Illinois REAL ID Requirements: Here's Which Documents Are Needed to Apply

After multiple extensions prompted by the pandemic, the May 3, 2023, enforcement deadline is drawing near

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In less than a year's time, an ordinary driver's license will no longer permit U.S. residents to fly within the country.

Starting May 3, 2023, 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.

However, as of late April, only 43% of all state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards were compliant, causing the enforcement deadline to be pushed back once again, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

After multiple deadline extensions prompted by the pandemic, the application deadline is drawing near, leading some to wonder which documents are needed to apply and how the overall process works.

To apply for a REAL ID, Illinois residents must visit a Secretary of State Driver Services facility and provide documents that prove their identity, their Social Security number, a written signature and two documents that show proof of residency.

The following are acceptable documents to prove identity:

  • Birth certificate
  • U.S. passport
  • Foreign passport with U.S. visa affixed with approved Form I-94 document
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Certificate of Citizenship
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Employment Authorization Document
  • Permanent Resident Card

To provide proof of their Social Security number, residents can show their Social Security card or a W-2. A pay stub with a Social Security number on it will also be accepted.

Illinois residents will also need to show at least two proofs of residency. Those can include the following: bank statement, canceled check, school transcript, credit card statement, mortgage or rental agreement, insurance policy, pay stub, retirement statement, report card, utility bill and voter registration card.

After providing those documents, residents will receive a temporary paper ID at the facility (although residents are reminded that the TSA will NOT accept the paper ID), and will receive their new ID in the mail within 15 business days.

For a proof of signature, residents can present a credit or debit card, a canceled check, a current Illinois driver’s license or ID, a court order, a foreign passport, a Medicare card or a U.S. military ID.

For a complete list of acceptable documents, click here.

A REAL ID card costs the same as a driver’s license ($30) or a state ID ($20).

Illinois residents can use an interactive checklist to make sure they have the documents necessary to apply.

Those who possess a valid U.S. passport or passport card won't need to obtain a REAL ID, as those are also acceptable forms of identification to board domestic transportation and visit federal facilities.

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