How to Get a Driver's License in Chicago

When you reach the age of 15 and live in Chicago, you can begin the process of getting your Instruction Permit, which is the first step towards getting your driver's license. This guide will give you the step-by-step process you need to follow, what you need to have on hand, and where you need to go to get your Chicago driver's license. 

How to Get Your First Driver's License in Chicago

1. Enroll in an Approved Driver's Education Class

The first thing you must do in order to start the Instruction Permit process is to enroll in a driver's education class that is approved by the Illinois Secretary of State. You must take this class if you are between the ages of 15 and 17, and it has to start within 30 days of applying for your permit. You can even take an online class from Aceable as your qualifying class. 

2. Gather Your Documents

In order to apply for your permit, you need enough documents to verify your identity along with aformof parental consent. The documents must cover the following groups along with examples of each:

Group A - Written Signature

  • Canceled check

  • Credit card

  • Passport

Group B - Date of Birth

  • Birth Certificate

  • School transcripts

  • Passport

Group C - Social Security Number

  • Paystub

  • Social Security card

  • W-2

Group D - Residency

  • Bank Statement

  • Official government mail

  • Utility bill

One document may satisfy multiple groups. You just need as many documents as it takes to satisfy all four groups.

3. Apply for Your Permit at a Chicago Facility

Go to one of the two Secretary of State Facilitylocations in downtown Chicago to apply for your permit in person. They are located at:

  • 17 N. State St., Ste. 1000, Chicago, IL 60602

  • 100 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL 60601

There are an additional 15 facilities located in the suburbs within 30 miles of downtown where you can also apply. You must pay a $20 fee when applying. Once you have applied, you have to pass a 35-question written exam and a vision screening. If you pass all of your exams, you are awarded your Instructional Permit.

4. Practice Driving

Now that you have your Instructional Permit, you need tologat least 50 hours behind the wheel with either your driving instructor or an adult over the age of 21. Ten of the 50 hours must be at night. You have a minimum of nine months and no more than two years before you can apply for your Initial license, so practice as much as you can.

5. Apply for your Initial License in Chicago

Once you hit your minimum driving hours, pass your driver's education class, and wait at least nine months, you can head back to one of the Secretary of State Facilities. Your parent or legal guardian must accompany you to the office to certify that you drove for at least 50 hours and that you have their consent to get your license. You must bring all of your forms of identification again as well and pay the required fee.

Once you turn in all of your documents, you need to take another vision test and a driving exam. The road test can only be taken at one of the 16 appointment facilities. A few of these locations include:

  • 5401 N. Elston Ave., Chicago, IL 60630

  • 9901 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Chicago, IL 60628

  • 5301 W. Lexington St. Chicago, IL 60644

If you pass your tests, you will receive your initial license, which comes with its own rules. You can't drive between the hours of 10 p.m. to  6 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. You can only have one passenger under the age of 20 unless it is a sibling or your child. 

Once you turn 18, your initial license will turn into a full license, and you will be free of any age-related restrictions. 

Hit the Road in Chicago with Your Illinois License

This guide will have you prepared from the first time you make a visit to the Secretary of State office all the way to getting your full license. Before you start your journey to get your license, enroll in an Aceable driver's ed course. This class will qualify you to get your initial permit and learn driving law.

Skip The Classroom and Take Your Drivers Ed Course Online with Aceable!

Find Your Course Now