License Renewal in Illinois
COVID-19 Effects on Licensing Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state DMVs nationwide have closed driver licensing offices, extended license and registration expiration dates, and/or limited the transactions they are processing. If possible, residents should use the SOS' online services to complete any relevant transactions. Follow the SOS' recent updates for the latest information.
How to Renew Your Driver's License in Illinois
To renew an IL driver's license, you can either:
- Log on to the Illinois Secretary of State(SOS) website and pay the renewal fee according to your age group.
- Mail in your driver's license renewal notice.
- Call the SOS and follow your notice instruction to renew by phone.
- Visit an Illinois SOS office with your renewal notice and proof of identification.
- For more details on these driver's license renewal option, please see below.
Illinois REAL ID Driver's License
The Illinois SOS has begun issuing federally-compliant REAL ID driver’s licenses in addition to non-compliant driver’s licenses. As of October 1, 2021, the REAL ID will function as federal identification for domestic travel and entry into federal and military buildings—your standard license will not after this date. You can choose to receive either a REAL ID or non-compliant ID upon renewal—details are outlined below.
When to Renew Your Illinois Driver's License
The Illinois Office of the Secretary of State (SOS) will send you a renewal notice 60 to 90 days before your driver's license expires.
Depending on your age, your IL driver's license will be valid for different lengths of time:
- 21 to 80 years old: 4 years (expires on your birthday).
- 81 to 86 years old: 2 years.
- 87 years old and older: must renew every year.
Valid Driver's License
You can renew your valid IL driver's license at different times depending on how long your current card is valid for:
- Driver licenses valid for 2 years or 4 years: Up to 1 year before the expiration date.
- Driver's license valid 1 year: Up to 6 months before the expiration date.
If you're under 21 years old, you must renew your IL driver's license 3 months after your 21st birthday.
NOTE: If your license is going to expire tomorrow, the IL SOS recommends you visit your nearest IL DMV office to ensure you have a valid IL driver license prior to it expiring.
Expired Driver's License
Do NOT drive if your IL driver license or motorcycle license has expired.
If your IL driver's license has been expired for 1 year or less, you are still eligible for renewal.
If you let your Illinois driver license stay expired for more than 1 year, you cannot renew your IL driver license online and you may be subject to additional testing requirements.
Suspended & Revoked Driver's Licenses
If you have a suspended IL driver license, the IL SOS will take away your driving privilege temporarily or until you meet specific reinstatement requirements. You cannot renew your suspended driver's license in Illinois until it has been reinstated.
If your IL driver's license is revoked, you lose the privilege to drive and will not be able to reapply for your IL driver license until you appear before a Secretary of State hearing office
Since you cannot renew your suspended IL driver license, you may choose to apply for an IL state ID card as a form of valid identification. Visit our pages about IL Identification Cards and Suspended Licenses for more information.
Lost or Stolen Driver's License
If your Illinois driver license is lost or stolen, read our Replacing a Lost License in Illinois page to find out how to apply for a duplicate driver's license in Illinois.
You may need it for identification purposes when submitting your IL driver license renewal application.
If your lost IL driver's license is due for renewal, you can renew it instead of replacing it.
Illinois Driver License Renewal Requirements
Check your Illinois driver's license renewal notice to find out if you must renew your IL driver license online, by mail, by phone, or in person at your local Illinois DMV office.
Q: Which license can I travel with after 2020?
A: One of the biggest ways the REAL ID act will affect most Americans is in domestic travel. After October 2020, you will NOT be able to use a standard (non-compliant) license as your proof of ID an airport. Only the REAL ID will be accepted. If you prefer a non-compliant license, you'll need to bring additional proof of identification (like your passport).
Your renewal notice will give you the information you need to renew your IL driver's license, including:
- Renewal options (online, by mail, by phone, or in person).*
- Your 14-digit renewal authorization number.
- Testing requirements (if applicable):
- If you're required to retake the Illinois drive exam during the IL renewal process, you'll also be asked to prove financial responsibility with a minimum of liability insurance. For more information about the IL road test, see the IL Driver Handbook.
- Fees (see the “Fees to Renew Your IL Driver License" section below).
The IL SOS office will mail your renewed IL driver's license to your address on file within 15 business days. If you don't receive it, contact the IL SOS to check the status of your license renewal.
*NOTE: If you are upgrading from a non-compliant license to a federally compliant REAL ID license, you MUST visit the SOS in person for renewal and resubmit all required identity documents. The SOS offers a guide to acceptable proofs.
Social Security Number Verification
Your information with the Social Security Administration (SSA) must be up to date before the Illinois SOS will issue your renewed IL driver's license.
The Illinois SOS must be able to verify your Social Security number (SSN), name, and date of birth with the SSA in order to process your request.
Address & Name Changes
You must notify the Illinois SOS office within 10 days of your name change OR change of address if you hold a valid IL driver license.
You need to first change your name and/or address on file with the IL SOS before you renew your IL driver's license online.
Renewing Your IL Driver's License
Depending on your circumstances, you can renew your driver's license in Illinois:
- By mail.
- By phone.
- In person.
If you are upgrading from a non-compliant license to a federally compliant REAL ID license, you MUST visit the SOS in person for renewal and resubmit all required identity documents. The SOS offers a guide to acceptable proofs.
If you're eligible to renew your Illinois driver license online, visit the Illinois SOS driver license renewal page.
You can only renew your IL driver's license online if the Illinois SOS considers you a safe driver. Your IL driving record must be clean for at least 4 years, and you must also meet other requirements, including the following:
- You must be over 22 years old and under 74 years old.
- Your driving privileges must not be suspended, cancelled, or revoked in any state.
- Your IL driver's license must NOT have expired more than 1 year ago.
For a complete list of eligibility requirements for the Illinois Safe Driver renewal program, please visit the IL Secretary of State website.
To renew your IL driver's license with the Illinois SOS by mail, you'll need:
- A completed IL driver's license renewal notice.
- If you recently moved, be sure to include your change of address information.
- Payment for the renewal fee. See the “Fees to Renew Your IL Driver's License" section below.
Send the above documents to the address specified on your renewal notice.
The IL DMV will process and mail your renewed IL driver license within 15 business days.
NOTE: If you changed your address, you may need to provide 1 document to prove your residency during your next visit at your local IL DMV office.
If the IL SOS office sends you a renewal notice stating you're eligible for their “Safe Driver Renewal," you can renew anytime by calling (866) 545-9607.
For information on specific fees and acceptable payment methods, please view the section “Fees to Renew Your IL Driver's License" below.
You can renew your IL driver's license up to 1 year before it expires if you have a license that was valid 2 years or 4 years.
To renew your IL driver license in person at your local IL DMV office, you will need:
- Your valid Illinois driver's license.
- Your IL renewal notice.
- Required proof of identity, if you're upgrading to a REAL ID.
- Payment for the renewal fee. See the “Fees to Renew Your IL Driver's License" section below.
- To take a:
- Vision test.
- Driving test, if you are over 75 years old.
- Written and/or road test, if you have a traffic incident on your Illinois driving record.
NOTE: You will be required to take a written exam in Illinois every 8 years, unless you have not received a traffic ticket.
If you need to change your name or address, you will also need to prove your identity with:
- 1 document from Group A, such as your:
- Current IL driver's license.
- Current out-of-state driver's license.
- Major credit/debit card.
- 1 document from Group D if your address has changed.
The SOS provides a complete list of acceptable identification documents.
The IL SOS will update your IL driver's license with a new photo and issue your renewed IL driver license before you leave the facility.
Military Renewal Deferment in Illinois
Notice for Military Members Stationed in Germany
If you are currently stationed in Germany, please be aware that some states require you to have a valid U.S. driver's license in addition to your USAREUR license. Read our article for more information.
If you're stationed outside of Illinois on active military duty, OR you are a civilian member of the DoD or U.S. Armed Forces, you may drive with an expired driver license for up to 120 days after returning to the state. The same rule applies for your dependents and spouse.
You must carry a Military Deferral Certificate with your expired IL driver's license. To request one at no charge, you'll need:
- A copy of:
- Your current Illinois driver's license.
- The front and back of your military ID card.
- A statement noting your out-of-state mailing address.
Send the above to:
Secretary of State
License and Medical Review Unit
2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy.
Springfield, IL 62723
To get specific information about the status of your specific license renewal situation, call (217) 782-2720.
Fees to Renew Your IL Driver's License
The following fees apply when renewing your driver's license in Illinois:
- 18 to 20 years old: $5.
- 21 to 68 years old: $30.
- 69 to 80 years old: $5.
- 81 to 86 years old: $2.
- 87 years old and older: Free.
- Class M (motorcycle license): $5.
- Upgrade to Class M (motorcycle license): $10.
NOTE: If you renew your Illinois driver license online, you must pay an additional $1.75 fee.