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How to Transfer Your Out-of-State Driver’s License to Illinois: A Complete Guide

Zutobi
by Zutobi · Updated Sep 10, 2021

Moving to Illinois can be an exciting time for you and your family. The Prairie State has a ton of opportunities for adults looking to connect with like minded individuals, find a new career, and explore all the nature available in the area.

Don’t get ahead of yourself though! First, you’ll have to complete a few requirements before you’ll be able to drive freely within the state. This guide will show you everything you need to know about transferring your out-of-state driver’s license to Illinois as a new resident.  

When Do You Need to Transfer Your Driver’s License to Illinois? 

You may use the valid driver’s license of your home state for 90 days. Afterward, you’ll be required to obtain a new Illinois license or identification card if you intend on becoming a resident. If you do not plan on moving to the state permanently, you do not need to transfer your license. 

How to Transfer an Out-of-State Driver’s License to Illinois

1- Visit a Illinois SOS Location

You’ll first need to apply in person at your local DMV or Secretary of State location. Any office in the state is available to you, however, not all facilities offer the same services. To be safe it is best to look up your chosen site before heading there for the first time.

2 – Documents You Need to Bring

You will need certain documents to complete your Illinois driver’s license transfer. You will be required to present these credentials. Be sure to gather:

  1. Proof of identity
  2. Proof of birth date
  3. Proof of social security number
  4. Proof of Illinois residency
  5. Written signature
  6. Relevant license transfer fees

3 – Pass the Vision Test

Vision screening is vital in order to ensure drivers have suitable eyesight to operate a motor vehicle safely. The minimum requirement in Illinois is 20/40 or better. You can have a licensed optometrist, ophthalmologist, or physician complete this form, or have a vision exam completed at the SOS. 

4 – Pass Written Test 

The Illinois written test consists of 35 multiple choice questions that covers important traffic laws and road signs throughout the state. You must score an 80% or higher to pass, meaning you can’t miss more than 7 questions. 

Remembering the rules of the road can be difficult, especially since there are many small differences compared to other states. We recommend that you take a refresher course to prepare for the written test, and to get up-to-date with the driving laws of Illinois. We have a great refresher course that will help you pass your written test with flying colors. 

5 – Receive Your Temporary License

After completing the above tasks, you’ll be given a temporary license. Your permanent license card will arrive in the mail within a few weeks. You can use your temporary license to prove identity or birthdate when necessary. 

What If You’re from Another Country?

If you plan on becoming a new resident, you will need to transfer your driver’s license to Illinois before the 90 day grace period is over. The Illinois SOS does not recognize the international driver’s license and it is not needed for new residents of the state that are foreign.

What Happens If You Don’t Transfer in Time?

A 90 day transition period is offered to new residents of the state of Illinois. All new residents are expected to have handled all their necessary affairs in their previous state and should be completely settled in their new home. A police officer may issue you an extra citation for not complying with state mandates. 

That’s It!

As you can see, the process of transferring your driver’s license to Illinois is fairly straightforward if you know what to expect. It will only require one visit to the SOS, a bit of documentation, a knowledge test, as well as about an hour of your time. If you need any help studying for your upcoming exam, then you’ve come to the right place.

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