Illinois Learner's Permit

Illinois Instruction Permit: A Complete Guide

by Zutobi · Updated Sep 13, 2021

If you have turned 15, the first step to your license starts with the Illinois instruction permit, also known as a learner’s permit. The process may seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we’ll go through all the details so you know exactly what to expect. 

Permit Requirements

  • You must be enrolled or recently graduated from a state-approved Driver’s education course.
  • A parent or guardian must sign consent for you to drive and accept financial responsibility.
  • You must submit proof of identity, residency, and authorized presence. You can find a list of state-approved documents here.
  • You must pass the written knowledge test.

How to Get Your Illinois Instruction Permit

To obtain a permit, you must complete the following steps on top of your basic eligibility requirements listed above:

  1. You must be currently enrolled in or within thirty days of graduating an approved Driver’s Education course. These courses consist of 30 hours of classroom instruction and 6 hours of driving instruction.
  2. Visit your local Secretary of State facility. Depending on your location, an appointment may be required to complete your application.
  3. Present proof of identity, residency, Social Security number, and lawful presence in the United States. Examples of approved documents include:
    • Certified Birth Certificate
    • Social Security Card
    • Medicare card
    • School transcripts
    • Bank statements
    • A cell phone bill in your name for residency
  4. Take a vision exam. You need a minimum score of 20/40 with or without corrective lenses. If you need corrective lenses to pass the test, your permit will indicate that you are required to wear them while driving. A score of 20/40 or greater is limited to daytime driving only. You must also demonstrate a peripheral vision of 140 degrees.
  5. Take a written exam. This consists of identifying signs, signals, multiple-choice questions about materials covered in the Illinois Rules of the Road Handbook. It consists of 35 questions, and you will have to get 28 correct to pass. You can prepare using our online practice tests so you know that you come fully prepared to your exam!
  6. Pay the required fee to receive your permit.

Learner’s Permit Restrictions

You will have to hold your permit for at least nine months before you can apply for a driver’s license.

Once you have your permit, you’ll have limited freedom to drive. Make sure to always have your permit and a parent, guardian, or another driving supervisor with you – this person must be at least 21, have a valid driver’s license, and have at least one year of driving experience to be a driving supervisor.

Before you can progress, you also need to log at least 50 hours of driving practice, 10 of which must be at night. 

In general, you will not be allowed to drive:

  • between 10 PM and 6 AM (Sunday-Thursday)
  • between 11 PM and 6 AM (Friday-Saturday) 

Please note that until you are 19, you are prohibited from using all cell phones or texting devices, even with hands-free technology.

That’s It!

That’s everything you need to know about getting your instruction permit in the state of Illinois. If you need any help studying for your upcoming knowledge or driving exams, then Zutobi is the perfect study resource with a summarized handbook, Illinois practice tests, and a gamified learning experience.

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