In Illinois, the Driver Services Department of the Secretary of State Office is the agency that handles drivers license renewals. Over 8.5 million people in Illinois hold a drivers license, which means this department is pretty busy.
The Driver Services Department at the Illinois Secretary of State has more than 130 field office locations where you can go in-person to renew your license. Sometimes this is your only option, however, there are faster and easier ways to get this done by mail or online.
Steps to Renewing Your Illinois Drivers License
Two to three months before the expiration of your old license, the Illinois SOS office will send a renewal notice to the last address they have on record for you. This is why it is essential to report any change in your mailing address or you may not receive this notice.
Your renewal notice will indicate whether or not you can renew in-person, by mail or online. You will be required to go in-person to an SOS office to renew every other time your drivers license comes up for renewal. Also, all drivers 75 years old and older must pass an in-office driving test before their license will be renewed.
If mail-in or online renewal is available to you, there will be instructions on the notice for what must be done before the deadline.
Renewing an Illinois Drivers License Online
The quickest and easiest renewal method is using the online application. This option is only available to those who qualify as a “safe driver”. You meet the criteria by keeping a clean driving record for the previous four years.
Steps to renewing your Illinois drivers license online:
Obtain your safe driver renewal form. It should be mailed to you and will contain a renewal authorization number.
If your address has changed, complete the online change of address form.
Pay the renewal fee using a checking account or valid credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express accepted). A processing fee will apply to credit card payments.
Renewing an Illinois Driver’s License by Mail
The slowest option is renewing by mail, but for some people, this makes the most sense. You have two ways to request renewal forms for a mail-in submission: send in a written request or call the Special License and Re-Examination Unit.
Send in a written request to the Secretary of State
Attn: Special License and Re-Examination Unit
2701 S. Dirksen Parkway
Springfield, Illinois 62723
When to Renew an Illinois Drivers License
When you have to renew your drivers license depends on your age. Here’s how it breaks down:
For drivers between the ages of 21 and 80 years old, an Illinois driver’s license expires on the driver’s birthday four years after the license is initially issued.
Drivers aged 81 up to age 86 must renew their licenses every two years.
People over the age of 87 must renew every year.
People under the age of 21 must renew their license within three months of their 21st birthday.
If your license expires, you can still renew it for up to one year after the expiration date, but it is against the law to drive with an expired license. If your license has been expired for over one year, you will have to reapply in-person at an Illinois Secretary of State field office.
Renewing a Suspended or Revoked Drivers License
Suspended drivers licenses in Illinois have specific renewal requirements that must be fulfilled before you can reactivate your license. For example, a suspended license holder may be required to provide proof of completion of an alcohol or drug treatment program after getting a DUI or DWI citation before their license can be reinstated.
Revoked licenses require the license holder to appear for a hearing at the SOS office before the license can be reinstated. As long as you can prove you met the requirements for reinstatement your license should be active again and you can renew it like normal.
Fees for Driver’s License Renewal in Illinois
The cost of a drivers license renewal is:
$30 for people between the ages of 21 and 68 years old.
$5 for drivers who are under age 20 and seniors between the ages of 69 to 80 years old.
$2 for people aged 81 and older.
Free of charge if you’re still in the clear to drive after turning 87 years old.
Need more driver training? Take our DMV practice test and see how your driving skills rank!
*This article was updated on 6/17/2020