can do on the drivers permit test.
Drivers License Test
Road skills exam is the ultimate test of everything you have learned during previous stages of the application process. There is a common misconception that while taking the Illinois driving test, you are only tested on how well you control the vehicle. That is not true and your drivers license examiner will also assess your knowledge of Illinois driving rules and your ability to follow them on the road. Make sure to brush up on the rules before you go in for the drivers license exam.
Those who apply for an Illinois drivers license before the age of 18 may have the option of taking a drivers license test as part of their drivers education course if the school is participating in the Cooperative Driver Testing Program. You must receive a grade of A or B in order to be eligible for a drivers license test exemption.
During the application procedure, you will be required to fashion the following things:
- proof of name
- proof of birth date
- proof of Illinois residency
- Social Security Number
If you are under 18 years of age, you will also need to present proof of enrollment in a drivers education course when you apply for a permit and proof of completion for a drivers education course when you are applying for an Illinois drivers license. In most cases, driving schools will transfer your drivers ed results to SOS electronically, but it is not always the case.
As you may see, applying for an Illinois drivers license is not that hard after all. Remember that SOS is your friend, if you get confused or come up with a question you can't answer yourself, log into the SOS website or call their support line.