How to Get an Illinois Auto Dealer License

Getting an auto dealer license in Illinois requires meeting certain eligibility criteria and completing various steps. We outline those steps in detail below.

How to get your Auto Dealer License

Complete Guide for All 50 States


Determine Which Type of License You Need:

  • New and Used
  • Used Only
  • Motorcycles
  • Trailers/Mobile Homes

Obtain a Permanent Business Location

Check the Illinois Administrative Code, Section 1020.10 for the requirements. Once you’ve met them, you’ll be inspected by Secretary of State personnel to determine if the established place of business requirement is met.


Attend Dealer Training Classes

Individuals applying for a used car dealer, broker, or wholesaler license for the first time are required to attend an eight-hour training course provided by the Illinois Secretary of State's office. The training must be completed prior to a license being issued. The training will cover a wide variety of topics which affect dealerships, for example, licensing requirements, applicable taxes and consumer protection laws.


Compile the Required Documents

You’ll need to acquire and fill out the following documents:

  • A copy of the lease agreement (if the business location is leased)
  • A statement that the applicant has been approved for registration under the Retailers' Occupation Tax Act by the Department of Revenue

Obtain Proof of Liability Insurance

A certificate of insurance in a solvent company authorized to do business in the State of Illinois must be included with your application. The policy must provide liability coverage in the minimum amounts of $100,000 for bodily injury to, or death of, any person, $300,000 for bodily injury to, or death of, two or more persons in any one accident, and $50,000 for damage to property. Trailer and mobile home dealers are exempt from this requirement.

Auto Dealer Insurance

There are several types of insurance coverages that are recommended for auto dealers, but the recommended coverage will vary based on your business and personal needs.


Obtain Your Auto Dealer Bond

The cost of an Illinois auto dealer bond is a small percentage of the total bond amount. The bond cost varies depending on your financial strength, e.g. personal credit. You can also take a look at our most frequently asked surety bond questions.

Vehicle dealers must be bonded for the first 36 consecutive months of operation, so long as they have not been delinquent or deficient in the transmittance of title/registration fees or taxes.

Bond Amount Required:

  • $20,000 for all auto dealers
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Submit Your Dealer License Application

Submit your application form, along with all supporting documentation, to the Illinois Vehicle Services Department.


  • Certificate of Authority annual fee: $1,000 ($500 for a first application between June 15 and December 31)
  • Master plates annual fee: $45
  • Duplicate plates: $13
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