School Bus Permit Driver Services
A school bus permit is required for any individual planning to transport school children grade 12 or below for a public, private or religious school, including nursery schools, if you will drive:
- a yellow school bus or
- any other approved vehicle, owned or operated by a school or religious institution used for this purpose over a regularly scheduled route.
New applicants must:
- Be age 21 or older.
- Possess a valid and properly classified Illinois driver's license or a valid license issued by Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri or Kentucky. The valid license must contain an "S" endorsement.
- Possess a valid driver's license for three years immediately prior to the date of your application, which has not been revoked, suspended, cancelled or disqualified.
- Pass an Illinois written school bus driver permit test (valid for one year).
- Pass a behind-the-wheel exam (valid for 180 days) in the type of vehicle you will be driving.
- Pass a physical examination (valid for 90 days), including drug and tuberculosis testing.
- Affirm under penalty of perjury that you have not made a false statement or knowingly concealed a material fact in any application for a permit.
- Complete an initial classroom training course (valid for one year) administered by the Illinois State Board of Education. A refresher course must be taken prior to renewal.
- Not have been under an order of court supervision or convicted of two or more serious traffic violations in the 12-month period prior to the date of your application.
- Not have been under an order of court supervision or convicted of reckless driving, DUI or reckless homicide resulting while operating a motor vehicle within three years of the date of your application.
- Pass an Illinois specific and FBI criminal background check. Fingerprint results are valid for one year. Illinois State Police-approved vendor
- Consent in writing to the release of results of reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing by the employer of the applicant to the Secretary of State;
- Not have caused a fatal accident as the result of the unlawful operation of a motor vehicle.
- Not have been afflicted with or suffering from any mental disability or disease within the last five years.
Any individual transporting children in the place of the regular school bus driver must have a permit and a properly classified driver's license.
If you are new to Illinois, you must also provide a state-issued copy of the previous state's driving abstract, showing a three-year continuous driving history. The driving abstract must be issued in the 90-day period prior to your application for a permit.
Persons residing in a bordering state who wish to apply for an Illinois school bus driver permit must possess a properly classified license from Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, or Kentucky and follow the procedures outlined for new applicants.
For school districts or transportation companies that want to learn more about participating in the School Bus Driver Permit program, please call the Secretary of State's Safe Ride Unit at 217-782-7674.
A school bus driver's permit is valid for one year. Any individual whose school bus permit is more than 30 days past expiration must submit to all the requirements for new applicants. In order to renew your school bus permit, you must:
- Complete an annual refresher classroom-training course administered by the Illinois State Board of Education,
- Pass an annual physical examination (valid for 90 days), including drug testing.
- Mail an official application completed by your employer and the appropriate fees paid by personal check or money order to the Secretary of State's office.