How to Renew an Illinois Driver’s License
In most states, you can renew your drivers license online, by mail or in person. However, be mindful that the online method is only available to certain applicants, depending on their age and citizenship status. During an online license renewal, you will be asked to identify yourself and pay the applicable service fees. To make sure that you are fully prepared to complete the process, you can download our informative online guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to renew your driving license quickly and easily. In it, you will also get step-by-step details about how to complete other important licensing transactions, such as replacing your license or updating your name or address.
2. By Mail
Certain motorists are eligible to renew their drivers licenses by mail. If your state DMV offers this option, you will be asked to fill out a renewal notice or request form and include certain supporting documentation in your application package. Additionally, you will need to provide an acceptable payment method for the renewal fees, typically a check or money order. All of these documents must be sent to a specified DMV mailing address. It is important to note that this method includes processing times, so it may take longer than others to complete. To minimize your wait time and to avoid delays, be sure to attach the correct paperwork to your renewal form.
3. In Person at the DMV
When renewing your driving license at the DMV, you may be required to pass a vision screening, to retake your photograph and to pay a service fee. Generally, you will need to present your existing license, fill out a drivers license renewal form and assess that your information is still up-to-date on the DMV’s records. Because many drivers are typically unsure of which forms to fill out in order to complete their transactions, delays are common when applying in person. Furthermore, potential mistakes on your application may require you to visit the DMV more than once to successfully renew your license.
You must process an Illinois drivers license renewal with the Secretary of State (SOS) before your drivers license officially expires if you want to continue driving legally in Illinois. You will receive a renewal letter from the Secretary of State’s office approximately 60 to 90 days prior to the expiration of your license. This letter will be mailed to the address that the drivers license office has on record, and it will contain all of the information needed to renew your license, including information about which renewal method you will be able to utilize.
You must also note that an SOS license renewal cannot be processed if your license has been stolen, lost or damaged. In this situation, you must request a duplicate/replacement drivers license. Also, it is important to understand information such as what you need to renew a drivers license and where to renew so that you can be prepared ahead of time. Once you understand what the steps are for getting a renewal and what is required of you, you can expect a much simpler and less confusing experience.
Note: You can locate the expiration date of your Illinois driving credential on the front of your driver’s license card.
Eligibility for Drivers License Renewal in Illinois
In order to renew your license, you must meet certain drivers license renewal requirements that determine eligibility. For example, you must be able to pass a vision exam, have all necessary documentation available and take a written or driving exam if required. Also, it is very important that you renew during the appropriate time period for renewal and that you have a valid Illinois drivers license to renew.
Depending on your age, your license will be valid for a different period of time. It is your responsibility to be aware of the validity of your license and renew it before it expires.
- Drivers under age 21: Your license will expire three months after your 21st
- Drivers age 21 – 80: Your license is valid for four years and will expire on your birthday.
- Drivers age 81 – 86: Your license is valid for two years.
- Drivers age 87 and older: Your license is valid for one year.
Instances When You Cannot Renew Your Drivers License in Illinois
If you have the question, “When is it not a possibility to renew my license?” the answer is that there are certain situations where you cannot complete a license renewal. As a few examples, you cannot renew your license if:
- It is more than one year before your four-year or two-year license expires, OR it is more than six months before your one-year license expires.
- Your license has been suspended or revoked.
- Your license has been lost, damaged or stolen.
How Early Can You Renew Your Drivers License in Illinois?
Knowing the answer to, “How early can you renew your drivers license?” is very important so that you do not have to face consequences like having your renewal rejected because you applied at the wrong time. Knowing how to renew your drivers license includes understanding when to renew, which depends on what type of license you have. If you have a four-year or two-year license you can renew up to one year before it expires, and if you have a one-year license you can renew up to six months before it expires.
Illinois SOS License Renewal Options
If you are wondering, “Where can I renew my drivers license?” there are multiple different options that you may use for renewal. Most renewals must be done in-person, although you may be able to renew by mail, online or by phone if you are considered a “Safe Driver.”
The Safe Driver Qualifications include having clean driving record for the past four years and being between the ages of 22 and 74. The renewal notice that you receive in the mail will indicate whether you are part of the Safe Driver Renewal Program and which renewal methods are available to you.
How to Renew Your Drivers License by Mail
You may be able to renew an expired drivers license by mail if you receive a renewal notice that states a mail renewal is an option for you. To renew via mail, you must:
- Fill out all information needed on the drivers license renewal form
- Provide payment for the renewal fee.
- Mail everything into the address included on your renewal notice.
How to Renew Your Drivers License Online
You may be able to renew a drivers license online if you receive a notice in the mail that states that you are eligible for an online renewal. To renew online, you must:
- Provide your renewal authorization number, found on your renewal form.
- Pay the renewal fee with a valid checking account, Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card.
How to Renew Your Drivers License in Person
If you are not eligible to complete an SOS license renewal through the mail, online or by phone, or if you prefer, you can renew in-person instead. To renew in-person, you must:
- Visit your local Secretary of State office.
- Provide your current driver license or ID card.
- Pass a vision exam.
- Take a written exam every eight years unless you have no traffic convictions.
- Take a driving exam if you are 75 years of age or older.
- Pay the applicable fees.
Once you finish, you will be presented with a temporary drivers license that is valid for 90 days and will serve as your drivers license for driving purposes and proof of identification during that time.
How to Renew Your Drivers License by Phone
If you received a drivers license renewal notice in the mail indicating that you are eligible for Safe Driver Renewal, you may renew your license by using the touch tone system over the phone. This service is available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. To renew by phone, you must:
- Dial (866) 545-9607.
- Follow the prompts to provide necessary information.
- Follow the prompts to pay applicable fees.
Once you complete the steps required for any of the renewal methods, your renewed license will be mailed to the address on file within 15 business days. If your license is not returned by the postal service for any reason, you must appear at a Secretary of State facility and present required identification documents to verify your residential address.
Military & Out of State Renewal in Illinois
Members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty outside of Illinois, along with their spouses and children, may drive with an expired Illinois drivers license for up to 120 days upon their return to the state. To have this extension, a Military Deferral Certificate must be carried with your expired license. Certificates are available free of charge and will be mailed to your out-of-state address once requested.
To request this certificate, mail a copy of your current Illinois driver license, a copy of the front and back of your Military ID Card and your out-of-state address to the following address:
Secretary of State
License and Medical Review Unit
2701 S. Dirksen Parkway
Springfield, IL 62723
If you are temporarily out of state and not a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, you may either renew a drivers license online, by mail or by phone if you are eligible for the Safe Driver Program, or you may request renewal forms by writing the following address:
Secretary of State,
Attn: Special License and Re-Examination Unit
2701 S. Dirksen Parkway
Springfield, Illinois 62723
You may also call 217-782-6901 for more information.
Illinois Drivers License Renewal Fees
Knowing how much it costs to renew a drivers license is crucial so that you are aware of what you may need to pay before starting the renewal. See the following information to learn what driving license renewal fee you may be required to pay:
- Driver’s License – Basic: $30
- Driver’s License – Persons age 18-20: $5
- Driver’s License – Persons age 21-68: $30
- Driver’s License – Persons age 69-80: $5
- Driver’s License – Persons age 81-86: $2
- Driver’s License – Persons age 87 and older: Free