While the deadline for Illinoisans to receive their REAL ID has been extended by two years, many residents are still looking to get their updated ID cards ahead of the eventual change.
Under REAL ID requirements, a driver's license will no longer be an acceptable form of identification for domestic flights and entrance to secure federal buildings.
According to the Department of Homeland security, a deadline previously set for May 3, 2023 following numerous pandemic-related extensions, has now been extended to May 7, 2025.
“This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card,"Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement. "DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible. We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely.”
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According to former Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, "with this extension, current standard Illinois driver’s licenses or ID cards will continue to be accepted at airports for domestic air travel until May 7, 2025."
Once the new deadline is reached, anyone 18 years old and above will be required to present a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card to fly domestically or visit a federal facility. Designated by a star and surrounding gold circle, REAL IDs are being issued in all 50 states.
But officials say not everyone needs a REAL ID. A valid U.S. passport is also a compliant REAL ID document, according to White, and can be used to fly domestically after the deadline.
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Officials said the extension was necessary "in part, to address the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card."
"REAL ID progress over the past two years has been significantly hindered by state driver’s licensing agencies having to work through the backlogs created by the pandemic," DHS said in a release. "Many of these agencies took various steps in response to the pandemic including automatically extending the expiration dates of driver’s licenses and identification cards and shifting operations to appointment only."
In Illinois, the deadline to renew expired drivers licenses was in 2020 extended multiple times -- eventually to Dec. 1, 2022 -- due to the effects of the COVID pandemic.
While that deadline has passed, Illinois residents will have two extra years to apply for and obtain a REAL ID.
"Illinois residents will be able to use their drivers license until that deadline to comes up to get on a plane," a spokesperson for the Illinois Secretary of State's Office said, of REAL ID's new May 7, 2025 deadline. "That will probably be its most common use."
The spokesman notes that a passport is also a legitimate form of REAL ID.
Here's what to know about getting a REAL ID, and why you'll soon need some version of a REAL ID to board a domestic flight.
What's a REAL ID and Why Might I Need One?
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, "establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards and prohibits certain federal agencies from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards."
The act was originally scheduled to go into effect Oct. 19, 2021. However, due to the COVID pandemic, the deadline was extended to May 7, 2025. On that date, the act will be adopted in all 50 states.
What's the Difference Between an Illinois Driver's License and a REAL ID?
To the naked eye, the difference is designated by a star and surrounding gold circle in the top right hand corner of an ordinary looking Illinois driver's license.
However, to officials, a REAL ID denotes stronger security standards.
How Do I Know If I Should Get a REAL ID?
Residents are not required to get a REAL ID. However, they may serve as a more convenient form of identification when you travel domestically or visit a federal facility or U.S. military base.
For instance, if you ever travel by plane domestically, you might want to consider getting a REAL ID. If you don't have one, beginning May 7, 2025, you'll need to use either a current U.S. Passport or passport card at the airport's TSA security checkpoint.
If you're traveling internationally, a REAL ID will not be an acceptable form of identification. In that case, you must use a passport.
How Do I Get a REAL ID?
REAL IDs are currently being issued at Secretary of State driver's facilities across Illinois via application. The process must be completed in-person.
Those wishing to get a REAL ID must fill out a REAL ID application at one of those facilities, and provide five forms of documentation that prove identity.
According to the Secretary of State's office, here's exactly what you need:
- Either a U.S. birth certificate or a U.S. passport.An employment authorization document, permanent resident card or foreign passport with an approved I-94 form is also acceptable. If you've changed your name, you'll need to provide name change documents.
- Proof of a full Social Security number (SSN). Some examples are: an SSN card, a W-2 or a pay stub with your full SSN.
- Two current residency documents that list your full name.Some examples are: a utility bill, rental agreement, deed/title or a bank statement. Account numbers must be visible.
- Proof of your signature.Some examples are: a signed credit or debit card, canceled check or current Illinois (or out-of-state) ID.
A list of other examples of documents that prove identity is detailedhere. Hard copy documents are required. Photocopies will not be accepted.
The Secretary of State's website offers away to prepare for what you need ahead of timethrough the use of an interactive checklist.
How Long Does it Take to Get a REAL ID?
After filling out a REAL ID application and providing the proper documents, you'll immediately receive a temporary, paper REAL ID.
However, that temporary REAL ID will not be an acceptable form of identification if at TSA checkpoints. In order to fly, you'll need a permanent REAL ID, or a U.S. Passport or passport card.
A permanent REAL ID card will be mailed to you within 15 business days, according to the state.
How Much Does a REAL ID Cost?
According to the state, the fee for a REAL ID is the same as it is for a standard Illinois driver's license or state ID.
That means the cost of either an Illinois driver's license, or a REAL ID complaint driver's license, is $30. The cost of either a state ID, or a REAL ID compliant state ID, is $20.
However, the cost may be lower if you already have current, non-expired versions of either.
My Illinois Drivers License Isn't Expired. Can I Just Trade That in For a REAL ID?
If you recently renewed your driver's license, or it does not expire for at least another year, you may apply for a REAL ID for only $5.Your new REAL ID would then retain the same expiration date as your original license.
Residents can also apply for a REAL ID while renewing a driver's license at a Secretary of State Driver's facility.
Do I Need a REAL ID if I Have a Valid U.S. Passport or Passport Card?
If you have a valid U.S. passport or passport card, you may not need a REAL ID, and residents are not required to get one. However, REAL ID's may serve as a more convenient form of identification when you travel domestically or visit a federal facility or U.S. military base.
What is required for REAL ID? ›
Visit your state's driver's licensing agency website to find out exactly what documentation is required to obtain a REAL ID. At a minimum, you must provide documentation showing: 1) Full Legal Name; 2) Date of Birth; 3) Social Security Number; 4) Two Proofs of Address of Principal Residence; and 5) Lawful Status.What proof do I need for a state ID in Illinois? ›
- Social Security Card.
- Proof of your signature.
- Birth certificate or proof of immigration status.
- Proof of residency.
The fee to get a REAL ID is $30, which is the same as a regular driver's license or ID. If you recently renewed your license or if your license does not expire for over one more year, you can apply for a REAL ID and pay a $5 fee. Your REAL ID expiration date will remain the same as your original license.Do you need birth certificate to get REAL ID in Illinois? ›
Step 2: All applicants must provide proof of identity. (Examples are: a certified U.S. birth certificate, a U.S. passport, an employment authorization document, a permanent resident card or a foreign passport with an approved I-94 form.)What is acceptable proof of address? ›
A utility bill, credit card statement, lease agreement or mortgage statement will all work to prove residency.Do you need a star on your driver's license to fly? ›
The REAL ID (gold star) effective date is set for May 7, 2025. If you fly commercially or need access to federal facilities, you'll either need a REAL ID license or ID or another acceptable identity document, or you're going to be subject to additional screening and potential delays.What is proof of Social Security number DMV? ›
Acceptable documents to provide proof of Social Security number are: Social Security Account number card (not laminated) W-2 form (not accepted electronically) SSA-1099 form Non-SSA-1099 form Pay stub with the applicant's name and SSN on it.Can I still fly in the US without a REAL ID? ›
Beginning May 7, 2025, every traveler must present a REAL ID-compliant driver's license, state-issued enhanced driver's license, or other acceptable forms of identification, such as a valid passport or U.S. military ID, to fly within the U.S. Review the complete list of acceptable identification.Do you need a Social Security card to get a state ID in Illinois? ›
Unless you have a military ID, you need a Social Security card to get a state ID. You'll need a birth certificate or proof of immigration status. If you live in Chicago, you may be able to get the Chicago CityKey card. For more information visit the City Clerk of Chicago's website.Do you need a Social Security card to get a driver's license in Illinois? ›
Yes, you can get an Illinois driver's license without your Social Security card if you have another proof of Social Security number. Examples include a W-2 or 1099 form.
How much is a REAL ID in Illinois for seniors? ›
An identification card can be obtained for $20.00; however, if you are age 65 and older you may obtain a free, non-expiring State of Illinois photo ID card. Drivers age 75 and older are required to take a driving test to renew their driver's licenses; therefore they must visit a Driver Services Facility.How long does it take to get a REAL ID in Illinois? ›
Individuals should allow up to 15 business days. The temporary secure paper document is valid for up to 90 days. If you have waited more than 15 business days and your card still has not arrived, please check your Driver's License Status online or call 217-782-7044.Can I get a REAL ID at any DMV in Illinois? ›
No. To apply for a REAL ID DL/ID, you will need to visit a Driver Services facility and provide documents verifying your identity, Social Security number, residency and signature.Is a debit card a form of ID? ›
only if it contains both a photo and a signature and is not expired. Any credit card can be used as a secondary form of ID, as long as it contains a signature and is not expired. This includes major credit cards, such as VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.How do I make an appointment with REAL ID in Illinois? ›
Customers without access to a smart phone or computer can call 844-817-4649 to schedule an appointment.Can a bank statement be used as proof of address? ›
What can be used as proof of address? Here are some of the most common documents that count as valid proof of address: Bank statement; Utility bill for gas, electricity, water, internet, etc.Can a bank statement be used as proof of income? ›
Does a bank statement work as proof of income? Many landlords will accept bank statements as proof of income as long as they show at least two paychecks being directly deposited into the account. In addition to a bank statement, landlords may want to receive an employment verification letter.How do I get a local address proof without proof? ›
- Arms Licence.
- Driving Licence.
- Election Commission ID Card Ration Card with address.
- CGHS/ECHS Card.
- Certificate of address having Photo issued by MP/MLA/Group-A Gazetted Officer in letterhead.
- Certificate of address with a photo from Govt.
Do I Need a Real ID to Travel If I Already Have a Passport? The short answer is, no. An official U.S. passport will get you through airport security and can be used in place of a Real ID. If you are only traveling domestically, you can use a Real ID or passport.What do I need to fly in 2023? ›
Beginning May 3, 2023, U.S. travelers flying within the United States will need to show Transportation Security Administration agents either a security-enhanced driver's license that's Real ID-compliant or another T.S.A.-approved form of identification like a passport.
Which states require real ID to fly? ›
All states issue REAL ID-compliant IDs, but none require a REAL ID. You can still fly as long as you have a TSA-approved form of ID.Can I use an old w2 as proof of Social Security? ›
The only documents acceptable for visual verification of your SSN for original REAL ID applications are originals of the following: A social security card. A W-2 form. A SSA-1099 form.
You can prove your SSN with one of the following documents that shows your asserted legal name. W-2 Form with full SSN (including W-2C, W-2G, etc.) SSA-1099 Form with full SSN (including SSA-1099-SM, SSA-1099-R-OP1, etc.) Non-SSA 1099 Form with full SSN (including 1099-DIV, 1099-MISC, etc.)Do Social Security cards expire? ›
No. Once an SSN has been assigned it is an individual's unique number for the rest of his or her life in the United States. However, the individual's work authorization may expire.What documents do I need to get gold star on driver's license? ›
- Full legal name.
- Date of birth.
- Social security number.
- Two proofs of principal residence.
- Lawful status.
- Illinois Driver's License Record* ♦
- Illinois ID Card Record* ♦
- Pay stub or printed electronic deposit showing the applicant's name and SSN.
- Social Security Award Letter (primary recipient only)♦
- Social Security Card (issued by SSA)