Commercial Driver's License FAQs Driver Services
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 CDL. You will be required to successfully pass the vision screening and all applicable written/knowledge tests and the skills/drive testing. You will also be required to pay the appropriate CDL transfer fee, self-certify your CDL medical status (provide a valid medical certificate-if applicable) and provide Proof of Legal Presence. You must provide Acceptable Identification to verify your full name, date of birth, social security number, Illinois residency and your written signature.
What is required to renew a CDL?
A vision screening and the appropriate CDL renewal fee are required at every renewal. Written testing may also be required depending on your past driving history. If your CDL has a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (H) or a combined Tank/Hazardous Materials Endorsement (X) you will be required to successfully complete a new TSA security threat assessment and pass the Hazardous Materials Endorsement (H) test each time you renew your CDL. If you will be 75 years of age and older when your CDL expires you will be required to successfully pass the skills/drive testing, in addition to any written testing that may be required. You must schedule a CDL appointment for the skills/drive testing and it must be conducted at a full service CDL facility in the proper class, representative vehicle(s) to maintain your current CDL class and endorsements.
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 grade 12 or below on behalf of a school or school bus company for any school sponsored activities. See the Charter Bus Endorsement (C) web page for further information or please contact the Safe Ride section at 217-782-7674.
How long is an IDOT Medical Certificate good for?
The duration of a driver's medical certificate can vary and depends on the medical condition of the driver. The maximum duration is two years. The Office of the Secretary of State does not issue DOT medical certificates. For interstate driver medical information consult the FMCSA medical program or for intrastate driver medical information contact the Illinois Department of Transportation at (217) 785-1181.
What is required for me to comply with the CDL medical self-certification program?
All CDL holders or Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP) applicants obtaining, renewing or upgrading a CDL or CLP must self-certify which medical category of driver they are or intend to be. The (4) four categories are:
- Non-excepted interstate driver (NI)
- Excepted interstate driver (EI)
- Non-excepted intrastate driver (NA)
- Excepted intrastate driver (EA)
If you choose option #1, then your current DOT medical certificate must be provided to the facility employees prior to further processing. All pertinent medical information which we need from your medical certificate will be loaded onto your your driving record. You must keep your medical certificate current with our office to maintain the NI medical status.
If you choose 2, 3, or 4 you will not be required to provide your medical certificate during your facility visit but that does not mean you are not required to possess a medical certificate to drive a commercial motor vehicle. If you are unsure which category to choose, check with your employer to receive assistance to determine your medical category.
This is a self certification of your medical driving status and your self-certification category is based solely on where you drive and what you transport. The Secretary of State Facility employees do not have the appropriate information to assist you in selecting your medical certification category.
Is there a waiting period when I fail any portion of the CDL tests?
- If you fail any CDL test three times, you must wait 30 days before you are eligible to re-take that test and will be required to pay the appropriate fee to conduct the new testing.
- If you fail any CDL test six times, you must wait 90 days before you are eligible to re-take that test and will be required to pay the appropriate fee to conduct the new testing.
- If you fail any CDL test nine times, you must wait one year before you are eligible to re-take that test and will be required to pay the appropriate fee to conduct the new testing.
- If an individual fails the road/drive test six times, before being allowed to take the road test a sevnth 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
How many skills exercises will I be required to perform and what are they?
Three exercises are required at this time. They are Straight Line backing, Offset backing and Parallel parking.
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 skills/drive testing. Driver's conducting their CDL skills/drive testing in an automatic vehicle will receive an automatic transmission restriction (E) which will apply anytime they are driving a commercial motor vehicle.
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?
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.)
- Second division vehicles (i.e., trucks) for a gross weight of more than 8,000 pounds;
- Semitrailers or trailers having a gross weight of more than 5,000 pounds;
- Any second division vehicle that pulls or draws a trailer, semitrailer or pole trailer having a gross weight or registered gross weight of more than 8,000 pounds;
- School buses;
- Religious organization buses;
- Senior citizen transport buses;
- Vehicles designed to transport more than 10 persons, including the driver (i.e., motor buses, including interstate buses);
- Tow trucks;
- Medical transport vehicles;
- Salvaged vehicles;
- Limousines; and
- Contract carriers transporting employees in the course of their employment in a vehicle designed to carry 15 or fewer passengers. (Contract carriers licensed in another state provided the state of registration's testing requirements are less stringent than Illinois' are also included.)
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.
In most cases, a Vehicle Safety Inspection is required on all vehicles when conducting the skills/drive testing.
Can I drive the vehicle to a facility alone when holding only a CLP?
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 a CLP 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 Illinois, become a resident of another 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 Illinois license. This process includes paying all the applicable fees and passing all written and skills/drive testing.
Where can I get a copy of the CDL Study Guide?
The CDL Study Guide is available in the Publications section or at any of our Secretary of State facilities at no charge. The CDL Study Guide, which is only printed in English, is designed to provide you with all the information you will need to obtain a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP) or a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). If you are unable to visit a Secretary of State Facility or download the PDF version, you may submit a written request to Driver Services Department, Driver Analysis Division, 2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy., Springfield, Illinois 62723 or by using the online contact form to provide us with your contact information and we will send you a copy.
How old must I be to obtain an Illinois CDL?
You must be 18 years-old to obtain an Illinois CLP or CDL. This CPL/CDL is good for driving intrastate only. You must be 21 to drive interstate or to transport passengers.