Written by attorney Ted Harvatin

Illinois Secretary of State License Holds on Out-of-State Residents

Individuals who reside in a state other than Illinois may be required to apply to the Illinois Secretary of State for driving relief due to an Illinois license revocation. Persons finding themselves in this situation must obtain a reinstatement order from the Illinois Secretary of State that will clear them to apply for a driver’s license in their own state. Common circumstances under which an out-of state resident may require this type of relief are:

  1. You are licensed by or live in Illinois and commit an offense in this or any other state that causes Illinois to revoke your driving privileges. If you move to another state and apply for a driver’s license, that state will deny you driving privileges based on the Illinois revocation.

  2. You are licensed in Illinois and commit an offense in this or any other state that causes Illinois to revoke your driving privileges. In spite of the revocation in Illinois, another state issues you a driver’s license. You use that license for many years without committing any serious offenses and for no apparent reason the issuing state cancels or refuses to renew your license because of the Illinois revocation. This letter is usually generated because of the National Database and/or the Interstate Compact.

  3. You have never been licensed in Illinois, but you receive a DUI while driving in Illinois. As a result of the Illinois DUI, another state refuses to issue you a license, or that state cancels, threatens to cancel, or refuses to allow you to renew a license it previously issued to you.

Under each of these circumstances, the licensing state will most likely require a reinstatement order from Illinois. For persons living within 30 miles of the Illinois border, the application process must occur at a Secretary of State facility in Illinois.

For persons living more than 30 miles from the Illinois border, the entire out-of-state reinstatement process can take place through the mail using an Illinois Secretary of State out-of-state packet. Although the documentation requirements for an out-of-state resident are, for the most part, the same as for an Illinois resident, out-of-state applications present some special challenges.

Evaluators in other states are not familiar with what the Illinois Secretary of State expects from the evaluators in the way of paperwork. This can be frustrating both to you and to your evaluator, since the Illinois Secretary of State will repeatedly reject paperwork that he does not consider satisfactory. A number of out-of-state evaluators refuse to provide services to individuals who are dealing with Illinois.

You are also required to complete an affidavit. The Secretary of State is very particular about what information the affidavit must contain.

You may become discouraged because the Secretary of State repeatedly rejects paperwork. This is the way the process works. The Secretary of State points out deficiencies in the paperwork you submitted. You make corrections and furnish the new information to the Secretary of State.

Once the Secretary of State determines that the paperwork meets the minimum technical requirements, he may still deny driving relief. If the Secretary of State denies driving relief, you must reapply.

It is not unusual for the entire process to require several rounds of paper exchanges and to drag out for a year or two. It is to your benefit to have the correct paperwork the first time.

NOTE: If you have four or more DUI convictions, any one of which resulted from an arrest that was made after January 1, 1999, you can never drive again, even for work. Nor will Illinois clear you to obtain a license in another state.

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