Jesse White

Appointments Will Soon Be Necessary to Renew Driver's Licenses, Apply For Real ID in Chicago Area

A new two-pronged strategy aims to cut down on lines at Illinois Driver's Services locations in the Chicago area.

Dreading long lines to renew your driver's license or apply for your Real ID? Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says he has a strategy to try and ease the pain with two main initiatives.

Starting in September, an expanded pilot program will require customers to make an appointment before heading to many Illinois Driver Services facilities in the Chicago area.

Over the next six months, White also will expand remote renewal so approximately 1 million more people can renew their driver's licenses and ID cards online, by phone or by mail. Those who qualify for the program will get a letter in the mail starting in September, he said.

"During the pandemic, my office has continued to serve the public, including face-to-face transactions, in a safe and responsible manner,” White said in a statement. "Throughout this time, we also greatly expanded online services. This next step will allow many more people to renew their driver’s licenses or ID cards remotely instead of visiting a Driver Services facility."

It all starts the first week of September, when customers must make an appointment to visit these three Driver Services facilities in Chicago: Chicago North, 5401 N. Elston Ave.; Chicago South, 9901 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive; and Chicago West, 5301 W. Lexington St.

The week of Sept. 7, additional Chicago-area facilities will require appointments, including in Schaumburg, Bridgeview, Lombard, Des Plaines, Waukegan, Naperville, Aurora, Plano and Joliet.

White said facilities in Lake Zurich, Melrose Park, Midlothian and Woodstock transitioned to appointment facilities early this year.

"Appointments will be required for customers applying for or renewing REAL IDs, standard driver’s licenses and ID cards, and for behind-the-wheel road tests at these facilities," White's office said.

During this phase of the program, customers can make an appointment up to 10 days in advance at or by calling the appointment helpline at 844-817-4649.

All 16 facilities will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

"Secretary White emphasized that seniors, persons with disabilities and expectant mothers will be served as walk-ins at all 16 of the designated appointment facilities," White's office said.

Some facilities, including those in rural Illinois facilities, will not require appointments. Others will remain accessible to walk-in customers, including Deerfield, Elgin, Chicago Central (James R. Thompson Center) and the temporary facility at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights.

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