Illinois Driver’s License Renewal (A Complete 2024 Guide)

Illinois Driver’s License Renewal (A Complete Guide)

Is it time to renew your Illinois driver’s license

Now, if you don’t know what to do, it might make your renewal experience more challenging than it is. 

So to avoid that, we’re here to give you a complete guide to the Illinois driver’s license renewal requirements. 

We’ll list all the renewal channels available in the state, as well as the requirements and steps for each one. 

Plus, we’ll also answer some of the most asked questions about driver’s license renewal in Illinois. 

Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

How to Renew A Driver’s License in Illinois 

The Illinois Secretary of State sends a notice around 60 to 90 days before your license expires. So that’s when you know it’s time. 

However, regardless of whether or not you receive it, you must be responsible for your license’s renewal.

That said, there are 4 ways you can renew your driver’s license in Illinois.

  • Online
  • By Phone
  • By Mail
  • In-Person

Let’s get into the details of how to renew with each channel. 

How to Renew An Illinois Driver’s License Online

One of the most convenient ways to complete your license renewal is by doing it online. 

No lines. No commute. No waiting. 

You can do everything from the comfort of your home!

Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies for this. You can only renew online if you can check off all these boxes:

  • The Office of the Secretary of State classifies you as a “Safe Driver” (you can read more about the Safe Driver qualifications here
  • Your renewal notice contains your renewal authorization number
  • You’re not required to retake a written or road test
  • You don’t have to submit an updated medical or vision report
  • You’re comfortable paying an online fee on top of the renewal cost

If you check all 5, here are your next steps:

  1. Go to the Safe Driver Renewal site and enter your 14-digit renewal authorization code.

NOTE: If you’ve changed address since your last renewal, you must update your information before completing the process. You can do this online through the Address Change online service.

  1. Follow the prompts on the screen.
  1. Pay for the renewal fee, which depends on your age:
  • 18 to 21 AND 69 to 86 — $5 
  • 22 to 68 — $30 
  • 87 and older — $2 

NOTE: There is an additional charge for online payments. You can use an electronic check or a credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express only). 

  1. Receive your temporary license in PDF form. Your permanent one arrives via mail within 15 days.

Easy, right?

How to Renew An Illinois Driver’s License by Phone

You can renew your driver’s license by phone if you’re a Safe Driver. And if you want to complete the renewal process this way, follow these steps:

  1. Call the Telephone Renewal System at (866) 545.9607. Don’t worry about the time — the service is available 24/7.
  1. The system will ask whether you want to renew your driver’s license or registration. Choose the former.
  1. Provide your 14-digit renewal authorization number.
  1. Follow the rest of the prompts.
  1. Pay the renewal fee via American Express, Discover, or Mastercard credit card. 
  1. Receive your new driver’s license through the mail.

This channel requires more planning because, unlike online renewal, you won’t get a temporary license. It means it’s best to submit your application at least 30 days before your license expires to ensure you get your new one on time.

How to Renew An Illinois Driver’s License by Mail

Like online and phone renewals, this channel isn’t available for everyone.

You’ll know if you’re eligible for mail renewal if your notice from the Secretary of State indicates it. The notice will also include the instructions to complete the process. 

Once the Secretary of State’s office processes your renewal application, it will mail your new license to your address. 

Again, you need to renew 30 days before your license expires as you won’t get a temporary driver’s license. 

How to Renew An Illinois Driver’s License In-Person

Unfortunately, not everyone can utilize online, phone, or mail renewal. Most drivers will need to complete the process in person.

If this channel is the only one available to you, or if it’s your preference, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Visit any State of Secretary facility in your area. Ensure you check the requirements for each site. Some entertain walk-ins, but others require appointments.
  1. Complete a renewal application form, which you can only get from the facility.
  1. Pass a vision screening (all drivers who renew in person must undergo this).
  1. Show your current driver’s license. Also, if your personal details have changed, you must show the necessary supporting documents.
  1. Pass a written exam required every 8 years (if applicable) 
  1. Have your picture taken.
  1. Pay the renewal fee through cash, check, or card.
  1. Get your temporary license. The permanent one arrives via mail in about 15 days.

And there you have it. 

Sure, it isn’t as convenient as the other channels, but it’s still super simple. 

Frequently Asked Questions

As promised, we’re going to end by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about driver’s license renewal in Illinois. 

Do I need an appointment to renew my driver’s license in Illinois?

It depends on the facility you go to.  Some locations will entertain walk-ins, while others don’t. 

To make it easier for you, the Illinois Secretary of State made a list of all the locations, whether it requires an appointment or not, and what services it offers

When does my driver’s license expire in Illinois?

For most drivers in Illinois, you must renew your license every 4 years, before your birthday. However, depending on your age, this may change.

For example, the first time you need to undergo the renewal process is right after your 21st birthday. In Illinois, all licenses expire when someone reaches 21 years old, regardless of when you got yours.

Also, when you turn 81, your license expires biennially. So you’ll need to renew it every other year. This timeline continues until you’re 86. 

Drivers who are 87 or older need to go through the renewal process every year.

How long is the grace period for driver’s license renewal in Illinois?

The grace period for renewing your Illinois driver’s license is one year. You may have to take additional driving tests if you don’t complete the process in that time.

How much does it cost to renew my driver’s license in Illinois?

Renewal fees vary depending on your age. You’ll see the different rates below:

  • 18 to 21 AND 69 to 86 — $5 
  • 22 to 68 — $30 
  • 87 and older — $2 

 Don’t forget that if you renew online or over the phone, you also pay a small processing fee.

Do you have to take a written test to renew your driver’s license in Illinois? 

Drivers in Illinois must take a written exam every 8 years. However, there is a way for you to skip this — by being a Safe Driver.

The Wrap Up

And that was your complete guide to the Illinois driver’s license renewal requirements. 

If you’re classified as a Safe Driver, then you’ll have convenience on your side. You can renew your driver’s license online, over the phone, or by mail. 

If not, then you’ll have to renew it at a Secretary of State facility. But don’t worry, the steps are still very easy. 

So now that you know what to do, what are you waiting for?

Get started on the renewal process today!

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