illinois car dealer license

The Illinois Secretary of State processes all new Illinois dealer license applications. 

You must get an Illinois Dealer License if you plan to deal 5 or more vehicles in a 12-month period.

Not sure if you need a dealer license? Check out this post on selling cars without a license.

How to get an Illinois Auto Dealer License

(Step by Step Guide)

Step #1: Complete an Illinois Auto Dealer License application

View Illinois Auto Dealer License application.

Step #2: Purchase an Illinois Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond

Purchase a bond from a licensed surety bond company.

An IL Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond is a type of surety bond that protects your customers. Your customers can make a claim against your bond if they feel you are not conducting business ethically and honestly.

Illinois has set the bond amount at $50,000.

You will pay anywhere from 1-15% of the bond amount to get bonded. You will only need to pay one time, not monthly.

See what you’d pay by getting a free quote below:

Get a free IL Car Dealer Bond quote

Step #3: Purchase insurance

Purchase insurance from an insurance company at a minimum of:

  • $100,000 for bodily injury
  • $300,000 for each accident and
  • $50,000 for property damage

Step #4: Additional Requirements

Final requirements include:

Step #5: Undergo a criminal background check

Do this by contacting an Illinois State Police approved live-scan fingerprint vendor at 815-740-5160.

Worried about a previous felony? View this post on “Getting a Dealer License With a Felony”.

Step #6: Take an 8-hour training course

The course is given by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. (Only required if you are a first-time used car dealer applicant.)

Contact Tonya Beard at or 217-785-2050 to register for your training session.

Step #7: Submit

Submit your Illinois Dealer License application, Illinois Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond and fees to the Secretary of State’s office:

Vehicle Services Department
Dealer Licensing Section
501 S. Second St. Room 069
Springfield, IL 62756

The cost of a vehicle dealer license to sell new and/or used motor vehicles costs $1,000.

Licensed dealers may purchase license plates to demonstrate their vehicles: $45 for a master set and $13 for duplicate plates.

Step #8: Wait

This usually takes two to four weeks for your paperwork to be processed. Upon approval, you will be mailed your Illinois Auto Dealer License

License Expiration and Renewal

Illinois Auto Dealer Licenses expire on December 31st of each year.

If you get licensed later in the year, you still have to renew your Illinois Auto Dealer License come December 31st. Therefore, fees for those licenses issued later in the year are cheaper (1/2 off).

Renewal notices are sent to dealers in September.

  • Dealer License annual fee: $1,000 ($500 if after June 15).
  • Supplemental Certificate of Authority annual fee (for each additional location): $100 for new cars, $50 for used cars (half those amounts if after June 15).


To find out more information about applying for an Illinois Auto Dealer License, contact the Vehicle Services Department at (217) 782-7817.


View our FREE EBOOK: “The Ultimate Guide To Car Dealer License”


Related Links:

How To Get An Auto Dealer Bond

Motor Vehicle Dealer License FAQ

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