So, you’ve finally made the big step towards getting a motorcycle, sent in your loan application, and made your downpayment — what’s next? Well, getting a motorcycle license to lawfully operate your two-wheeler, of course!

A brief overview of the process

For aspiring riders in Illinois, the process of getting a license can often prove to be a complicated experience because of all the different details involved in the equation. 

Generally, the process of lawfully obtaining the crucial piece of documentation in the state of Illinois can be done for obtaining an actual license of a permit. Each available type of license or permit corresponds to a set displacement and holds unique requirements and qualifications. Here are the two types of licenses that you can obtain with the help of the DMV: 

  • Class L license: This particular permit allows any bearer to be able to lawfully operate any motorcycle that has a displacement of 150cc and below
  • Class M license: This license allows a bearer to operate any kind of motorcycle as it has no set displacement limit or class specification

How to get your motorcycle license

If you haven’t obtained your license or permit, recently turned of legal age, or just moved to the state, here are the necessary steps you should follow to safely obtain your license and avoid fines and penalties:

The standard qualifications

Before you jump at the chance to get your own motorcycle license and go on that cross-country trip you’ve always dreamed of, here are the necessary requirements you need to have when applying for a Class L or M permit:

  • You must be at least 18 years old and have a current state license or ID which certifies your age and identity
  • You must be able to complete a written Rules of the Road examination and pass a vision test administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles
  • You must be able to pay a set permit fee (which depends on the license you’re applying for)
  • You must have a permit that is still within the validity date at the time of application

If you’re 16 or 17 years old and want to start sooner, however, you’ll need to be enrolled in a motorcycle training program as an additional requirement to obtain your license or permit.

The typical process

Step #1: Head over to the department and present your ID

The first step in the process of getting a class L or M license in the state of Illinois is to bring proof of identification containing all the necessary details to a certified SOS driver services location.

Step #2: Present your qualifications

When it comes to getting a motorcycle license, it is absolutely important that you present a proof of completion in a qualifying motorcycle rider education course. If you haven’t been able to choose or partake in an accredited rider education course, however, read this guide so that you can find a training company that best suits your needs!

Step #3: Take the administered written and driving skills exam

Once you’ve managed to present the necessary requirements, an authorized representative or staff member at the SOS Driver Services you’re at, you will be asked to take a required written and driving skills exam. Alternatively, you can waive the exams by simply presenting a certificate of completion of an IDOT motorcycle safety course!

Step #4: Pass the vision exam

The last step that you’ll need to follow when going through the testing process of getting your license is to pass a vision exam administered by the location’s own staff.

Step #5: Pay the $10 fee

Now that you’ve finished all the necessary tests, all you’ll have to do is pay the $10 fee and get the motorcycle license that you initially applied for!


Riding a motorcycle for the first time can easily prove to be an exciting experience. Yet, it is vital to ensure that you get a valid Illinois motorcycle license before you ride to your heart’s content! 

If you want to know more about getting a motorcycle license or purchasing the best beginner motorcycle, get in touch with us today to see how we can help!