What is the difference between a license and permit in Illinois?

A license allows drivers to drive without restrictions, whereas a permit allows drivers to drive with specific restrictions.

An instruction permit allows drivers to drive with a parent, driving instructor, or licensed driver over the age of 21 in the front seat passenger seat. Illinois also has a Graduated Licensing Program with specific restrictions for drivers age 20 and under. To review the specific age-related restrictions, visit

In Illinois, residents between the ages of 15 to 17 may receive an instruction permit if enrolled in an approved driver education class or will be enrolled in an approved driver education class within 30 days. The instruction permit is valid for 24 months and must be held for at least nine months prior to obtaining a drivers license. If a resident is 17 and 3 months or older, then an instruction permit can be received without taking a driver education course.

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