Skip Navigation



What are the requirements to obtain an Illinois CDL when I'm coming from another state and already have a CDL?
You must surrender your out-of-state commercial drivers license. You will be required to successfully pass all tests. These tests include vision, written and road exams. Proper identification must be presented so we can verify your full name, date of birth, social security number, Illinois residency and your written signature. Find the Documents you'll need to apply.

What is required to renew a CDL?
A vision test is required at every renewal. A written test is required every other renewal. However, if you have a clean driving record (no tickets, accidents, suspension, etc.), the written test will be waived. The hazardous materials endorsement written test must be successfully completed each time you renew your CDL. A road test is only required for individuals 75 years of age and older.

Can a person who has had a suspension, cancellation, revocation or disqualification on his or her driving record get a CDL?
If an individual is not currently suspended, cancelled, revoked or disqualified in this or any other state, he or she may apply for a license.

Who needs a Charter Bus endorsement?
Any person who drives a bus chartered for the sole purpose of transporting students regularly enrolled in grade 12 or below to or from interscholastic athletic or interscholastic or school sponsored activities. For further information please contact the Safe Ride section at 217-782-7674.

How long is an IDOT Medical Card good for?
The Office of the Secretary of State does not issue Medical Cards or administer that program. For further information regarding an IDOT Medical Card, please contact the Illinois Department of Transportation at (217) 785-1181.

Effective January 30th 2012 any individual applying for a renewal, corrected, duplicate or upgrading to a Commercial Drivers license (CDL) that individual must certify as which category of driver you are or intend to be. The (4) four choices are:

  1. Non-excepted interstate driver (NI)
  2. Excepted interstate driver (EI)
  3. Non-excepted intrastate driver (NA)
  4. Excepted intrastate driver (EA)

If you choose #1 option then your current DOT Medical Card must be given to the facility employees prior to be allowed to continue. All pertinent medical information which we need from your medical card will be loaded onto your driver's file.

If you choose any other numbered option the individual will be allowed to be processed. If you are unsure please check with your employer or prospective employer as to which option you should choose.

The employees of the office of the Illinois Secretary of State cannot nor will not have this information as to which category you intend to drive in.

Is there a waiting period when I fail any portion of the CDL tests?
If you fail a test (written or skills) three times, you must wait 30 days before you are eligible to re-take that test.
If you fail a test (written or skills) six times, you must wait 90 days before you are eligible to re-take that test.
If you fail a test (written or skills) nine times, you must wait one year before you are eligible to re-take that test.
If an individual fails the road test six times, before being allowed to take the road test a seventh time the applicant is required to submit a medical report from a medical specialist indicating he/she is mentally and physically able to safely operate a motor vehicle

Do I have to do a serpentine and parallel-parking maneuver?

Do I need to use my clutch when I take my road test?
Yes, if your vehicle is equipped with a clutch, you are required to demonstrate you can safely and properly use the clutch.

Can I use an automatic transmission truck for my test?
Yes, an automatic transmission vehicle may be used for the drive test.

Is a vehicle required to have a seat and seat belt for the examiner when I'm not allowed to have riders?
Yes, a seat is required for the examiner. The seat must be safely bolted to the interior floor of the cab. A seat belt is required for both the examiner and the applicant.

Can I take my performance tests in a truck that has a cracked windshield?
No. A vehicle is required to pass a safety inspection and a cracked windshield poses a safety risk.

Where can I take a CDL test and what are the hours?
Facility Finder

What is the maximum vehicle width for Illinois roadways?
Contact the Illinois Department of Transportation at (217) 782-6271.

Do I need a safety inspection sticker on my vehicle?
Interstate carriers of property that display a US DOT number are required to be inspected annually. Interstate carriers can choose Illinois Official Testing Stations to meet the annual inspection requirement but they are not required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to do so. Interstate carriers of passengers, registered in Illinois, are subject to both the interstate (annual) inspection as well as the intrastate (semi-annual inspection).

Intrastate carriers of both property and passengers (no US DOT number) are required to be inspected every six months at an Illinois Official Testing Station.

Chapter 13 of the Illinois Vehicle Code requires the following vehicles registered in Illinois be inspected every six months and obtain a Certificate of Safety (displayed in the vehicle's windshield, when applicable). (School buses are required to be inspected every six months or 10,000 miles, whichever occurs first.)

The Illinois Department of Transportation's Division of Traffic Safety establishes inspection procedures and regulates the Official Testing Stations.For more information, call 217-785-1181.

Can I drive the vehicle to a facility alone when applying for a CDL?
No, Illinois State law requires that a licensed driver, holding the properly classified license with appropriate endorsements, must operate the vehicle at all times. Illinois State law also requires that a person operating a vehicle with an instruction permit must be accompanied by a licensed driver, holding the properly classified license with appropriate endorsements, at all times.

What are log book requirements?
The Office of the Secretary of State does not administer or enforce the federal regulation requiring the use of log books. For further information, please contact the Illinois Department of Transportation at (217) 785-1181.

When I returned from attending a truck driving school located out-of-state, I was required to apply for a new license and pay the $60.00 fee. Why?
When you leave the state and surrender your license or start the process to apply for an out-of-state license, your Illinois license become invalid. Once you return to this state, you must apply for a new license and pay all the applicable fees. This includes passing all written and road exams.

Where can I get a copy of the CDL Study Guide?
The Commercial Driver's License Study Guide is available online in our Publications section. The document is large, approximately 200 pages. Any of our Driver Services facilities located throughout the state have copies you may obtain at no charge. This publication, which is only printed in English, is designed to provide you with all the information you will need to obtain a commercial driver's license. If you are unable to visit our facilities or retrieve the PDF version, you may submit a written request to 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, Illinois 62723 or email our office (link to Contact Page) and provide us with your mailing address so we may send you a copy.

How old must I be to obtain an Illinois CDL?
In the state of Illinois you must be 18 years-old to obtain an Illinois CDL. This CDL is good for driving within the state of Illinois limits only. You must be 21 to drive across state lines.