Can I keep my registration in TN and get IL DL


Alll this speculation. 5 seconds google, this pretty much spells it out-


Why do that when you can spend 10 or 12 minutes logging on to a forum and maybe get the correct answer in a day or a week.


The solution to your quandary is right here. As long as the car is registered in your wife’s name–which you can do by signing the title over to her if you are currently the only owner–there will be no problem. Your wife will retain her TN driver’s license, and the car will remain registered to the house which the two of you still own.

If you are ever involved in an accident or stopped by police, you would simply lie and say that you are “temporarily borrowing” the car from your wife while you save up money to buy another one. There is really no way for a policeman to disprove this statement, and realistically they won’t bother trying. Only if you were dumb enough to admit that you are the real owner would they bother to issue a citation.


No. But since his vehicle must be registered where his a residence…and your drivers license is your proof of residence…then the vehicle registration state will need to match his drivers license

According to OP, he also has a bone fide residence outside of IL. So it’s not as if the vehicle would be registered to a fictitious address…that would be facially illegal. This seems more complicated.

Heck, during the late '90s I was a commuter pilot, and my “domicile” changed as frequently as every 28 days! I didn’t have a fixed address (living out of hotels), so my “residence” was my mom’s address, where my mail came, and I kept my PA DL and PA plates…even when I was spending several months flying out of NM.

I know military and full-time students are given a “pass” on this. Other occupations might be given a pass, based on whether or not there is a bone fide reason why the “primary residence” and “domicile” don’t match. I know “snowbird” retirees, as well as full-time RVers, get mighty creative with their “primary residence,” though I do not know how much of that is “legal” vs. “you’ll probably get away with it.”

OP needs legal advice, not mechanical.


Gee, so where have you been? Or is this an old post again?

One other thing to at least look at is income tax. Minnesota has (or at least) a real complicated residency formula for determining your residence for tax purposes. Had to be out of the state for so many days-consecutive, etc. The purpose was to nail snow birds going to Florida and claimed no tax Florida as their residence. I think even if you were there nine months out of the year but got your income from Minnesota, they could hit you for tax. I suspect that Illinois, being nearly bankrupt, with what a 60% tax?, and looking for every penny, might have a similar hook. Changing residency is not something to do willy nilly unless you have to.


When it comes to traffic law enforcement, Virginia is nearly a police state. 20 MPH is reckless driving (which makes sense if it were enforced uniformly, but it’s not. If you’re on the highway with a 70 MPH speed limit, in that case, going 10 over is reckless driving, and reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor; you can literally go to jail for going 10 MPH over the posted speed limit on the interstate. The lawmakers claim it makes for safer roads, but the per capita death rate is middling compared to other states.


This sounds like a lot of trouble to keep a car on the road. Maybe it is time to sell it in TN and move on to something else.

Also, what is the make, model, and year? If it is 1996 or newer and doesn’t have a check engine light, you should be golden.


I have family still living in Illinois, and my understanding is that the “emissions testing” only applies to model years 1996 and newer, and only constitutes a check of the onboard diagnostic system. If the vehicle is 1995 or older, it won’t even be tested. Of course, when I lived in Illinois, my cars rusted so fast that anything that old would be few and far between there.


I think you can put Indiana in that category too. 20 over, whether on an 8 lane traffic free road or not, is a required court appearance. So if you’re from Minnesota I guess they figure you post bail, then come back 400 miles to maybe get put in the slammer or something. I don’t intend to find out. I did see though that flashing your lights is like a $200 fine-so don’t do that.


The significance of 1996 is when ODBII was required in cars sold in the US. Basically the computer will set a check engine light if anything in the emissions system is out of range. I guess the thinking is that if the car is in good enough condition to not trigger a code, it will pass if no codes are present.

Yes, I have known people with older cars from Illinois and they seem to all rust. Cars that old may be far and few between there but this doesn’t apply if the car is transplanted there from a rust-free climate.

We still don’t know how old the car is or what make and /model it is either. That could provide some insights.


Perhaps the first thing you should question is the veracity of the statement “theres no way it would pass emissions”. What year make and model vehicle is this? How old is it? What is wrong with it? We have next to zero information on the one pivotal item that begs all the other questions…


The main points from the link seem to be:

You may obtain an Illinois driver’s license or identification card only if you are becoming a legal resident of Illinois.

New residents have 30 days to apply for an Illinois title and registration after establishing residence

Yet those leave some ambiguities. For example, what does “legal resident” mean? Is it based on residency or being domiciled in IL? Does it cover becoming a permanent OR temporary resident?
Does the second statement cover establishing a permanent OR temporary residence?


Of course it’s not all encompassing. I’m actually glad it hasn’t been twisted into incomprehensible legalese so people can read only two paragraphs in plain english, the vast majority of which will understand the intent. Those questions appear to be the kind asked by a defense lawyer for someone trying weasel out of getting caught…


That’s one view – another is understanding exactly what the IL law requires, and understanding the law should be admired rather than characterized as “weasel”


Again, none of this legalese investigation would be needed if we could simply determine if the vehicle would pass emissions without too much trouble.

The diagnosis of not being able to pass emissions came from the OP’s wife I believe…this of course does not suggest she is incompetent, but unless she is a good mechanic…

I’m simply suggesting to investigate a little further into the vehicle than what has already been done. It could be that simple… No?


One needs to check the laws of the state that they are residing in, either permanently or temporarily (part-time). It can seem confusing …

I live in the north when the weather is decent (summer season) for about half the year.

I live in sunny/warm Florida 1,500 miles to the south when it starts getting cold in the north and those stupid salt trucks and plows are preparing to destroy my cars and I have to put on special clothes just to go outside! I’m here for almost half the year.

I have 2 cars here in Florida, one stays here and one commutes twice a year.

According to the Florida Driver License Handbook:
“The vehicle you own must have a Florida registration certificate and license plate.”

“To get your license plate and registration certificate, you must show proof of Florida insurance (in most cases, you need a Florida driver license to get insurance.)”

“Who Needs a Florida License to Drive? If you are a Florida resident, you must get a Florida license to drive a motor vehicle on public streets and highways.”

“A non-resident (except a migrant or seasonal farm worker) who accepts employment or engages in a trade, profession or occupation in this state, or enrolls their child in a Florida public school must get a Florida license within 30 days in order to operate a motor vehicle.”

Definitions Resident: A person who has his principal place of domicile in this state for a period of more than six consecutive months; has registered to vote; has made a statement of domicile pursuant to section 222.17, Florida Statutes; or has filed for homestead exemption on property in this state.”

Exceptions for the Florida Driver License You do not have to get a Florida driver license to drive in Florida if you are a non-resident who is at least 16 years old and have: • a valid non-commercial driver license from another state or territory of the US…”

So, if I am here for 1 day short of 6 months in a year, I don’t need a Florida Driver License and can’t get Florida car insurance and can’t get Florida car registrations and plates.

My cars are insured, registered and plated at my location in the often frozen north. That insurance is superior to what is available here. My insurance company agent understands all of this and it’s not a problem.

Long story even longer, bottom line is that I can’t be a “resident” in 2 places at the same time!


OK, what about the bikes, boat, snowmobile? Uh, er, never mind the snowmobile.


No boat here, either. They’re all north. Bikes don’t need registrations/ plates, but damage/theft insurance is Personal Articles Policy from the northern location. Homeowners deductible is $2,000+ in the north, $1,000 in Florida. Personal Articles deductible is $0.


Since 911 and things like Real-ID…proof of residence has changed in most (if not all states). States have cracked down on people having multiple proof of residencies and having the ability to get multiple drivers licenses in different states. IL and TN may be behind the times, but most states - the proof of residence for car registration is a valid drivers license.


interesting… if so (and as a hypothetical), grandparent without a license cannot be the owner and registrant of a car for grandchild to drive