FAQ Driver Services
Is it possible for me to obtain a copy of my own or another person's driving record?
Yes. An abstract of a driving record can be purchased online in person at a Driver Services Facility or by writing the Secretary of State, 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, IL 62723. Facility Finder . How to Read Your Driving Record
If you are the parent or legal guardian of a minor person (under age 18) and are requesting the driving record of that minor person, the requestor must submit a notarized written permission of the person listed on the request form to obtain the driving record and pay the $12 fee.
If you are an immediate family member (parent/legal guardian, brother, sister, spouse, grandparent, child or grandchild) of the adult person (age 18 or older) and are requesting the driving record of that adult person, the requestor must submit a notarized written permission of the person listed on the request form to obtain the driving record and pay the $12 fee.
The cost for a certified abstract of a driving record is $12.00. If you are purchasing another person's driving record, you must provide the driver's full name, sex and date of birth or driver's license number. Before any information will be released, notification will be sent to the person whose record has been requested, giving the date and name of the person making the request.
Disclosing an address or other personal information about a licensee is prohibited. However, convictions, withdrawals and crashes will be furnished.
I received a traffic ticket last year. How long will it stay on my driving record?
Moving violations such as speeding, disregarding a traffic control light, improper lane usage, etc. remain on a driver's record for four to five years from the date of conviction. If the ticket forms the basis for a suspension or revocation, the information will be carried on your driving record for a minimum of seven years from the date of reinstatement. Alcohol/drug offenses remain on a driver's record for a lifetime.
How often do I have to be tested to keep my driver's license?
A driver is required to take a written test at least once every eight years if traffic convictions have occurred. Everyone must have his or her vision screened when applying for a renewal, with the exception of Safe Driver Renewals. All persons age 75 or older must take a driving test at each renewal. Drivers age 81-86 must have their licenses renewed every two years, while persons age 87 and older must renew annually.
Can I renew my license before my renewal letter arrives in the mail?
Yes. The renewal letter is not required to renew a driver's license. The license may be renewed up to one year before the expiration date.
How can I renew my Illinois driver's license while I am temporarily out-of-state?
You can request renewal forms by writing the Secretary of State, Attn: Special License and Re-Examination Unit, 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, Illinois 62723 or by telephoning 217-782-2720. You may be eligible to renew your driver's license through the Safe Driver Renewal Program. You may inquire about Safe Driver Renewal by writing Secretary of State, Attn: Safe Driver Renewal, Central Services Section, 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, Illinois 62723 or by calling 217-785-1424.
I am temporarily out-of-state and have lost my Illinois driver's license. What are my options?
Please telephone the Special License and Re-Examination Unit of the Secretary of State's office at 217-782-2720. They will provide information on receiving an application for a duplicate driver's license that will be mailed to you at your out-of-state address.
I am in the military, stationed outside the state of Illinois, and my license is expiring. How can I renew without coming back to Illinois?
As a member of the military stationed outside the state of Illinois, you, your spouse and children living with you may all have the expiration of your driver's licenses deferred for up to 120 days after your discharge or reassignment to a military base in Illinois. Military Deferral Certificate(s) to be carried with your expired Illinois driver's license can be issued at no charge and mailed to your out-of-state address.
In order to obtain a Military Deferral Certificate, mail a copy of your current Illinois driver's license, a copy of the front and back of your Military Identification Card and your out-of-state address to the Secretary of State, License and Medical Review Unit, 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, IL 62723. You may also email the information to MilitaryDeferral@ilsos.gov
You may also inquire about fully renewing the illinois driver's license with the Special License and Re-Examination Unit of the Secretary of State's office. You can request renewal forms by writing the Secretary of state, Attn: Special License and Re-Examination Unit, 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, Illinois 62723 or by telephoning 217-782-2720.
If you have questions regarding a Military Deferral Certificate, you may contact the License and Medical Review Unit at 217-782-2720.
You also may be eligible to renew your driver's license through the Safe Driver Renewal Program.
It may be helpful to know that Illinois drivers can renew their licenses up to one year before a four-year or two-year license expires, or six months before a one-year license expires.
What is the difference between a suspension and a revocation?
Suspension means that you temporarily lose your driving privileges for a designated period of time or until you meet certain reinstatement requirements. Revocation means that your driving privileges are taken away indefinitely. If revoked, you may not reapply for your license for at least one year.
What is a Statutory Summary Suspension?
If you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, other drugs and/or intoxicating compounds (DUI), the arresting officer will request that you submit to chemical testing. Refusal to submit to this testing will result in a 12 or 36-month suspension. Submission to testing that reveals a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more or any amount of a drug, substance, or compound resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis, a controlled substance or unlawful use of an intoxicating compound will result in a 6 or 12-month suspension.
What is a Field Sobriety Suspension?
A police officer who has reasonable suspicion to believe that a person driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle is impaired by the use of cannabis may ask the driver to submit to standardized field sobriety tests. If a driver refuses or fails to complete standardized field sobriety tests or if the tests disclose that the driver is impaired by the use of cannabis, a field sobriety test suspension will be imposed. Field sobriety test suspensions are automatic and effective on the 46th day from the date of the suspension notice. This suspension does not replace criminal penalties for a DUI conviction. An offender may request a judicial hearing to challenge the suspension however, the request does not stop the suspension from taking effect. A person’s driver’s license may be suspended for both a field sobriety test suspension and a statutory summary suspension at the same time.
I received a Statutory Summary Suspension/Field Sobriety Suspension. When will it terminate?
Provided the minimum period of suspension has elapsed, the suspension will terminate after the required $250 reinstatement fee has been paid and the appropriate entry has been made to your driving record. A second or subsequent suspension requires payment of a $500 reinstatement fee. During the period of this suspension, your driver's license is retained by the court wherein your DUI case was processed, and you will need to contact that court regarding the return of your driver's license.
I received a Statutory Summary Suspension. How do I apply for driving relief?
If you are a first-time offender or first-time DUI offender, you may be eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit. This permit will allow you to drive to any location at anytime during your suspension with the requirement that you drive a car equipped with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID).
What is a Zero Tolerance Suspension?
A driver under age 21 who is arrested for any violation of the Illinois Vehicle Code will be asked to submit to chemical testing if the arresting officer has reason to believe the driver has consumed any amount of an alcoholic beverage. Refusal to submit to this testing will result in a six- or 24-month suspension. Submission to testing that reveals a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.00 will result in a three- or 12-month suspension.
What happens if I am convicted of DUI?
If you are convicted of a DUI, your driver's license and driving privileges will be revoked for a minimum of one year for the first offense, five years for a second offense committed within a 20-year period, 10 years for a third offense and lifetime revocation for a fourth or subsequent offense.
However, if you are under age 21 at the time of the DUI conviction, your driver's license and driving privileges will be revoked for a minimum of two years for your first offense; a second offense will result in a license revocation for a minimum of five years or until your 21st birthday, whichever is longer; third offense a minimum of 10 years; and a lifetime revocation for a fourth or subsequent offense.
How can I pay a driver's license reinstatement fee owed to the Secretary of State's office for a suspension or revocation?
A $70, $250 or $500 reinstatement fee for a suspension or a revocation can be paid by mail with a check, cashier's check or money order made payable to the Secretary of State with the affected driver's license number written on the front of the fee. Our mailing address is Secretary of State, Driver Services Department, 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, Illinois 62723.
A $70 reinstatement fee for the Zero Tolerance Suspension, and the $250 and $500 fees for Statutory Summary Suspensions and Revocations may only be paid to the Springfield office. All other reinstatement fees may be paid in person at our Springfield office or at the Chicago Public Service Center at 17 North State St., Suite 1000 in Chicago. Additional reinstatement fee processing is available at certain Driver Services Facility. For information on facility hours, addresses and types of services offered, please select a Driver Services Facility or call either the Secretary of State's toll-free number at 1-800-252-8980 or the Secretary of State's Chicago Information Line at 312-793-1010.
You can also pay online. Pay Driver's License Reinstatement Fees
My driving privileges are suspended. Am I eligible for a Probationary License?
To be eligible for a Probationary License, you must be suspended for three months or less for being convicted of three moving traffic violations issued within a 12-month period. You must have a driver's license, which is not expired, in your possession and you must be at least 21 years of age. You also must attend an eight-hour Defensive Driving Class. A Probationary License will not restrict you to driving during certain hours or within a certain radius. Contact the Special License and Re-Examination Unit of the Secretary of State's office at 217-782-2720 to begin the process.
What is Illinois' seat belt law?
The driver and all occupants are required to be protected by a safety belt or safety restraint system, regardless of age.
Passengers under age 16 regardless of location in the vehicle must be protected by a safety belt or restraint system. Refer to the Child Passenger Protection Act.
Drivers under age 18 are currently required to limit passengers to one in the front seat and the number of seat belts in the back seat. However during the first six months of their license (or until they reach the age of 18, whichever occurs sooner) they are limited to only one passenger under the age of 20 (except immediate family which includes siblings or children of the driver). All passengers under age 18, with a driver under age 18, regardless of location in the vehicle must be belted. Refer to the Graduated Licensing System.
How do I get my license and registration corrected if my name or address changes?
Within 10 days of changing your name or address, you must notify the Secretary of State by visiting a Driver Services facility or by writing to the Driver Services Department, Central Services, 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, Illinois 62723. If you wish to have a new driver's license reflecting the change, you must visit a driver facility and pay a $5 fee. To change your address, you can use the online Address Change Notification to transmit notification of address changes to the Driver Services Department. Please be sure to include your Driver's License or Identification Card number and registration number. A change of name for driver's license or ID card must be completed at a Driver Services facility. A CDL holder must obtain a corrected driver's license within 30 days of any such change.
I'm a new Illinois resident. How do I get a driver's license and automobile registration?
As a new Illinois resident, you may continue to drive on your valid out-of-state driver's license for 90 days. CDL holders must notify the Secretary of State's office within 10 days of a change in their name and/or address and must obtain a corrected CDL within 30 days of any such change. To obtain a new driver's license, you must visit a Driver Services facility to surrender your out-of-state license and pass a vision screening, written exam and possibly a drive exam. (Note: Express facilities do not process out of state transfers or offer written testing.) You must change your vehicle registration within 30 days by filling out a form at a Driver Services facility.
What can I do if I don't receive my license plate sticker renewal notice before it expires?
Visit your nearest Driver Services facility (outside Cook County) to obtain a registration application, or call 1-800-252-8980. If you reside in the Chicago area, call 312-793-1010.
I received an enforcement notice in the mail for a parking ticket that I believe was not issued to my vehicle. What can I do to contest this action?
If the ticket notice is from the City of Chicago, you can work with the city to request a mail-in hearing to have a city hearing officer review the ticket to determine proper liability. To do so, you will need to send a written request for a mail-in hearing to the City of Chicago, Bureau of Parking Enforcement, 121 N. LaSalle Street, Room 107, Chicago, Illinois 60602.
Accompanying your request should be proof that the vehicle described in the ticket enforcement notice is not your vehicle, such as a copy of your vehicle's license registration card, or proof that your vehicle was not at the place indicated on the ticket at the stated time, such as a copy of your time sheet from work or a letter from your employer. For more information on contesting a Chicago parking ticket, please call 1-312-744-7275.
If the ticket notice is from another municipality, the ticket often can be contested in a manner similar to that of Chicago tickets. Contact the municipality for more information.
I have moved out-of-state and wish to obtain a new license. The licensing authorities in that state require that I provide them with a letter of clearance as proof that my Illinois license is valid. How can I obtain a clearance letter?
All states were notified that as of Oct. 1, 1997, Illinois no longer issues clearance letters. States should perform record checks through the Problem Driver Pointer System. If the other state's licensing authority insists on having written proof of the validity of your driving privileges, you may obtain a copy of your driving record Purchase your Driving Record Abstract.
I was hit by an uninsured motorist who was at fault in the crash. Can something be done to help me collect damages?
You should submit an Illinois Crash Report to the Illinois Department of Transportation Police Crash Report Office, 2300 S. Dirksen Parkway, Room 128W, Springfield, IL 62764, 217-782-4518. In the report you should indicate that the party was uninsured and request that the case be certified to the Secretary of State for suspension under the Safety and Financial Responsibility Law. Once the case is certified, our office will suspend the driver's license of the at-fault uninsured driver and the license plates of the uninsured owner involved in the crash. The suspension will remain in effect until restitution is made to you or until other requirements set by statute are met.
Another option available to you is to file a court judgment against the uninsured motorist. If the judgment remains unsatisfied for 30 days, you may submit it to our office for suspension utilizing the Record of Unsatisfied Judgment SR-17 form. For additional information, contact the Safety and Financial Responsibility Section, 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, Illinois 62723, 217-782-3720.
What is a Failure to Pay Fines stop?
A Failure to Pay Fines stop is the result of a request by an Illinois Circuit Clerk's office for non-payment of court imposed fines. Senate Bill 682 will include out-of-state failure to pays effective upon the Governor's signature.
How do I clear a Failure to Pay Fines stop?
You will need to contact the Circuit Clerk's office in the county the violation was processed to find out the amount of the fine and how to pay it. Once you satisfy the fines, you need to obtain a Failure to Pay Fines Receipt. This receipt may be presented to a representative at an Illinois Driver Services Facility, unless the violation occurred in Cook County (all Cook County Court receipts are reported directly to the Secretary of State's Office by the courts) or you may mail it to Secretary of State, 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, Illinois 62723. A Failure to Pay fine stop will prohibit you from renewing your driver's license or from changing your drivers license information. Since this is not a suspension of driving privileges, there is no reinstatement fee required.