Illinois residents now have REAL ID option

Drivers/residents may choose between REAL ID or standard driver’s license/ID card

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has announced the rollout of REAL ID cards for Illinois residents. REAL ID is a new type of Illinois driver’s license or ID card that meets federal guidelines allowing the holder to board airplanes for domestic travel or to enter secure federal facilities beginning Oct. 1, 2020.

The federal government requires REAL ID applicants to provide additional documents to obtain the card. Illinois residents are not required to obtain the new card and can choose to keep their current standard driver’s license or ID and use a valid passport to board domestic flights after Oct. 1, 2020.

There is no immediate need to apply for a REAL ID card because current Illinois driver’s licenses or ID cards will be accepted for domestic air travel or to enter secure federal facilities until Oct. 1, 2020. A valid U.S. passport is an acceptable alternative to a REAL ID card.

To apply

The application process for a REAL ID card takes longer at a driver’s facility than a standard DL/ID application since more documents are required by the federal government. As a result, the public is asked to please be patient while visiting driver services facilities.

“I’m pleased to offer the REAL ID to Illinois residents who want one,” said White. “I encourage residents to know their options and make the choice that is right for them by choosing between a standard driver’s license or ID card or a REAL ID card. Although we are now issuing REAL ID cards, current cards will be valid for domestic air travel until Oct 1, 2020. Therefore, there is no rush to apply for a REAL ID card.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has certified Illinois as fully compliant with the REAL ID Act. The REAL ID Act is a federal mandate by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that sets standards for state-issued DL/IDs by making identity documents more secure to combat fraud and identity theft.

REAL ID cards meet security requirements set by the federal government and will have a gold star marking in the top right corner. Newly-issued standard DL/IDs that do not comply with requirements of the federal REAL ID Act will be marked with the phrase “Federal Limits Apply,” as called for by the federal law.

Based on federal guidelines, to obtain an Illinois REAL ID card, all applicants – including those who currently hold a standard Illinois DL/ID – must provide:

  • One document proving identity (examples: a 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).

IMPORTANT: Name change documents, such as a marriage certificate, will be required if the applicant’s current name is different than the name that appears on the document used to prove identity (example: birth certificate).

  • One document proving Social Security Number (SSN) (examples: an SSN card, a W-2 or a pay stub with full SSN).
  • Two documents proving residency with the applicant’s correct name and address (examples: a utility bill, rental agreement, deed/title or bank statement).
  • One document proving signature (examples: a credit/debit card, a canceled check or a current Illinois DL/ID).

A full list of approved documents is available at Residents are encouraged to use the interactive checklist at to determine what documents are recommended to bring to the facility in order to apply for a REAL ID.

For more information on REAL ID, visit For more information on the REAL ID Act, please visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website at


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