The Illinois Secretary of State’s office will mail you a renewal letter 60 to 90 days prior to the expiration date listed on your driver’s license or identification (ID) card. It will be mailed to the address on record, so if you’ve moved and have not updated your address, you may not receive the letter. Illinois law requires you to update address or name changes within 10 days of the change. Here’s more information from Illinois about making address changes.
There are a variety of fee types when you renew or replace a license or ID card. You might also be required to take a test, depending on the type of license. Once you renew a license it will be mailed to you within 15 business days.
You can generally renew an Illinois license or ID online or in person.
If you have kept a clean driving record for the past four years, you should qualify for the safe driver renewal process. This means you haven’t had any traffic violations such as speeding or running a red light and you haven’t caused accidents. If your renewal letter says you’re a safe driver, you should have the option to renew online. You will need:
- The authorization number on your renewal form.
- A valid checking account or a valid Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express.
- To pay a processing fee.
A renewed license will be mailed to the address on record within 15 business days.
If you do not have the option to renew your license online, you will have to visit a Secretary of State facility. You may need to take an exam or screening:
- If you are age 75 or older.
- Every Illinois driver must take a written exam every eight years unless you have no traffic violation convictions, such as a speeding ticket. If you have an accident record, you may be required to take an exam.
- A vision screening is required for anyone who renews at a Secretary of State facility.
You may need to provide:
- Proof that you have liability insurance.
- Identification. The Secretary of State offers this list of acceptable documents.
If you are a member of the U.S. armed forces on active duty outside Illinois, you and your spouse and/or children can drive with an expired license for 120 days after you return to the state. A Military Deferment Certificate must be carried with your expired license. These certificates are available at no charge and can be mailed to your out-of-state address. To get a Military Deferment Certificate, you will need:
- A copy of your current driver’s license.
- A copy of the front and back of your military ID card.
- Your out-of-state address.
See more information in this FAQ from Illinois.
What documents are needed to replace a lost driver’s license in Illinois?
If you need to replace a lost license or ID in Illinois, you can apply for a duplicate. You will need to verify your identification. Here is a list of acceptable documents. If you’re over age 60 and your license/ID was stolen, you may be able to get a free duplicate if you also provide a copy of the police report.
You will need to go to a Secretary of State facility. You will leave the facility with a temporary driver’s license or ID and a permanent one will be mailed to you within 15 business days.
What documents are needed for a Real ID in Illinois?
The Real ID is a state-issued driver’s license or ID card that meets federal standards to help combat identity theft and terrorism. You’ll need a Real ID card to board domestic flights, and enter military bases, nuclear facilities and some federal buildings. The Real ID law goes into effect on Oct. 1, 2020.
The Illinois Secretary of State has provided an interactive checklist to help you apply for a Real ID driver’s license or identification card. Real ID licenses have a gold star in the upper right corner.
For more information on renewing an Illinois driver’s license or state ID, name changes, gender changes and other questions, see the Secretary of State website.
Updated Oct. 22, 2019