Illinois CDL Requirements
Illinois CDL Classes
In the state of Illinois you must be at least 18 years old to operate a commercial motor vehicle within state lines (intrastate) and at least 21 years of age to drive a commercial motor vehicle outside state lines (interstate). You need an Illinois CDL in order to operate either commercial or non-commercial motor vehicles that fall into the following categories:
Any combination of vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided that the gross vehicle weight rating of the towed vehicle is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
Any single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 26,001 or more pounds, as well as any vehicle towing another vehicle that does not exceed a weight of 10,000 pounds.
Any vehicle or combination of vehicles that does not meet the criteria of either Class A or Class B, but is designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or is used in transporting materials classified as hazardous in the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act. Each applicant must also have a passenger or hazardous materials endorsement in order to obtain a Class C commercial driver’s license.
Applying for an Illinois Commercial Learner’s Permit
You must already possess an Illinois commercial learner’s permit (CLP) before you can take the CDL skills test. Before applying for an Illinois commercial learner’s permit, you must already possess a valid Illinois Class D driver’s license. You will be issued an Illinois commercial driver’s license (CDL) when you pass both the written general knowledge test and the CDL Skills Test. All written tests are administered in English only.
In order to obtain an Illinois commercial learner’s permit, you must:
- Provide a valid Illinois Class D driver’s license.
- Prove that you are at least 18 years of age for intrastate commercial driving (within the state of Illinois only).
- Prove that you are at least 21 years of age for interstate driving (outside the state of Illinois)
- Provide original documented proof of your Social Security number.
- Provide original documented proof of your legal U.S. status.
- Provide proof of your current Illinois residency that shows your name and current address.
- Provide your current Medical Examiner’s Certificate (cannot be more than 2 years old).
- Pass the CDL general knowledge written test.
- Pay any and all applicable fees.
The CDL Knowledge Tests
The CDL knowledge tests are administered at any of the 47 Illinois CDL Facilities. All CDL written knowledge tests are administered in English only in either written or oral form. Applicants who wish to take the oral exam must request an oral CDL computerized test at a facility equipped with automated written testing equipment. Please contact the facility manager in advance.
All commercial driver’s license applicants must pass the general knowledge test in order to be eligible to receive a CDL. Applicants must also take the knowledge tests whenever they add a class of vehicle to their CDL, add special endorsements to their CDL, or to remove an air brakes restriction that has been placed on their CDL.
The CDL general knowledge test consists of 50 questions in multiple choice form. In order to receive a passing score, each applicant is required to answer at least 80% of the questions correctly in the time allotted for that test. All knowledge tests require a score of at least 80% to pass.
Any applicant that exceeds the time limit or incorrectly answers too many questions on the general knowledge test will fail the test. Any applicant that uses any kind of test aid during the test will automatically fail the test. Anyone caught talking to another person during the test will automatically fail the test. Use of cell phones and camera devices is prohibited in the testing area.
If you fail any CDL exam (s) three times, you will be required to wait 30 days from the date of the exam before you can retest. Three additional failures (six total failures) of the same exam(s) will result in a 90 day waiting period before you can retest. Three additional failures on top of the first six (nine total failures) of the same exam(s) after the 90 day waiting period, will result in a one year waiting period.
All applicants should arrive at the CDL Facilities at least one hour prior to closing when taking the knowledge tests. Most CDL Facilities are busier during the afternoon hours so, applicants should keep this in mind when planning their test time.
Once you successfully pass the required knowledge tests, the Illinois Secretary of State Driver Services Department will issue you a commercial learner’s permit so that you can practice operating a commercial motor vehicle. The commercial learner’s permit will be valid for one year from the date it is issued. The CDL written tests are also valid for up to one year.
You may only operate a CMV under the supervision of a front seat passenger who is at least 21 years old and carries a valid Illinois CDL of the same class as the vehicle you are operating. You may not operate any vehicle that is transporting materials deemed hazardous.
Over 60% of first time CDL applicants fail the written test! Be sure to download and study the Illinois CDL Commercial Driver’s License Study Guide, as it contains the information you need to pass the CDL knowledge tests, including some sample test questions.
Our Free CDL Practice Tests will help prepare you for the actual CDL knowledge tests administered by the DMV.
To schedule an appointment to take the CDL written knowledge tests use the Illinois Fast Pass CDL Scheduling or call (217) 785-3013.
Click here to see the map and clickable list of the 47 Illinois CDL Facilities where you can take the CDL written knowledge tests.
Applying for an Illinois Commercial Driver’s License
You will need the following in order to obtain a commercial driver’s license in the state of Illinois:
- A valid Illinois commercial learner’s permit or a valid commercial driver’s license from another state.
- A valid completed and signed Medical Examiner’s Certificate.
- Proof of vehicle insurance and vehicle registration (must be verified before you can take the test).
- A passenger with a valid Illinois CDL to ride with you in your commercial vehicle to the test site.
- $60 to cover the cost of the commercial driver’s license (the CDL fee is $50 to upgrade from a non-CDL).
- Pay the $5 fee for each CDL endorsement.
According to Illinois state law, any driver who holds a valid CDL must notify the Secretary of State’s Office of an address change or name change within 10 days and must obtain a corrected driver’s license within 30 days.
The CDL Skills Test
Once you obtain your commercial learner’s permit, you will be allowed to take the CDL Skills Test. The Skills Test is given by appointment only and is only offered at designated Illinois CDL Facilities. Walk-ins are not permitted. To schedule a test appointment, contact your nearest CDL Facility, or you may be able to schedule an appointment online with Illinois Fast Pass CDL Scheduling. You must provide your own test vehicle. The CDL Facility will not provide a vehicle for you to test in.
The CDL Skills Test is a three part test that consists of a Pre-trip Inspection, a Basic Controls Test, and an On-Road Driving Test. You will be required to take the test in the same class and type of motor vehicle that you plan to drive once you obtain your CDL.
If you take the CDL Skills Test in a commercial motor vehicle that is not equipped with air brakes, then you will have an air brakes restriction attached to your commercial driver’s license. If you fail any one part of the CDL Skills Test, you will be required to retake the entire test again. Only one CDL Skills Test can be taken per day and you must wait at least 48 hours to reschedule another test if you fail. If your test vehicle is not legally equipped and safe to drive, you will not be able to proceed with the Skills Test.
The CDL Skills Test is a three part test and consists of the following:
- Pre-trip Inspection: Before you can take the CDL driving tests, you will first be tested on your knowledge of the class of vehicle you plan on driving once you obtain your CDL. The Pre-trip inspection also determines if your commercial vehicle is safe enough to drive on public roads.
- Basic Controls: Before you can take the CDL Road Test, you will first need to prove that you have the skills to operate a commercial motor vehicle on public roads. This test consists of various off-road maneuvers such as backing up your vehicle.
- Road Test: Once you pass the first two tests, you will be required to drive your commercial vehicle on public roads in various traffic situations. You will be required to operate the same class of commercial vehicle you plan to drive once you obtain your CDL.
The Basic Controls Test will most likely include the following maneuvers:
- 90 degree alley docking
- Straight line backing
- Parallel parking (driver side)
- Parallel parking (conventional)
- Offset back to the right
- Offset back to the left
The CDL applicant is required to drive an approved predetermined route for the Road Test. You will be required to submit a map of the route, including a separate narrative explaining the maneuvers along with your applications. Once a test route is approved, it may be used indefinitely for certification. The following maneuvers must be utilized and specified in the test route:
- Four left turns and four right turns.
- A straight section of an urban business street.
- One through intersection and one intersection that includes a stop.
- One railroad crossing (try to get an uncontrolled railroad crossing).
- A curve either to the right or to the left.
- A section of an expressway or a two-lane rural or semi-rural road.
- A downgrade steep that is of a long enough distance to require downshifting and braking.
- A simulated downgrade.
- An upgrade steep that is of a long enough distance to require the operator to shift gears to maintain speed.
- A downgrade where a commercial vehicle can be stopped and parked safely for a short duration of time.
- An upgrade where a commercial vehicle can be stopped and parked safely for a short duration of time.
- A single underpass, low clearance, or bridge.
On the day of your CDL Skills Test appointment you must:
- Arrive on time.
- Bring your validated commercial learner’s permit.
- Bring your valid D.O.T. medical card (cannot be more than 2 years old).
- Bring a passenger (age 21 or older) that is qualified to drive a CMV with the same class of CDL or greater than the test vehicle.
- Bring a test vehicle that is the same class of license that you are testing for that is safe to drive.
Failure to do any of the above may result in an immediate cancellation of your CDL Skills Test appointment! The Illinois Secretary of State Driver Services Department advises applicants to schedule their Skills Test appointment a few weeks in advance and to arrive early for their test appointment. If you decide to cancel your Skills Test appointment, you must cancel the appointment no later than 24 hours in advance.
The Illinois Secretary of State Driver Services Department has the right to cancel any CDL Skills Test appointment due to bad weather, under sourced staffing, or any other unforseen circumstances. Be sure to call the CDL Facility on the day of your Skills Test to see if your appointment has been cancelled.
Once you obtain your Illinois commercial driver’s license, it will be valid for up to four years from the date it is issued.
Be sure to download and study the Illinois CDL Commercial Driver’s License Study Guide, as it contains pertinent information that will help you pass the CDL Skills Test.
Click here to see the map and clickable list of Illinois CDL Facilities that offer the CDL Skills Test.
Commercial Driver Self-Certification
In the state of Illinois, all commercial driver’s license holders must self-certify as to what type of driving they will be doing (intrastate or interstate), and whether they meet or exceed the medical and physical standards put forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to legally and safely operate a commercial motor vehicle. All CDL applicants must self-certify once they obtain their commercial driver’s license.
You are required to self-certify whenever you:
- Apply for a commercial driver’s license.
- Renew a commercial driver’s license.
- Apply for a higher class of commercial driver’s license.
- Apply for a new CDL endorsement.
- Transfer a commercial driver’s license from another state.
All commercial drivers who intend to operate a commercial motor vehicle for the following purposes only, do not require a commercial driver’s license and are considered “exempt” and therefore are waived from self-certification:
- Recreation vehicles if they are used for recreational purposes.
- Military vehicles driven by military personnel.
- Firefighting vehicles and equipment operated during emergency situations.
- Emergency vehicles used in response to an emergency involving the preservation of life or property.
- Snow emergency vehicles used for the purpose of snow removal.
- Farm vehicles operated by a farmer, family member, or employee as long as he/she stays within 150 miles of their farm, and the vehicles are not used in common or contract carrier operations.
If you plan on operating any Class B farm vehicles you may be eligible for the Farm-Related Services Class B CDL Waiver. If you think you may qualify, complete, sign, and submit the Farm-Related Services Restricted Class B CDL Application to start the process.
If you intend to operate a commercial motor vehicle for any other purpose than those listed above, then you are considered “non-exempt” and are required to hold a valid CDL and must self-certify. You may also need to provide a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate.
If you operate a commercial motor vehicle in either intrastate or interstate commerce solely for the following purposes, then you are under “excepted” status, and therefore do not need to provide a Medical Examiner’s Certificate, but may need to undergo a medical evaluation:
- Transporting school children and/or school staff members between home and school.
- Operating any vehicle as an employee of either Federal, State, or Local government.
- Operating fire and rescue vehicles for emergency purposes and other related events.
- Transporting sick, injured, or deceased persons.
- Primarily transporting propane heating fuel when responding to an emergency condition requiring an immediate response.
- When responding to a pipeline emergency requiring an immediate response such as a pipeline leak or rupture.
- When custom harvesting on a farm or to haul farm machinery and supplies to and from a farm or when transporting crops between a farm and a market or storage facility.
- When operating a farm vehicle that is not a combo vehicle (power unit and towed unit), and is used to haul agricultural products, farm supplies (cannot be materials deemed hazardous), or farm machinery to and from a farm and within 150 air miles of the farm.
- Transporting bees as an apiarist during beekeeping season.
- When transporting migrant workers.
- As a private motor carrier of passengers for non-business activities.
If you intend to operate a commercial motor vehicle for any other purpose than those listed above, then you operate in either “non-excepted” intrastate commerce, “non-excepted” interstate commerce, or both. You are considered a “non-excepted” interstate driver if you:
- Cross Illinois state lines while operating a commercial vehicle.
- Transport any cargo that originated from outside the state of Illinois or is headed to a destination that is outside the state of Illinois.
You are considered a”non-excepted” intrastate driver if you:
- Operating a commercial vehicle within the state of Illinois only.
- Transport any cargo that originated within the state of Illinois and is headed to a destination within Illinois state lines.
“Non excepted” interstate drivers and “non-excepted” intrastate drivers must provide a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate. If you are self-certifying for the first time, you must self-certify in person at any of the 47 Illinois CDL Facilities. If you have already self-certified in person and you are just renewing your Medical Examiner’s Certificate, then you can mail, fax, or email your documents. The Medical Examiner’s Certificate cannot expire within 30 days from the date of submission.
Any commercial drivers who self-certify as “excepted” interstate or “excepted” intrastate, must self-certify in person at any of the 47 Illinois CDL Facilities the first time they self-certify. “Excepted” drivers do not have to submit any medical documents or waivers but, may have to undergo a medical evaluation. Please check out the Self-Certification and Medical Examiner’s Certificate Information Guide for more information about self-certifying in the state of Illinois.
If you have any questions regarding self-certification, you can speak to a customer service representative at the Illinois Driver Services Department CDL Help Desk by calling either (217) 785-3002 or (217) 785-1350 during normal business hours . Please have your commercial driver’s license number readily available when you call. You can also email the CDL Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Please address your emails to either Steve Jenkins or Terry Montalbano respectively.
For more information about the Medical Examiner’s Certificate, please continue reading below.
Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver’s License
- Licensed U.S. doctor of medicine (M.D.)
- Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O)
- Licensed physician assistant (P.A.)
- Advanced practice registered nurse
The Medical Examiner’s Certificate must be attached to the Medical Examination Report and dated within the previous two years if you are renewing your commercial driver’s license. If you are a first time CDL applicant submitting your Medical Examiner’s Certificate, then the certificate must not expire within 30 days from the date of submission.
The Illinois Secretary of State Driver Services Department will only accept your medical forms if they have been completed by a qualified physician who has been certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You can search for a FMCSA certified physician by using the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
The FMSCA requires you to have at least 20/40 vision in each eye and a field of vision of at least 140 degrees (70 degrees in each eye) in order to be certified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Under certain conditions, you may be able to be waived from these and other medical requirements.
Remember, you must declare your initial self-certification status in person by visiting any of the 47 Illinois CDL Facilities. After that, you may submit your documents by mail, fax, or email.
- Fax your completed and signed documents to (217) 558-5156.
- Email your completed and signed documents in PDF format (as an email attachment) to Bthompson2@ilsos.net.
- Mail your completed and signed documents to:
Secretary of State’s Office
Attn: CDL/Medical Area
2701 South Dirksen Parkway
Springfield, Il 62723
Please include your name, address, and contact phone number on all mailings and faxes. Make sure your information is legible and be sure to double check and, if needed, correct any errors before submitting your documents. All CDL applicants are advised to keep copies of these documents for their own records.
Failure to comply with state and federal self-certification regulations will result in a suspension, downgrade, or cancellation of your commercial driving privileges. Please check out the Self-Certification and Medical Examiner’s Certificate Information Guide for more information about submitting your Medical Examiner’s Certificate in the state of Illinois.
If you have any questions regarding medical documents submission, you can speak to a customer service representative at the Illinois Driver Services Department CDL Help Desk by calling either (217) 785-3002 or (217) 785-1350 during normal business hours . Please have your commercial driver’s license number readily available when you call. You can also email the CDL Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Please address your emails to either Steve Jenkins or Terry Montalbano respectively.
Any person that is applying for a Hazardous Materials CDL endorsement is required to undergo a federal background check and federal fingerprint check according to guidelines set by the Transportation Security Administration. All applicants must also provide the required documents to verify their identification and legal U.S. status. For more information, check out the Transportation Security Administration’s F.A.Q. page.
You can apply for the security threat assessment on the TSA Hazardous Material Endorsement Enrollment Website. You must begin applying at least 30 days before the expiration of your CDL. You can start the application process on the HTAP Online Application Website. To apply by phone call (855) 347-8371. Use the TSA Enrollment Center Locator to find the nearest TSA approved fingerprint office. All Hazardous Materials CDL endorsement applicants should read the HAZMAT Applicants TSA Threat Assessment Guide for more details.
In the state of Illinois, if you are currently serving in the military or have been honorably discharged within the last 90 days, and you have driven military vehicles that would require a CDL to operate as a civilian with a 2 year safe driving record, then you may qualify for the waiver of the CDL Skills Test and may be exempt from taking the commercial driver skills test. You will still be required to take the written tests. Certain restrictions apply. Download, print, and complete the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver to start the process.
Illinois CDL Endorsements
H Placarded Hazmat Required to transport hazardous materials under DOT regulations.
N Tank Vehicles Required to transport liquids in bulk containers of 1,000 gallons or more.
X Tanker/Hazardous Materials Combination Required to transport hazardous materials in tank vehicles
T Double/Triple Trailers Indicates CDL holder is certified to operate multiple trailer haulers.
P Passengers Indicates the CDL holder is certified to operate passenger vehicles.
S School Bus Indicates the CDL holder is authorized to operate a school bus. The “P” endorsement is also required.
C Charter Bus Indicates that the CDL holder is authorized to drive a bus transporting students to and from school sponsored activities.
Important Illinois Commercial Driver’s License Resources
Illinois CDL Commercial Driver’s License Study Guide
Illinois CDL Practice Tests
Illinois Secretary of State Acceptable Documents List
“What You Need to Know About Truck Navigation Devices” Brochure
Illinois Fast Pass CDL Scheduling
Residential Address Information Update Portal
Charter Bus Application/Certification
Farm-Related Services Restricted Class B CDL Application
Application for Military Skills Test Waiver
HAZMAT Applicants TSA Threat Assessment Guide
Self-Certification and Medical Examiner’s Certificate Information Guide
Medical Examination Report Form 649-F
Medical Examiner’s Certificate
National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners
Check out our list of truck driving schools in Illinois that will provide you with the necessary skills to obtain your commercial driver’s license and start your career in the exciting field of commercial truck driving! You may also want to check out our nationwide list of truck driving schools.
If you found this article helpful, feel free to share it on Google Plus and Facebook using the buttons below.
Map of Illinois CDL Facilities
Title Address 1. Belleville DMV 400 W. Main Street, Belleville, IL 62220 2. Bethalto DMV 20 Terminal Drive, Suite 103, Bethalto, IL 62024 3. Bloomington DMV 1510 W. Market Street, Bloomington, IL 61701 4. Bradley DMV** 1111 Blatt Blvd, Bradley, IL 60915 5. Carbondale DMV 2516 W. Murphysboro Road, Carbondale, IL 62901 6. Carmi DMV 1128 W. Oak Street, Carmi, IL 62821 7. Champaign DMV 2401 W. Bradley Avenue, Champaign, IL 61822 8. Decatur DMV 3149 N. Woodford Street, Decatur, IL 62526 9. Dekalb DMV** 1360 Oakwood Street, Dekalb, IL 60115 10. East St. Louis DMV** 8750 Church Lane, East St. Louis, IL 62203 11. Edwardsville DMV 1502A Troy Road, Edwardsville, IL 62025 12. Effingham DMV** 444 S. Willow Street, Effingham, IL 62401 13. Elk Grove Village DMV* 650 Roppolo Drive, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 14. Fairfield DMV 307 N. Market Street, Fairfield, IL 62837 15. Freeport DMV 1054 N. Riverside Drive, Freeport, IL 61032 16. Galesburg DMV 1066 E. Losey Street, Galesburg, IL 61401 17. Hillsboro DMV 2010 N. School Street, Hillsboro, IL 62049 18. Jacksonville DMV Lincoln Square Shopping Center, 901 W. Morton Avenue, Suite 13 Jacksonville, IL 62650 19. Jerseyville DMV 710 County Road, Jerseyville, IL 62052 20. Libertyville DMV 342 Peterson Road, Libertyville, IL 60048 21. Macomb DMV 466 Deer Road, Macomb, IL 61455 22. Marion DMV** 1905 Rendleman Street, Marion, IL 62959 23. Mattoon DMV 2020 Charleston Avenue, Mattoon, IL 61938 24. Metropolis DMV 1112 W. 10th Metropolis Street, IL 62960 25. Moline Silvis DMV** Twin Oaks Shopping Center, 2001 Fifth Street, Suite 10, Silvis, IL 61282 26. Morris DMV 2413 Sycamore Street, Morris, IL 60450 27. Nashville DMV 480 N. Kaskaskia Street, Nashville, IL 62263 28. Olney DMV** 1302 W. West Street, R.R. 1, Olney, IL 62450 29. Pekin DMV Pekin State Plaza, 200 S. 2nd Street, Pekin, IL 61554 30. Peoria DMV** Sterling Bazaar Shopping Plaza, 3311 N. Sterling Avenue, Suite 12, Peoria, IL 61604 31. Pontiac DMV 507 Crane Street, Pontiac, IL 61764 32. Plano DMV 712 E. South Street, Plano, IL 60545 33. Princeton DMV** 225 Backbone Road East, Princeton, IL 61356 34. Quincy DMV** 2512 Locust Street, Quincy, IL 62301 35. Rantoul DMV** 421 S. Murray Road, Rantoul, IL 61866 36. Roanoke DMV 106 W. Broad Street, Roanoke, IL 61561 37. Robinson DMV 1321 E. Main Street, Robinson, IL 62454 38. Rockford Central DMV 3720 E. State Street, Rockford, IL 61108 39. Rockford CDL** 4734 Baxter Road, Rockford, IL 61109 40. Salem DMV** 1375 W. Whitaker Street, Salem, IL 62881 41. South Holland DMV** 41 W. 162nd Street, South Holland, IL 60473 42. Sparta DMV 202 W. Jackson Street, Sparta, IL 62286 43. Springfield Dirksen Parkway DMV** 2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy, Springfield, IL 62723 44. Springfield Klein and Mason DMV 316 N. Klein Street, Springfield, IL 62702 45. Sterling DMV 1224 W. 4th Street, Sterling, IL 61081 46. Tilton DMV** South Gate Drive, Suite 5, Tilton, IL 61833 47. West Chicago DMV** 1280 Powis Road, West Chicago, IL 60185
**The CDL Skills Test can be taken at this location (by appointment only).
Some CDL testing locations require you to set up an appointment. CDL testing hours may vary. Please call the testing location for more information.
Please Note: Some of the documents linked on this page are in the Adobe Portable Document Format, also known as “PDF.” Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view, fill out and print forms. If you have problems with Adobe Acrobat Reader, see the Adobe Troubleshooting page for possible solutions.