What do I need to renew my driver’s licence?

8 minute read Published on Oct 18, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

A man in a car fastening his seatbelt

Wondering what you need to renew your licence in Ontario? Just like with car insurance, there will come a time for nearly every driver when they need to renew their driver’s licence. This is a necessary step if you wish to continue driving in your province. We explain exactly what you need to do to renew your driver’s licence below.

Information to provide when renewing your driver’s licence

Most drivers need to provide the following information when renewing their driver’s licence in Ontario. These include a copy of your existing driver’s licence or your 15-digit driver’s licence number, the 7-digit trillium number located on the back of the licence, a postal code, a payment method, such as a credit card, and personal identification that clearly states your legal name, date of birth, and signature. Do not bother trying to renew your driver’s licence online or at a ServiceOntario centre if you do not have these key pieces of information.

Renewing your Ontario driver’s licence online

The easiest way to renew your driver’s licence is online using the provincial government’s ServiceOntario website. That said, not all drivers are eligible for online renewals, as there are certain qualifications that must be met. For instance, G1 and G2 licence cannot be renewed online; only G licences and M licences can be. Thus, if you have yet to obtain a full G or M licence in Ontario, meaning you currently hold a G1, G2, M1, or M2 licence, you cannot renew it online.

Another stipulation about renewing online is that you have not changed home addresses in the previous 90 days. If your address changed in the last three months, you won’t be able to renew online. You also won’t be able to renew your driver’s licence online if you have outstanding tickets or fines, your existing licence has been cancelled or suspended, you need to take a written test, road test, or vision test, or if you have a medical condition that may prevent you from driving.

Ultimately, if you are not eligible to renew your driver’s licence online, you will need to visit a ServiceOntario centre to renew your licence in person.

The cost of renewing a driver’s licence in Ontario

Many people have questions about the cost of renewing a driver’s licence, just as they have questions about how much car insurance costs per month in Ontario. The answer to this question is as follows: Renewing a driver’s licence in Ontario typically costs $90. This fee renews your licence for an additional five years. However, if you are over the age of 80, then you must renew your licence every two years, and this costs just $36.

Further, in some instances, your driver’s licence renewal date will be modified so that it matches your health card renewal date. This makes the renewal process far more convenient for you, since you can renew both cards at once and only have one date to keep track of. If this occurs, and your new licence renewal date isn’t a full five years, your licence fee will be prorated.

Please note that accepted payment methods for online driver’s licence renewals are mastercard, visa, and visa or Mastercard debit cards, while accepted payment methods for in-person driver’s licence renewals are mastercard, visa, debit, and cash.

One final word on the cost of renewing your driver’s licence in Ontario - if you have outstanding traffic tickets, fines, or highway tolls, such as Highway 407 tolls, you will need to pay these before you can renew your licence. This can significantly increase the cost of renewing your licence. Depending on what types of fines or tickets are owed, you might be able to pay for these online. However, some fees may have to be paid in person at a ServiceOntario centre.

Can I renew my driver’s licence before the expiry date?

Yes, you can renew your driver’s licence before the expiry date. In fact, it’s generally recommended to do this so you don’t run the risk of waiting too long and having your licence expire - especially given that driving without a valid licence is illegal in Ontario. Typically, residents will receive a reminder notification between two and three months prior to the licence’s expiry date. This will either come by email or in the mail. When you receive the reminder, you can go online or set up a ServiceOntario appointment to renew your driver’s licence.

Do I need a new photo in order to renew my Ontario driver’s licence?

Maybe. New photos are required every ten years, so depending on when your last driver’s licence photo was taken, you may need to re-take your photo. Please note that snapping a quick photo with your smartphone is not sufficient. You will need to visit a ServiceOntario centre to have your photo taken there. A few rules to be aware of when it comes to having your photo taken for your driver’s licence. Wearing a hat or sunglasses is not permitted. However, head coverings for medical or religious reasons are allowed. If you are not satisfied with the photo once you receive your licence in the mail, you can go through the process again. However, it will cost you $35.75, which is the same fee that applies if you lose your driver’s licence and need to replace it.

Driving with an expired driver’s licence in Ontario

As you now know, renewing your driver’s licence is just as important as renewing car insurance. Thus, it probably won’t come as a surprise that similar to the expired car insurance renewal process, the expired driver’s licence renewal process can be a bit trickier.

First, if you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer and are caught driving with an expired driver’s licence in Ontario, you can face severe fines. These fines range from $200 to $1,000. In addition, since you are unlicensed, the law enforcement officer cannot allow you to continue driving. Thus, you will have to call someone to drive you home or worse - call a tow truck.

It’s worth noting that the cost of the tow truck will likely be on your dime, as even auto insurance policies with comprehensive car coverage or collision car insurance, do not tend to cover the cost of a tow. Further, all of this will go on your driving record, which can make it more difficult to obtain car insurance in Toronto or elsewhere in Canada.

Renewing an expired driver’s licence in Ontario

Driving with an expired licence is a big no-no in Ontario. That said, it is still possible to renew an expired licence. However, the process will likely be more complicated, especially if you wait more than a year to renew your licence. If your licence expired less than 12 months ago, you can likely renew it online, which is the most convenient way of doing so. But if it expired more than a year ago, you will need to go into a ServiceOntario centre to renew it and there will likely be some extra hoops you have to jump through.

For example, you may be required to take a vision test. All drivers with expired licences between one and three years must pass a vision test in order to renew their licence. Further, if your licence has expired for a period of between three years and ten years, you will need to successfully pass a vision test, written knowledge test, and the same road tests that you took for your G2 and G levels of licensing.

Finally, if your Ontario driver’s licence has expired for a period of ten years or longer, you will need to start the entire graduated licensing program from scratch.

A step-by-step guide to renewing your driver’s licence in Ontario

Follow the steps below to renew your driver’s licence in Ontario:

1. Visit the ServiceOntario website or a centre near you

First, you will need to log on to the ServiceOntario website to determine if you can renew your driver’s licence online. If you are not eligible for an online driver’s licence renewal, you will need to set up an appointment at a ServiceOntario centre near you or simply walk in at a time that is convenient.

2. Gather the necessary documents

Whether you are renewing your licence online or in person, the second step involves gathering the necessary information and documentation. As mentioned above, this documentation includes a postal code, payment method, piece of photo identification, your driver’s licence number, and your trillium number. Please note that if your last driver’s licence was not an Ontario licence, you will need a new driver’s licence if you moved.

3. Take and pass the required tests

If you are required to take a test or multiple tests in order to renew your licence, such as a road test, written test, or vision test, you will need to take and pass these in order to proceed to the next step.

4. Have your photo taken

If it has been more than ten years since your last driver’s licence, you will be required to visit a ServiceOntario centre and have your photo taken.

5. Pay the renewal fee

This step applies to both in-person and online renewals. You will need to pay your driver’s licence renewal fee, the standard fee for which is $90.

6. Obtain a temporary driver’s licence

You will be issued a temporary driver’s licence that you must have with you at all times while driving. This acts as your valid driver’s licence until your renewed licence arrives in the mail. If you do not receive your new driver’s licence within 90 days of the renewal date, contact ServiceOntario.

Contact BrokerLink for more information on the driver’s licence renewal process

If you still have questions about the driver’s licence renewal process in Ontario, reach out to BrokerLink today. We can explain the importance of renewing your driver’s licence on time, as well as provide valuable insight into how the process works.

Plus, as a full-service car insurance brokerage, we can also help you find a car insurance policy that meets your needs. For instance, we can explain how mandatory coverage works in Ontario, including accident benefits coverage and liability car insurance, as well as offer a professional opinion on what types of optional coverage may be worth purchasing.

Even more, a licensed broker at BrokerLink can offer safe driving tips to help you avoid being involved in an accident. Finally, if you do find yourself in a car accident, your dedicated insurance advisor will help you file a claim with your provider, as well as offer tips on ways that you can reduce how much you pay for coverage following an at-fault accident. For example, accident forgiveness coverage can be a great way to minimize the high costs of car insurance that may come from a collision.

To learn more about BrokerLink’s many auto insurance services or to request a free car insurance quote, get in touch with us today.

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