Renewing Your License in Illinois
Renewing your driver license?
Perfect time to compare car insurance rates.
1. Start Your Quote:
You must have a valid driver’s license to drive. It should not be suspended, lost, or expired. Your renewal notice arrives anywhere from six to nine months before the license expires. To find out how to renew, see below.
Adequate insurance is necessary, too. To check out rates online, see our Insurance Center.
Drivers with a regular or motorcycle license renew every four years, though usually you only have to make an appearance every eight years. Commercial drivers have a different renewal method.
When your license expires depends on how old you are.
- Under 21: Three months after your 21st birthday.
- 21-80: Every four years.
- 81-86: Every two years.
- 87 and up: Every year.
Not sure when your license is set to expire or if the state has your correct address? Look at your driving record.
The only people who can drive with expired licenses for 90 days without penalty are active duty military and their families.
If you’ve let your license expire (and you aren’t driving around on an illegal license) you can still renew it for up to one year without penalty. If you stop driving for more than that, then you’ll have to retake all the driver tests.
Your driving record will tell you how long the suspension is in effect and whether any driving is a possibility. It may be possible to apply for limited driving, even if your license has been suspended.
After you get your license back, you’ll probably have a higher insurance rate, depending on the reason for suspension. Now would be the time to shop insurance rates to see if anyone can cut you a better deal.
Report a lost or stolen license right away, and get it replaced as quick as you can.
About six to nine months before your license expires, you’ll receive a renewal notice in the mail (so be sure to change your address with the state if you move). This letter contains:
- Information about your license status, whether you need to take any tests, and whether you’re eligible to use the Safe Driver Renewal.
- Fees due.
- An online renewal number, if applicable.
- Mailing and telephone instructions, if applicable.
Good drivers between the ages of 21 and 80 may qualify to renew their license online with the Safe Driver Sticker Renewal system. If you qualify, your renewal letter will include a 14-digit renewal authorization number and you’ll be sent a renewal sticker to put on your license. You may only renew online every other time, so you’ll have to go in every eight years.
When you go online, be prepared to:
- Provide the renewal authorization number from your renewal letter.
- Verify that all information is correct.
- Pay the $30 renewal fee by electronic check or credit card (there’s an extra $1.75 processing fee if paying by card.)
- Print the confirmation page for your records.
- Your renewal sticker will arrive in about two weeks. Stick it onto the back of your license.
To verify that your electronic application is being processed, you can contact the Safe Driver program using an online form.
NOTE: Your renewed license will be sent to the address on file. If your license is returned by the postal service for any reason, you will be required to appear at a driver's license office and present two forms of acceptable proof to verify your current address.
Who Doesn't Qualify
Not everyone can use the Safe Driver renewal program, including:
- Those with suspended or canceled licenses in this state or from any other.
- Commercial or school bus drivers.
- Those involved in any accidents during the last four years.
- Those with any new medical or vision changes that affect driving.
- Those who have changed name or gender.
- Those who have moved after you get a renewal notice.
Out of State Drivers
If you’re out of state, send a request for forms to:
- Secretary of State
- Attn: Special License and Re-Examination Unit
- 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway
- Springfield, IL 62723
Or call (217) 782-2720.
You may also renew your license under the Safe Driver Program by mail or by telephone. The instructions are included in the renewal letter.
If you don't qualify to renew online, you must renew in person. Even safe drivers must do this every eight years.
There is a $30 renewal fee. Your renewal notice will tell you if you need additional identification and a written or vision test. Renew at any Secretary of State's driver services office.
Traffic laws change more often than you renew your license. Taking a supplemental traffic school course to learn what’s new and remember what you may have forgotten is never a bad idea. Plus, the class could earn you a break on insurance.
Read your policy to see if this break is offered. If not, it might be the season to look into other insurance companies and see what deals they can offer you.
Other Topics in This Section
Your Opinion Matters To Us!Send Feedback
We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.