How long does it take to get a restricted driving permit (RDP) in Illinois?

It can take, on average, 10-14 weeks to receive a restricted driving permit (RDP)/hardship license from the date of your administrative hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State. There is not only a waiting period before the hearing is scheduled (for a formal hearing), but there is a waiting period to receive a decision from the Illinois Secretary of State after the hearing is held, and it takes additional time to receive the physical permit. It is a long and complex process that must be handled properly step-by-step.

In-person formal hearings are scheduled approximately 60 days after the date of request. After a formal hearing is held, the Illinois Secretary of State has 90 days to issue a decision. Decisions often do not take the full 90 days to be issued.

Drivers do not have to file a request for an informal hearing. Informal hearings are available during regular business hours on a walk-in basis. The Illinois Secretary of State does not have a time limit to issue a decision for an RDP at an informal hearing. You can expect to wait anywhere between 6-12 weeks for a decision.

After a formal or informal hearing is held, the Secretary of State will mail a decision granting the permit or denying the permit to the address on file. If the driver is granted a Restricted Driving Permit after a hearing, the Secretary of State will mail, along with the decision, a list of petitioner-specific requirements that must be completed prior to the issuance of any Restricted Driving Permit. Once the paperwork is completed and submitted to the Secretary of State, the Restricted Driving Permit is mailed to you in approximately 3 weeks.

If the driver receives a denial in the mail from the Secretary of State after a formal hearing, they may have another hearing 90 days from the date of the initial hearing. If denied after an informal hearing, the driver is eligible for another hearing 30 days after the date of the initial hearing. The issues raised in the denial must be addressed at the subsequent hearing.

Obtaining qualified legal representation is strongly encouraged. Secretary of State rules and requirements are strict. A single misstep can cause lasting consequences and a denial after hearing can only complicate further requests for driving relief. The license reinstatement attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. represent clients throughout Illinois and around the country before the Illinois Secretary of State. If your Illinois driving privileges are revoked or suspended, contact our driver’s license attorneys to discuss your options.