Illinois Rolls Out New Design, Process for Obtaining Licenses, State ID Cards

Starting in July, you will no longer be able to walk out with a newly printed driver's license or state after visiting a driver services facility

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White unveiled major upgrades to the design and security features of state driver’s licenses and identification cards Tuesday, as well as a new system of procedures to be put in place for Illinois residents moving forward.

By the end of July, applicants visiting driver services facilities across the state will no longer be able to walk out with a new license or ID card at the end of the application process.

Instead, they will be given a temporary paper card with a photo printed on it to serve as their identification for 45 days while their information is sent through a series of fraud checks to ensure the applicant’s identity.

Sending the information to an off-site state facility allows new cards to be made with anti-counterfeiting security that “over-the-counter technology simply cannot produce,” according to a release from the Secretary of State.

Illinois Secretary of State
A look at some of the new security features that will be on the upgraded Illinois driver's license and ID cards.

The changes are necessary for the state to achieve REAL ID compliance, a federal mandate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which aims to fight fraud and identify theft. Illinois joins 39 other states that have already moved to a centralized production process, officials said.

“The upgraded driver’s license and ID card contain a variety of enhanced security features that take advantage of new developments in technology,” White said. “Becoming REAL ID compliant is a step-by-step process, and with these changes Illinois is now 84 percent compliant with the federal mandate.”

Beginning this week, renewal applicants will receive their new driver’s license in the mail with the upgraded features. Gradually the state will roll out the newly designed card. Fees remain unchanged.

When it’s time to get your driver’s license of ID card, the new steps are as follows:

  1. Visit a Secretary of State driver services facility
  2. Take the vision, write and road test (if necessary)
  3. Take your photo at the facility
  4. Receive your temporary, secure paper driver’s license which is valid for 45 days. Your old one will be returned to you after a hole is punched in it.
  5. After fraud checks, your new permanent card will be mailed to you within 15 business days.

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