Can you buy a car without a license in Illinois?

Buying a car is as simple as walking into a dealership and driving a car away. But not in every case. There are usually processes involved, and it could be more complicated if you don’t have some documents such as a license. So, can you buy a car without a license in Illinois?

Yes. A driver’s license is only necessary for driving. But you’ll experience financing, insurance, registration, test driving, and delivery challenges. You can solve these issues by having your funds or taking a loan for financing and getting someone with a driver’s license for all the other stages.

However, if you’re planning to drive the car, later on, you should get a license before you go ahead and buy the car. That will save you a lot of trouble. Here, we discuss whether you can buy a car without a license in Illinois.

Rules On Car Purchase in Illinois

No laws stipulate that you need a license before you can buy a car In Illinois. Any law on licensing only applies to the operation of the vehicle. However, the vehicle dealerships will need a license before selling vehicles, regardless of whether they’re new or used. The Secretary of State’s office issues the license, costing $1000. Outside of this case, any regular person can buy a car without having to present a license. But not having a license will complicate the process for you.

Although the law won’t require you to have a license to buy a vehicle, you’ll need a license to drive it off the lot. Dealerships also have the freedom to set their own rules on license requirements. Some decide to waive it, and some might require it. But in most cases, the dealership will waive it.

Foreigners in Illinois can also use their licenses to purchase a vehicle. In their case, they can use the license for up to 90 days in Illinois before they have to get an Illinois license. So, they’ll be able to drive the car off the lot without any problem.

Hurdles Facing Buying Car Without License

If you want to buy your car without a license, there are several hoops you’ll have to jump through. Some of the challenges that’ll complicate the process include:

1.  Financing

The first issue is how you’ll get the right financing. Not many people buy cars using their own money. Therefore, most dealerships will require a license before giving you a car loan. The same thing applies to lenders. You need a license to operate the car. Not having one means that someone else will operate it, which means more risks for the lender.


The perfect solution is to buy the car with your funds. That saves you the trouble of negotiating with any lender over whether they should give you the loan. So, if there’s a reason you’ll be getting a car without having a license, you might want to start saving in advance for it. Another option is to take out a personal loan. In this case, you don’t have to attach the loan to a car purchase; you get the loan and pay in cash for the car.

2.  Insurance

It’s compulsory to have at least liability insurance on your vehicle. This ensures that should the car cause damage and injury, the insurance will cover the cost. Vehicle owners must provide all the insurance information when registering the vehicle, and signing the registration documents affirms that they are properly insured. Law enforcement can ask for proof of liability insurance at any time. However, no insurance provider will give coverage without seeing the car owner’s license.


In this case, the best thing is to use the license of someone close to you. Perhaps, a member of your immediate family will be operating the car. That person will be the primary driver. Since they’ll be in the car most of the time, getting insurance in their name shouldn’t be a problem. However, you also need to ensure it’s someone with a good driving history. A bad driving record could cost you more for insurance.

  1. Registration

Car registration is compulsory in Illinois before you can use the car. The registration process will require presenting a license. The DMV will also request an Illinois Certificate of Title. Registering your car means you’re providing a vehicle record to the state. There’s an annual renewal fee for registration.


Since you don’t have a license, you can’t register the car in your name. You’ll have to roster it in the name of someone with a license. Again, this should be a family member or someone very close to you who’ll be the primary driver for the car. It’s best if it’s the same person who you use for the insurance that you also use for the car registration. Registering the car in someone else’s name doesn’t necessarily make the owner as long as you have the title proving that you’re the owner.

4.  Test Driving

If you don’t have a license, you can’t operate a car. That means you won’t be able to test drive the car before buying it. This is very important and one of the steps in a car purchase you can’t afford to miss.


Since you don’t have a license, you should go to the car dealership with someone who can drive. While you can opt to use the people at the car dealership, it’s not advisable. You need someone who isn’t trying to sell the car to you. So, take along anyone who can drive and is familiar with cars.

5.  Delivery

After buying the car, you’ll need to drive it home. For this, you need a valid license, or the car dealership won’t let you take it from their lot.


Once again, you should go with someone who can drive the car home. Possibly the person who’ll be the primary driver or anyone good enough a driver. But if you don’t have anyone available at the moment. Most car dealerships can help you deliver the car free or at a little cost.

In Conclusion

If you don’t have a license and you’re buying a car, there’s a good reason for that decision. Fortunately, you don’t need a license to buy a car in Illinois. But you’ll need someone with a license to operate the car.