License Plates

Illinois License Plate Laws

The following article contains information about Illinois license plate laws, regulations and requirements.

Jump to:

  1. License plate requirements
  2. License plate replacement in 2017
  3. Temporary registration permit
  4. License plate renewal
    1. Registration renewal for veterans
  5. Special license plates
  6. Reduced fee license plates

License Plate Requirements

Passenger vehicles, trucks and vans must display two plates, one on the front and one on the rear. License plate frames should not cover any of the information on the license plates. License plates covers are not allowed. When a vehicle is sold, the license plates should be removed and kept by the seller.

In Illinois, license plates remain with the owner, not the vehicle. Motorcycles, mopeds, trailers, semitrailers and buses registered under apportionment provisions must display one license plate on the rear of the vehicle. Truck-tractors and apportioned straight trucks must have one license plate on the front of the vehicle.

License Plate Replacement in 2017

Beginning January 2017, the Secretary of State’s office will begin replacing the current designed license plates. Vehicle owners with license plates manufactured in 2000-2001 will be the first to obtain a newly designed license plate when they renew their vehicle registrations in 2017. For more information about the program, visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

Temporary Registration Permit

When owner(s) applies for registration for their vehicle, they may be issued a Temporary Registration Permit (TRP). This permit must be displayed in the same place and manner as a rear license plate. The TRP is valid for 90 days from the issuance date, although it may be reissued if the license plates do not arrive within 90 days.

Once the owner(s) receive the license plates, the TRP should be removed and replaced with the permanent license 92 plates. For the vehicle owner’s protection, the permit should be destroyed and discarded upon removal. TRPs are available through Illinois licensed dealers, licensed remittance agencies, currency exchanges and Secretary of State facilities.

License Plate Renewal

As a courtesy, about 60 days before a vehicle registration expires, owner(s) may receive a reminder postcard, an email and/or renewal notice from the Secretary of State’s office. If any vehicle information has changed, owner(s) must submit proof the registration has been transferred to another vehicle.

Owner(s) may renew online at www.cyberdriveillinois.com, by mail, by visiting a Secretary of State facility, or by calling the toll-free number on the postcard and/or renewal notice. Owner(s) also may renew at certain banks, savings and loans, currency exchanges, credit unions and remittance agencies.

Owner(s) are encouraged to immediately affix the renewal sticker to the upper right side of the rear license plate. If the owner does not immediately display the renewal sticker and the current sticker has expired, law enforcement may stop the vehicle and issue a ticket.

For the first 30 days following renewal, Illinois law allows motorists to drive without an up-to-date vehicle renewal sticker displayed on their license plate provided they have a receipt in their vehicle from the Secretary of State proving they purchased a sticker online before expiration, but have not yet received it. The printed receipt is only valid as proof of registration for 30 days from the expiration of the registration sticker currently displayed on the license plate.

Registration Renewal for Veterans

Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, serving in active duty or as a reservist, who can show proof of service in a combat mission, shall have their standard vehicle registration fee waived for the renewal period immediately following their return to the United States. Proof must be shown at the time of registration renewal.

If the vehicle owner(s) are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in a non-combat capacity, a civilian employee of the Armed Forces or an employee of the U.S. Department of Defense serving outside the United States but are a legal resident of Illinois, they have 45 days from their date of return to obtain or renew the vehicle registration.

Special License Plates

Personalized and vanity license plates are available for passenger vehicles, second division vehicles weighing 8,000 pounds or less, motorcycles, vehicles operated by persons with disabilities, recreational vehicles, recreational trailers and antique vehicles. Applicants should allow at least 45 days from the time the order is placed to receive their license plates.

Reduced-fee License Plates

Senior citizens and persons with disabilities who qualify for the Benefit Access Program (formerly known as Circuit Breaker) tax relief through the Illinois Department on Aging are eligible for reduced license plate fees for passenger (standard license plates and specialty license plates) and recreational vehicles. One discount per year is allowed. For more information, please call the Illinois Department on Aging at 800-252-8966 or 888-206-1327 (TTY), or see Illinois Vehicle Code.

This article about Illinois License Plate Laws was last updated in 2018. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!