Is getting a CDL hard?, What are the requirements of Illinois CDL?,  How to get CDL in Illinois? If are seeking the answer to those questions, keep reading. This article is going to give you all the detailed information about the process of obtaining an Illinois CDL, including the steps and requirements. It’s actually not complicated as it seems!


cdl illinois
How to get a CDL in Illinois?


1. What are the CDL Classes in Illinois?


In order to get your CDL, you must choose the class you want to get first. There are 3 CDL classes in Illinois:


1.1. CDL Class A

A Class A CDL is the most prestigious commercial license. You can drive Class B and Class C vehicles if you have this (if you have the right endorsements).


This CDL is now required if you operate a combination vehicle with a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. The towing vehicle must weigh more than 10,000 pounds.


1.2. CDL Class B

In class B, a single OR combination vehicle with a GCWR of 26,001 pounds or over is permitted. If towing a unit, it must be less than 10,000 pounds.


With a Class B CDL, you may drive Class C vehicles (with endorsements), but not Class A vehicles.


1.3. CDL Class C

The final form of CDL is Class C, which is required if you operate a vehicle intended to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, regardless of weight.


2. What are the CDL Endorsements in Illinois? 

An endorsement on your CDL indicates that you are competent to operate certain types of vehicles. They also signal that you are permitted to utilize them in specific ways.


In Illinois, there are seven endorsements. However, keep in mind that only three of these are included with your CLP. You must wait till you get your CDL before applying for the remainder.



Appropriate license 


P CLP & CDL Passenger Vehicles
N CLP & CDL Tank vehicles
S CLP & CDL School buses
H CDL Vehicles transporting hazardous materials
X CDL Tank vehicles transporting hazardous materials
T Class A CDL Double and triple trailers
C CDL  Charter buses only


3. What are the requirements of Illinois CDL?


Before applying for CDL, you must know the requirements below:

  • You are at least 18 (if operating intrastate) or 21 (if operating interstate) (if operating interstate)
  • You have a legitimate driver’s license, and it is your only one.
  • At the time of your application, your driving privileges are not suspended, canceled, revoked, or disqualified.
  • You completed a physical test administered by a Medical Examiner listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME).
  • You have legal documentation of your presence.


cdl in illinois
You are at least 18 to obtain a CDL in Illinois


4. How to get CDL in Illinois? 

In Illinois, you are required to get a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) before getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Thus, let’s how to earn the Illinois CLP:


4.1. Steps to obtain the CLP 

In order to obtain the Illinois CLP, follow the steps here:


Step 1: Determine the type of vehicle you’ll be driving and the sort of CDL you’ll need. It’s also a good idea to know if you need any endorsements for your CLP.


Step 2: Make sure you satisfy all of the conditions listed above.


Step 3: Visit your DMV office 

Some establishments demand appointments, while others do not. In turn, some provide complete CDL services, while others only provide screenings. You should check on the DMV first to prepare


Step 4: Show the listed documents to prove your identity and residents

  • Class D driver’s license (make sure it’s valid)
  • Identity Proof: Birth certificate, passport, visa, etc
  • Medical Examiner’s certificate 
  • Driving record check 


Step 5: Pass the vision test 


Step 6: Pay the exam fee ~ $50 


Step 7: Take the CDL written test. You can read the CDL General Knowledge Test Study Guide to know how to pass the CDL Test easier. Besides, you can take the CDL Illinois practice test, an effective method to obtain the CDL license, simulated with the actual test not only in format but also in the content of the questions. 


Step 8: Take the temporary CLP. You also can drive with this license while waiting for this CLP in 15 days.


how to get a cdl in illinois
You also can drive with CLP license while waiting for this in 15 days


4.2. Process of getting an Illinois CDL 

After receiving the CLP, you are now can get your Illinois CDL. Here are the steps to do that:

Step 1: Hold your CLP for at least two weeks, beginning on the day your interim CLP was issued.


Step 2: Attend and complete Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) from an FMCSA-approved provider


Step 3: Schedule a CDL skills/drive exam online or by calling (217) 785 3013 and selecting option 4. Only the following facilities in Illinois give these tests:

  • Bradley
  • Charleston
  • DeKalb
  • Elk Grove Village
  • Mascoutah/Lebanon
  • Marion
  • Moline/Silvis
  • Olney
  • Peoria
  • Princeton
  • Quincy
  • Rockford
  • Springfield
  • South Holland
  • Salem
  • Tilton
  • West Chicago
  • Rantoul (only administers drive exams for Class B and C CDL)


Step 4: Bring all the following documents: 

  • The vehicle you’ll use for the exam. Remember that it must be representative of the CDL class you’re earning.
  • Your vehicle’s insurance ID, registration, and current safety inspection
  • Your valid CLP
  • Receipts for your CLP or written test
  • Your valid Illinois driver’s license


Step 5: Pass your Illinois CDL road test 


Step 6: Bring your CLP 


Step 7: Take your Illinois CDL 


5. Frequently asked questions about Illinois CDL 


How much does it cost to get CDL in Illinois?

A CLP’s starting charge is $50. (this already includes getting your CDL). However, depending on your circumstances, you may incur additional costs. These might include:

  • Renewal of your CLP: $50
  • Adding an endorsement to your CLP will cost you $5
  • The cost of adding a School Bus Permit to your CDL is $9
  • CDL classification upgrade: $5


Is the Illinois CDL test multiple choice?

Yes. The written test has 30 questions, all of which are multiple-choice. You must get 80% right to pass and get your CLP.


How many times can you take the CDL test in Illinois?

Illinois has a three-failure rule. If you fail three times, you must wait 30 days before retaking the exam:

More unsuccessful attempts result in longer wait times:

  • After 6 failures: 90-day delay
  • After 9 failures: a one-year delay

The money you pay only covers three attempts, so if you go over, you must pay again.


What is the best CDL to get?

If you want to work as a commercial driver for a long time, a Class A CDL is a fantastic choice. It gives you the most freedom in terms of the cars you can drive and is more likely to pay well.


Read more: Is CDL Class A The Best License For Truck Drivers?


Obtaining the Illinois CDL is easy if you are well-prepared for it. Thus, decide which CDL vehicle you will drive to make your process smoother. Don’t forget to practice with the CDL Practice test to increase your passing rate. This is one of the key factor to answer the question how to get CDL in Illinois successfully!