DNA replication depends on a preceding licensing event by Cdt1 and Cdc6. In animal cells, relicensing after S phase but before mitosis is prevented by the Cdt1 inhibitor geminin and mitotic cyclin activity. Here, we show that geminin, like cyclin B1 and securin, is a bona fide target of the spindle checkpoint and APC/C(Cdc20). Cyclin B1 and geminin are degraded simultaneously during metaphase, which directs Cdt1 accumulation on segregating sister chromatids. Subsequent activation of APC/C(Cdh1) leads to degradation of Cdc6 well before Cdt1 becomes unstable in a replication-coupled manner. In mitosis, the spindle checkpoint supports Cdt1 accumulation, which promotes S phase onset. We conclude that the spindle checkpoint, APC/C(Cdc20), and APC/C(Cdh1) act successively to ensure that the disappearance of licensing inhibitors coincides exactly with a peak of Cdt1 and Cdc6. Whereas cell cycle entry from quiescence requires Cdc6 resynthesis, our results indicate that proliferating cells use a window of time in mitosis, before Cdc6 is degraded, as an earlier opportunity to direct S phase.