Illinois Driver's License Renewa

Illinois Driver’s License Renewal – A Complete Guide

Zutobi
by Zutobi · Updated Jun 28, 2021

Renewing your license in Illinois can seem like a daunting task when you try to navigate the government site. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be! This guide will tell you everything you need to know to make the process as stress-free as possible.

How Often Do I Need to Renew My Illinois Driver’s License?

Your Illinois driver’s license will be valid for 1-4 years based on your age.

  • Drivers Under 21: Your license expires three months after your 21st birthday.
  • Drivers Ages 21-80: Your license is valid for four years and expires on your birthday.
  • Drivers 81-86: Your license is valid for two years and expires on your birthday.
  • Drivers 87 and older: Requires annual renewal

You may renew up to a year before your license expires. Those who renew annually can renew up to 6 months early.

How Will I Know When It's Time to Renew?

You should receive a notice in the mail about 90 days before your license is set to expire. It will outline what documents you need and which tests will be necessary. You will not receive a notice if you fail to notify the Secretary of State office of a name or address change.

How to Renew an Illinois Driver’s License

You can choose between 4 ways to renew your driver’s license in Illinois:

  1. In-person
  2. Online
  3. By phone
  4. By mail

#1 – In-Person License Renewal

  1. Visit a current Driver’s Service Facility
  2. Present your current license and renewal notice
  3. If applicable, take any appropriate exams (Vision, Written, or Driving)
  4. Make any corrections to your legal name and address, as they are necessary to have your license mailed to you.
  5. Pay the appropriate fee listed below, and take a new photo.

If you get a Safe Driver invite and it is close to your expiration time, consider going in person. You will not receive a temporary paper license online, by mail, or by phone!

#2 – Online Renewal

Submit your authorization number and information on the Safe Driver renewal page

#3 – Renewal by Phone

You will need to receive a Safe Driver renewal form, as it contains your authorization number. You can then call (866) 545-9607 to renew.

#4 – License Renewal by Mail

Mail a provided mailing form when they send the invitation to renew your license from home. You will receive a new license in the mail approximately 15 days later.

Special Requirements if Changes Are Required or Your License Is Lost 

In this case, you will also need to present approved documentation of:

  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Proof of residency if you are changing your address. One document for a standard id, and two for a REAL-ID
  • Proof of Written Signature

Once these criteria are met, you will be given a temporary paper license that will expire in 90 days. You will receive your card in the mail in about 15 days. It must be delivered to the same address as provided by the applicant. Keep in mind that it has to go to your address. The Post Office will not forward it or hold the letter for you.

License Renewal Tests

If you need to take the written test, it will consist of 35 questions from the Illinois Rules of the Road Handbook, with a focus on state laws and safety guidelines. You must get 28 right to pass. Even if you have a perfect driving record, it doesn’t hurt to look over practice tests and study references designed for your state.

If you need to take the driving test, you will need to provide your own vehicle, and it must fit all safety standards like no bald tires, all lights must work, and windows must be unobstructed.

Need to take any exams for your renewal? Make sure to pass on the first try! Try out our Summarized Illinois Drivers Handbook and practice tests.

What if My License is Expired?

You have up to one year to renew an expired license in Illinois. If you fail to renew in the time period, you will be required to take additional tests to renew your card. 

There are no listed penalty fees for late renewals. However, getting caught with an expired license can cost you! If you are pulled over with an expired license, it is considered driving without a valid license- a Class A misdemeanor. This can result in heavy fines, a suspension of your license, and even jail time if you are pulled over. You’ll also be penalized points on your record, which could lead to other penalties and higher car insurance premiums.

How Much Does Illinois Driver’s License Renewal Cost?

The driver’s license renewal fee in Illinois is based on your age. As of 2021, you can expect to pay:

  • Age 18-21: $5
  • Age 21-68: $30
  • Age 69-86: $5
  • Age 87+: $2

If you have any tickets, pending fines, reinstatement fees, or other charges on your record, they will need to be paid in full before you can renew your license. You can pay your reinstatement fees online to have your record updated instantly. 

Locations to Renew License

You will need to visit your nearest Driver Services facility location in person to renew your license. To renew from home you must match all three following criteria: 

  • You have a clean driving record
  • Your Social Security number is verified 
  • You are between the ages of 22 and 74


If you are invited to do so, you will receive a notice in the mail with your authorization number and instructions. You will then have the option to renew by mail, phone, or online that year. You can not receive this invitation two renewal periods in a row, so you will still need to visit the facilities office every eight years.

Can My Driving Record Affect My Ability to Renew My License?

Yes. You can not renew your Illinois driver’s license until all unpaid fees and fines are taken care of. You also can not renew your license while it is suspended or revoked. Keeping a clean driving record is key to a smooth renewal process.

You can request to check your driving record to endure there is nothing pending, and Illinois provides a quick reference to reinstating your license if you need to.

That’s it!

Need to take any exams for your renewal? Make sure to pass on the first try! Try out our Summarized Drivers Handbook and Illinois practice tests.

Take our full course with tests and theory

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