Illinois Drivers Permit Application
Trying to get a drivers license and never been licensed before? In this case, you will have to start by applying for an Illinois learners permit first. You must be at least 15 years old in order to be able to submit your application for an Illinois drivers permit and if you are under 18 years of age, you must be signed up for a state-approved drivers education class, due to the current graduated license rules. Although drivers who are 18 years and older do not need to follow the graduated license rules, they still have to apply for a permit prior to receiving a drivers license.
Graduated Drivers License Program
If you choose to apply for a learners permit before you turn 18, you will need to meet all Illinois graduated license requirements. The graduated license law was developed as a response to high crash rates among teenage drivers. According to national statistics, teen drivers are four times more likely to have a traffic accident than an older driver. Teenagers are also more likely to be injured in the crash since they frequently disregard basic safety precautions, such as wearing a seat belt.
The graduated drivers license program sets a number of requirements and restrictions that were designed to keep young drivers safe during their first years of driving. Some of the Illinois permit restrictions include a cell phone ban, mandatory seat belts for all passengers under age 19 and a nighttime driving restriction.
In order to ensure that your you have the knowledge required for operating a vehicle and that you are physically fit to drive, the Illinois Secretary of State requires you to undergo a number of testing procedures before you can be issued with an Illinois driver's permit.
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.
Learners Permit Test
Taking an Illinois permit test is an absolute must for everyone who has never been licensed before and wishes to apply for an Illinois drivers license. The learners permit test covers the state driving rules, road signs and pavement markings. The permit test consist of multiple choice and true/false questions.
All permit test questions are based on the materials put forth the the official Illinois SOS permit handbook and you should make it your primary study guide while preparing for the permit test. Once done with the book, you may also take a few Illinois practice permit tests to see how well you can do on the real thing.
When you are applying for an Illinois SOS drivers permit, SOS representatives need to make sure that you are really the one you are saying you are, so you will have to provide certain paperwork to prove it. Please be prepared to provide the following things when you show up at the SOS office:
- proof of name
- proof of birth date
- proof of Illinois residency
- Social Security card
- proof of enrollment in a drivers education program and a parental consent form (if you are under 18 years of age)
If you have doubts whether the documents you have pass as acceptable means of identification, you may check the drivers permit handbook or call the SOS with your questions.
Applying for a Learners Permit - Under 18 Years of Age
You can apply for an Illinois learners permit if you are at least 15 years of age. Please note that prior to visiting one of the SOS offices and submitting your permit application, you must enroll in a state-approved Illinois drivers education program.
If you have your proof of enrollment in a driver's education program and you learned the state driving rules and road signs, visit one of the SOS permit testing stations, file your application for a drivers permit. If your paperwork checks out and you pass both the vision exam and the permit test, you are issued with an Illinois learners permit.
Applying for a Learners Permit - 18 Years of Age and Older
If you are at least 18 years of age, the process of applying for an Illinois learners permit for you is very similar to that followed by younger drivers, the only real difference is that you do not need to sign up for a drivers education course. Study the permit handbook, take a few practice permit tests, then visit an SOS office, submit your paperwork and take the vision exam and the permit test. Once done, you receive an Illinois driver's permit.
Operating Under a Permit
One thing people tend to forget is that a learners permit does not grant you full driving privileges, it is not the same as a full Illinois drivers license. The main purpose of the permit is to allow you to gain some driving skills before you take an Illinois driving test, hence the permit comes with numerous restrictions. Illinois permit restrictions are age dependent due to the fact that teenagers must also observe all graduated license restrictions on top of the permit restrictions that apply to adult drivers, however there is one limitation that applies to drivers permit holders of all ages - you are not allowed to drive alone. Whenever you are behind the wheel, you must have a licensed driver at least 21 years of age with at least one year of driving experience accompany you.
As you can see, applying for an Illinois learners permit is easy when you know what you're doing. One thing we can advise is study the driving rules as much as possible before you go in to apply for a learners permit and take the permit test as almost half of the permit applicants fail the test the first time they take it.