After more than two years of extensions enacted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thursday marked the day where Illinois residents will have to once again renew their driver’s licenses, leading to long lines at Secretary of State’s Offices around the state.
Licenses that expired since March 2020 had been given a grace period for individuals to take care of their renewals, but that time frame officially ended as of Thursday, leaving thousands scrambling to update their documentation.
While many residents visited offices to renew their licenses, Secretary of State-elect Alexi Giannoulias says that technology could potentially help some individuals skip the lines and to get a complaint once again on their identification cards.
“Eliminating the ‘time tax’ is going to be very important to us,” Giannoulias said of his new administration. “The Secretary of State did a great job extending it during COVID. There isn’t a blueprint on how to deal with COVID. No one wants to wait in line, and we want to bring technology to the forefront.”
Illinois drivers are eligible to renew their licenses online if they fit three criteria:
– They have received a renewal letter with a PIN or Renewal Authorization Number.
– Their renewal does not require a written examination or a road test.
-Their renewal does not require them to submit an updated medical and/or vision report.
If motorists did not receive a letter in the mail, they can look up their eligibility on the state’s website, or they can call 217-785-1424.
Many locations also offer appointment services, which can be scheduled up to 10 days in advance. A list of available locations can be found on the Secretary of State’s website.
Motorists who need to update addresses on their licenses can also do so online in select situations, officials say.
There is one thing that motorists should keep in mind. REAL-ID compliant licenses will be required to travel on domestic flights and to enter federally-controlled property beginning on May 3. Those identification cards cannot be applied for online, and they require individuals to visit a Secretary of State Office.
More information can be found on the SOS website.