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Frequently Asked Questions

Air Team Illinois

The Vehicle Emissions Test Enforcement and Your License Plates

Q. I've heard the enforcement process of the emissions test has changed. How does this affect me?
A. The Illinois EPA and the Secretary of State’s office are implementing a change in the enforcement process of the testing program, as required by Public Act 94-0848.

Beginning in January 2008, vehicles must pass an emissions test or otherwise comply with the Illinois Vehicle Emissions Inspection Law of 2005 (625 ILCS 5/13C) (“Inspection Law”) before the vehicle’s registration (license plates) can be renewed. Previously, the program was enforced through the suspension of drivers’ licenses and vehicles' registration.

Due to these changes, some vehicles will be required to comply prior to the expiration date printed on the current Vehicle Inspection Report or Emissions Test Certificate. Generally, vehicles will still be tested every two years (even model year vehicles during even calendar years, and odd model year vehicles during odd calendar years).
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Q. How will I be notified when my vehicle needs to be tested?
A. The Illinois EPA will send you a yellow notice about four months prior to the expiration of the vehicle's license plates. This will allow sufficient time to test the vehicle and, if necessary, perform repairs.

The Secretary of State’s office will include an indication on vehicle registration renewal notices whether an emissions test is required before the vehicle's registration can be renewed.

Please note that while the vehicle may be tested up to four months prior to license plate expiration, the plates may only be renewed within three months of the expiration date.
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Q. My license plates have expired and cannot be renewed due to failure to comply with the emissions law. How do I get my vehicle tested?
A. If your license plates have expired, you must obtain a 7-day permit from any full service Secretary of State driver's license facility to legally operate the vehicle to get it tested.
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Q. My vehicle has complied. How long will it take before I can purchase a renewal sticker for my license plates?
A. Once a vehicle complies with the Inspection Law, the Secretary of State's office is automatically notified electronically that the vehicle has complied; thereby allowing a renewal sticker to be sold at a Secretary of State facility, currency exchange or other authorized agent.

In rare instances, electronic communication between the test facility and the Secretary of State's system may be interrupted. Therefore it may be necessary to wait at least one business day before you renew your registration.

Please note that while the vehicle may be tested up to four months prior to license plate expiration, the plates may only be renewed within three months of the expiration date.
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If you have any other questions, please visit the Customer Service Representative at any of the vehicle emissions testing stations, call the Illinois EPA at (800) 635-2380, or check this website for updates.

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