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REAL ID Illinois and Driver's License Renewal: Here's What to Know

You may be required to get a REAL ID in Illinois. Here's what to know

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Over the past two years, the Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has extended the deadline to obtain the REAL ID and a renewed driver's license several times, making it difficult to remember all the dates.

Here's a breakdown of what to know about both the REAL ID in Illinois and driver's license renewal:

What is a REAL ID?

A REAL ID is a form of state identification that also doubles as a valid passport for domestic air travel.

On the Illinois drivers license, a REAL ID is marked by a gold star in the top right corner.

You may use your REAL ID as your primary form of identification for your drivers license, for domestic air travel, or to enter military bases or secure federal facilities.

The REAL ID is not a valid form of identification for international travel, however.

Real Id Illinois

Who in Illinois needs a REAL ID?

For some, a REAL ID is not required.

If you currently have a valid U.S. passport or passport card, you do not need a REAL ID, but it is optional.

Come May 3, 2023, you can instead continue to use your U.S. passport or passport card as your primary form of identification to board a domestic flight or to enter military bases or secure federal facilities.

However, if you do not have a valid U.S. passport or passport card, and do plan on traveling by air domestically, or to enter military bases or secure federal facilities, you need a REAL ID.

When does the REAL ID go into effect for Illinois?

Illinois' REAL ID will go into effect on May 3, 2023.

How do I get a REAL ID?

In Illinois, residents looking to obtain a REAL ID will be required to 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
  • REAL ID

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

Illinois residents will also need to provide at least two proofs of residency to receive a REAL ID. 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, voter registration card.

For a proof of signature, residents can show 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 full list of acceptable documents, click here.

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

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the federal REAL ID deadline to May 3, 2023, White noted. The previous deadline was Oct. 1.

How much does a REAL ID cost?

A REAL ID card will cost the same as a driver’s license, $30, or a state ID, $20.

What about my driver's license - when must I renew that ID?

The expiration dates for driver’s licenses, ID cards and learner’s permits have been extended until July 31, 2022.

The previous deadline was set for March 31 following numerous extensions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The office noted the extension does not apply to commercial driver’s licenses and CDL learner’s permits.

Can I renew my driver's license online?

Yes, you have the option of either going to an Illinois Secretary of State Driver Services facility or renewing online.

However you can only renew online if you:

  • have received your renewal letter providing the PIN or Renewal Authorization Number
  • do not need to perform a written examination or road test
  • do not need to submit an updated medical or vision report

Check your eligibility here.

If renewing online, your driver's license will be delivered to the address currently on record within 15 business days.

Can I get my REAL ID when I go to renew my driver's license?

Yes, but if you are hoping to get your REAL ID while renewing your driver's license, you must visit a Secretary of State Driver Services facility for the initial application.

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