You must have a valid driver’s license to drive anywhere in Illinois. If you’re new to the state or new to driving, it’s important to know how to get this essential piece of identification. Once you have your license, you must also obtain the appropriate car insurance to drive in the state.  

If you’ve just moved to Illinois, it’s handy to know that American Auto Insurance provides local residents with the cheapest and most reliable coverage. We offer everything from state-required liability insurance to comprehensive coverage to SR22 certificates.

How To Get Your First Driver’s License in Illinois

A person driving a Volkswagen down a snowy road in Illinois.

person driving Volkswagen vehicle by Jaromír Kavan is licensed with Unsplash License

If you’re getting your driver’s license for the first time, you must visit a driver services facility and take both the written and driving exams. The written exam covers traffic sign identification, traffic signals, pavement markings, traffic laws, crash prevention, safety rules, and basic vehicle equipment information. The driving test requires that you complete several basic driving tasks, including:

  • Checking and adjusting mirrors, safety belts, parking brakes, and other equipment.
  • Parking uphill and downhill on the side of the road.
  • Starting the vehicle uphill from a parked position.
  • Starting the vehicle downhill from a parked position.
  • Completing a turnabout using the left side of the road.
  • Backing up at a slow speed for about 50 feet.
  • Obeying traffic signs.
  • Using turn signals.
  • Obeying lane markings and rights of way.
  • Operating the vehicle’s control devices.

After you pass the written and driving exams, you must pass a vision screening to get your driver’s license. If you’re under 18, you must provide your instruction permit, a 50-hour signed driving log, and proof of identification. You may also need to provide a Consent for Minor to Drive form and a Cooperative Driver Testing Program certificate.

If you’re over 18, you’ll need proof of identity, such as a U.S. birth certificate or passport. You must also provide evidence of your Social Security number, such as your Social Security card, W-2, or pay stub.

Getting a New Driver’s License When You Move to Illinois

As a new resident of Illinois, you have 90 days before you must obtain a new driver’s license in the state. During this period, you can legally use a current driver’s license issued by your home state or country. If you intend to become a legal resident of Illinois, you must get a new driver’s license issued by the state before your 90-day grace period is up.

To get an Illinois driver’s license, you must visit a driver services facility to:

  • Surrender your out-of-state driver’s license.
  • Take a vision screening.
  • Take a written exam.
  • Provide proof of residency.

Licensed drivers don’t typically need to take a driving exam. However, any driver aged 79 years or older will need to take one.  

Though you have 90 days to get your driver’s license in Illinois, you have only 30 days to transfer your vehicle registration to Illinois after you legally take up residence in the state. To streamline this visit, you should handle your driver’s license and car registration at the same time.

How To Change Information on Your Illinois Driver’s License

If your name or address changes, you have 10 days to update your Illinois driver’s license. You must either write to the driver services department (Central Services, 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, Illinois, 62723) or visit a driver services facility to notify the state of the change. You’re not obligated to update your driver’s license at that time if you provide the secretary of state with the appropriate notice. If you want an updated license, you must visit a driver services facility in person and pay a $5 fee for your new license.

If your name has changed, you must provide a certified marriage certificate or court-certified name change order. You must have the original copy of the document.

If you have a new address, you must provide proof of residency, such as a bank statement, homeowners insurance policy, pay stub, medical statement, or other official document showing your address. Photocopies are not acceptable.

Renewing Your Driver’s License in Illinois

If you’re under 21, your Illinois driver’s license will expire three months after your 21st birthday. All other drivers must renew their licenses every four years. Illinois driver’s licenses expire on your birthday, so you should plan accordingly. Drivers aged 81 through 86 must renew their licenses every two years, and drivers aged 87 and older must renew their licenses yearly.

Drivers with traffic convictions must retake the written driving exam every eight years. Drivers without traffic convictions are exempt from this part of the process. The driving exam is required for every driver over the age of 79 who’s renewing their Illinois license.

Insurance Requirements for Illinois Drivers

You must provide proof of liability insurance if you’re taking the driving exam for your Illinois license. You don’t need proof of insurance to get your Illinois driver’s license. However, you need liability insurance to operate a vehicle legally in the state. All drivers are required to maintain a minimum of:

  • $20,000 liability coverage for damage to another person’s property.
  • $25,000 of liability coverage for the death or injury of a single person.
  • $50,000 liability insurance for the death or injury of more than one person in an accident.

By law, you must keep your insurance card in your vehicle at all times and show it to any law enforcement officer who requests it.

Setting Up Affordable Car Insurance in Illinois

If you’re looking for affordable car insurance in Illinois, contact American Auto Insurance today. We can answer all your questions, help you find the right plan, and provide a fast quote. Call now to get started.


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