Real ID

Illinois officials ‘tremendously concerned' about REAL ID deadline, Giannoulias says

The deadline looms in May 2025, but officials are expressing concern about the slow pace of residents getting the updated cards

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Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias says that his office is stepping up efforts to ensure that residents get REAL ID-compliant identification prior to next year’s deadline, and acknowledged there are concerns about the slow pace of obtaining the cards.

In a wide-ranging interview with NBC Chicago’s Kye Martin, Giannoulias said his office is working to ease the flood of applicants he expects will occur prior to the May 7 deadline next year, but that progress has been slow.

“We feel pressure. We are tremendously concerned about what happens next May, and that’s why we’re out there now a year ahead of time trying to convince people of the importance of getting this done before the last minute,” he said. Our facilities will swell up, and it will be a problem if people don’t get out and get their REAL ID’s.”

Giannoulias emphasized the need for the compliant-IDs to do things like travel domestically and to enter courthouses and other public property.

 “I don’t think the general populace right now understands that on May 8 of next year, you will not be able to board a domestic flight without a REAL ID or passport. It’s going to be a problem for us, a problem for TSA, and you’re going to have a lot of upset travelers,” he said.

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 after the publication of the 9/11 Commission Report in an effort to increase security of identification documents, making them more difficult to duplicate.

Come next year, your regular old Illinois driver's license won't be enough to get you through TSA security at the airport. Instead, you'll need what's called a REAL ID. NBC Chicago's Kye Martin reports.

Beginning on May 7, 2025, REAL ID-compliant identification will be required for residents who plan to fly domestically. They will also be required when entering federal and state facilities, including courthouses and prisons. They will also be needed to enter secure facilities like nuclear power plants.

All residents 18 and older who intend to fly domestically or enter these types of facilities will be required to obtain REAL ID-compliant cards.

A full list of identification required to obtain a REAL ID can be found on the state of Illinois' website. The cards can be obtained at Secretary of State’s Office locations, though many will require appointments to present materials needed to get the identification.

The cost of a REAL ID is the same as a standard license, according to officials.

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