Chicago Launches New ‘CityKey’ Municipal ID Program

The City of Chicago launched a new program Thursday to allow all city residents to obtain a municipal identification card.

First proposed in Oct. 2016 and approved six months later, officials said the Chicago Municipal ID program was designed to allow all city residents access to a form of identification – regardless of immigration status, housing situation, prison record, gender identity and more.

Those applying for the ID, known as the "CityKey," will not be asked about their immigration status and will be allowed to self-attest their gender, authorities have said. There will also be options for survivors of domestic violence to designate an alternate address, plus an option for the homeless to obtain an ID without a fixed address.

The cards will be accepted by all City departments as an official form of identification, and as a government ID, it can be used to get into any Chicago bar, pick up a prescription, sign a lease or get married, among other tasks.

In addition, the municipal ID will be printed on blank CTA Ventra cards for regular use on the city’s bus and train system, as well as in Chicago’s Public Library network - making Chicago the first city in the nation to integrate its transit and library systems into the municipal ID program, officials said.

There are perks to the CityKey as well - getting discounts at places like the Goodman Theater, Navy Pier and the Field Museum.

"Every day we are working to explore celebrate and protect our world, the cultures that call it home and we found that there are barriers for people in the city," the Field Museum's Jaclyn Johnston said. "CityKey holders will have chance to visit the museum along with immediate family for free the first year they get their ID card."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has championed the initiative as part of his efforts to push back on President Donald Trump’s administration's crackdown on undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

Emanuel officially launched the initiative, alongside City Clerk Anna Valencia and several partners in the program, at the Field Museum Thursday morning. 

More details, including a full list of benefits and discounts, can be found on Valenica's website here

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