License Expired? Wedding Ahead? Practical Concerns in the Coronavirus Age


Not long ago, if you got pulled over while driving with an expired license, you could have gotten a ticket.

An expired vehicle registration? That might have led to a fine.

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That’s no longer the case, due to the coronavirus.

All Illinois driver's license facilities have been closed since mid-March.

“Realizing that this was going to be a problem, Sec. (Jesse White) took the initiative, by law, to extend the driver’s license date and the registration date, which is the sticker on the back of your back license place, for 90 days, 9-0, from the day that we reopen,” secretary of state spokesman Dave Druker said. “We are closed now, so the clock isn’t even running on that. So I just want to reassure the viewers that: you’re fine. The police know about it.”

A valid form of identification is also typically needed to fly.

While many people are not traveling out of state, an expired license will not keep you from getting past airport security if you must go that route.

Not only has the requirement for a Real ID been postponed to October 2021, the TSA will accept driver's licenses and state ID cards that expired as of March.

According to the TSA website: “If your driver’s license or state-issued ID expired on or after March 1, 2020, and you are unable to renew at your state driver’s license agency, you may still use it as acceptable identification at the checkpoint. TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses or state-issued ID a year after expiration.”

Still, most people can renew their license and registration or even get a duplicate for a lost state ID, by going online.

There are exceptions: Those who live in the Chicago area and are due for an emissions test need one before the vehicle registration can be renewed, and that’s impossible now because emissions facilities, run by the state Environmental Protection Agency, are closed now, too.

Also, certain drivers over age 75 and those without safe driving records may need to take a road exam.

They’ll have to wait until facilities reopen.

So, too, will young drivers.

Wisconsin is going to waive road driving tests for those under 18, but Illinois is not considering it; a hallmark of White’s tenure has been creating a graduated driver’s license program for students that’s credited with decreasing youth driving accidents.

“This is something we’re not comfortable with at all. We feel that for young people, they really need to show us they know how to drive and to pass that test,” Druker said.

A select few secretary of state facilities have reopened: Last Monday, sites in West Chicago, Springfield and Marion opened for truckers seeking Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDLs).

Druker said when the stay-at-home order took effect, some 600 individuals had started the CDL application process and were unable to complete it because of the order.

“They are considered essential jobs,” Druker said of truck drivers.

A lack of truck drivers has been an ongoing issue, and it’s been of heightened concern during the pandemic due to disruptions in regular supply chains and the need to transport certain goods.

Meanwhile, Cook County residents who may have received jury summons in the mail need not worry about showing up in court, given that there are no jury trials through May due to  COVID-19.

Pat Milhizer, spokesman for Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Tim Evans, said that summons are sent out in advance, so people may still be receiving them in the mail.

But when they call the number on that form, they will hear a message telling them: “If your summons states that you are scheduled to appear for jury service between the dates of March 17 – May 18, do not appear for service. You will be rescheduled for a later date.”

(Although the message says May 18, the date has now been extended through May 31.)

Meanwhile, the Cook County clerk’s office is also closed due to the coronavirus. A spokesman for Clerk Karen Yarbrough’s office said that means the office is unable to process certified copies of birth, death or marriage certificates. The suspension is not just for in-person services; it extends to those otherwise done by mail or online.

However, a just-debuted service will allow couples with an urgent medical or legal need to meet marriage license requirements by meeting with officials via videoconference. It’s a way that couples in emergency situations, like a partner in hospice, can marry.

“The Bureau of Vital Records is operating with a greatly reduced staff at this time and they’re working on processing these emergency marriage license requests,” Yarbrough’s spokesman said via email.

Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky


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