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Frequently Asked Questions - Illinois Teen Driver

The State of Illinois has the following restrictions for permit holders:

24-Month Instruction Permit
• You may only drive when supervised by a parent or legal guardian who is 21 years or older and has had a valid driver’s license for more than one year.

• For the first 12 month or until reaching age 18, only one passenger under 20 is allowed in the vehicle unless they are a sibling, stepsibling, child or stepchild of the driver. After that the number of passengers is limited to one in the front seat and to the number of safety belts in the back seat.

• Everyone under the age of 19 must wear a seat belt at all times.

• You are not allowed to drive from Sunday to Thursday during the hours of 10 pm and 6 am and Friday and Saturday from 11 pm to 6 am (local curfews may be different).

• You must not acquire any driving convictions during the nine-month permit period.

12-Month Instruction Permit
• You may only drive when supervised by an adult who has an equal or greater driver’s license classification and has had a valid license for more than one year.

All drivers under 19 are prohibited from using a wireless device or cell phone while driving except in an emergency to contact law enforcement, emergency services agency or healthcare provider.

The Illinois Graduated Driver Licensing Programs allows teens to gain experience while being supervised by their parents. During the instruction permit phase, you are required to spend at least 50 hours driving, including 10 hours at night with your parent, legal guardian or a responsible adult who is 21 years old with a valid driver’s license.

If you are 16 or 17 years old, you can obtain an Illinois driver’s license if you meet the following requirements:

• Successfully complete a state-approved driver education course.
• Complete 50 hours of practice driving, including 10 hours at night.
• Pass the written knowledge test, the vision screening exam and the driving exam.
• Have your parent or legal guardian sign the Consent for Minor to Drive form of bring a signed affidavit.

You must drive with an instruction permit for a minimum of nine months before applying for an Illinois driver’s license.

Before applying for an instruction permit, you need to study the Illinois Rules of the Road Driver’s Manual, which covers the following topics:

• Illinois driver’s license
• Driver’s license exams
• Drivers under age 21
• Traffic laws
• Sharing the road
• Driving under the influence
• Traffic crashes
• Driver’s license revocation, suspension, denial and cancellation
• Roadway signs
• Traffic signals and pavement markings
• Safe driving tips
• Equipment for safe driving
• Owning a vehicle

You should take practice exams before going to a driver services facility.

When you apply for an instructional permit or driver’s license at an Illinois VSD office, you will be asked to provide the following documents:

• Proof of written signature
• Proof of identity
• Proof of date of birth
• Social Security number
• Proof of residence
• Submit 50-hour driving log with signature
• Submit Cooperative Driver Testing Certificate (if applicable)

Your parent or legal guardian must sign a consent form or you must submit an affidavit of their consent. Applicants between 15 and 17 will need to submit proof that they are enrolled in a driver’s education course.

All drivers in Illinois under the age of 21 will have their license suspended for two moving violation convictions within a 24-month period. When the Illinois Secretary of State receives information that a driver under 21 has been convicted of a first moving violation, they will send out a warning letter. Upon a second violation and conviction, the Secretary of State will suspend the driver’s license. A Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) may be issued to allow the person to drive for work-related or educational purposes, attend drug treatment or receive medical care.

The Cooperative Driver Testing Program (CDTP) requires students to do the following before a CDTP certificate will be issued:

• You must complete a minimum of 30 hours of classroom study.
• You must complete a minimum of 6 hours behind-the-wheel training.
• You must receive a combined grade of A or B.
• You must receive approval from a parent or legal guardian.

All instructor-administered tests are approved and regulated by the Office of the Secretary of State.

What tests must I pass?
The Illinois Vehicle Services Department (VSD) requires applicants to pass the following tests when applying for an instructional permit or driver’s license:

Written Knowledge Test
• The written test requires you to identify traffic signs by shape, symbol or color, identify signals and pavement markings and be knowledgeable about the traffic laws, safety rules, accident prevention and vehicle equipment.

Vision Screening Exam
• You must be able to pass a vision-screening test with a minimum visual acuity of 20/40 with or without corrective lenses. Drivers who have an acuity between 20/41 and 20/70 can only drive during daylight. You must have at least 140-degree peripheral vision with or without corrective lenses. If you wear glasses or contacts, a restriction will be placed on your license. In lieu of taking the vision screening exam, you may submit a Vision Specialist Report completed by a licensed ophthalmologist, optometrist or physician dated within six months of your application.

Driving Exam
• Any new driver in Illinois may be required to take a driving exam. You will be graded on your ability to perform the following:

1. Start the vehicle and check the vehicle controls, including the mirrors and parking brake.
2. Back the vehicle approximately 50 feet slowly in a straight and smooth manner while turning your head to the right to watch out the rear window.
3. Turn-about using an alley on the left side of the street. Turn left signal on before turning into the alley. Back the car out of the alley and stay on your side of the street.
4. Park uphill on the side of the road.
5. Start uphill from a parked position.
6. Park downhill on the side of the road.
7. Start downhill from a parked position.
8. Control your vehicle by obeying all traffic signs and lane markings.

In the State of Illinois you are eligible to obtain an Instruction Permit if you meet the following requirements:

24-Month Instruction Permit
• You must be between the ages of 15 and 17 years old.
• You must be enrolled in an approved driver’s education course.
• You have never been licensed to operate a motor vehicle.
• You are a new resident who has been licensed in another state, but your license has been expired for more than six months.
• You must have the consent of your parent or legal guardian.

12-Month Instruction Permit
• You are at least 17 years and 3 months old.
• You can pass the knowledge and vision test.

If you meet all of the above requirements, you will be issued an instruction permit after paying the $20 fee.

To receive an Illinois instruction permit, driver’s license or identification card, you must provide acceptable forms of identification to prove your legal name, date of birth, Social Security number, signature and residency from the following groups:

Group A—Written Signature
• Canceled check (less than 90 days old)
• Cooperative Driver Testing Program Certification Form
• Legal court order
• Major credit card (American Express, Discover, Diner’s Club, Master Card or Visa)
• Driver Education Certificate
• Driver’s license issued by the government
• Government identification card
• Illinois driver’s license (must be current)
• Illinois identification card (must be current)
• Medicare card (suffix A, J, H, M or T)
• Mortgage loan documents
• Out-of-state driver’s license or identification card (must be current)
• Valid United States or foreign passport
• Social Security card
• Alien Registration card (Form I-551)
• Employment Authorization Card (Form I-766)
• Valid passport with I-94 arrival and departure record
• United States military driver’s license or identification card

Group B—Date of Birth
• Adoption records
• Birth certificate
• Court order showing change of birth date
• Official grade or high school transcript
• Illinois driver’s license (must be current)
• Illinois identification card (must be current)
• Military service record (DD214)
• Certificate of Naturalization
• Valid passport with complete date of birth
• Social Security Award Letter (primary beneficiary only)
• Alien Registration card (Form I-551)
• Refugee Travel document (Form I-766)
• Employment Authorization Card (Form I-797 Notice of Action Status)
• Valid passport with I-94 arrival and departure record
• United States military driver’s license or identification card
• United States Passport Card (with complete date of birth)
• United States Visa

Group B documents must contain your full name and complete date of birth. It must be possible to contact the issuing agency to confirm authenticity of the document. Birth certificates must be an original or certified copy issued by the Board of Health or Bureau of Vital Statistics within the United States or by the U.S. State Department, U.S. territory of Canada. Foreign passports and foreign birth certificates may be accepted as proof if another item in Group B is presented.

Group C—Social Security Number
• Record of Illinois driver’s license
• Record of Illinois identification card
• Military service DD214 document
• Social Security Award Letter (only the primary beneficiary)
• Social Security card issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA)
• United States military driver’s license or identification card

Group C documents must contain your name and full Social Security number. If you submit an Illinois driver’s license or identification record, the Social Security number must have been previously verified with the SSA.

Group D—Proof of Residency
• Legal affidavit of Certificate of Residency
• Credit report issued by Equifax, Experian or TransUnion (must be dated within 12 months of the application)
• Deed, title, mortgage, lease or a rental agreement
• Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy
• Medical claim or statement of benefits issued by a private insurance company or public government agency (must be dated within 90 days of the application)
• Official mail received from a county, city, state or federal government agency (must include both the first and last name of applicant with current address). Acceptable documents are:
o Homestead exemption receipt
o Illinois FOID Card
o Jury duty notice (issued with 90 days of application)
o Selective Service Card
o Social Security annual statement
o Social Security disability insurance statement
o Supplemental Security Income Benefits statement
o Voter Registration Card

• Retirement or pension statement
• Phone book (must be produced by a phone book publisher)
• Official tuition invoice from college or university (dated within 12 months prior to license application)
• Vehicle registration card
• Utility bill (issued within 90 days of license application)

Group D documents must contain your full name and residential address. It is acceptable to submit a “Homeless Status Certification” to meet the Group D requirements.