real id

Who Needs a Real ID Come Oct. 1?

The answer is, you have a choice

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With less than a year from the deadline to get a Real ID, many might be asking if they actually need one.

The answer is, you have a choice.

Beginning on Oct. 1, 2020, every person who boards a domestic flight or visits a federal facility in the United States must have a Real ID, a Real ID-compliant driver's license or a passport.

You do not need a Real ID, however, if you have a valid U.S. passport, military ID or other TSA-acceptable form of identification. You also do not need a Real ID if you do not fly domestically or visit secure federal facilities. 

So, how can you get one?

The Illinois Secretary of State's Office announced some Driver Services facilities in the Chicago area have changed their hours in the months leading up to the Oct. 1 deadline.

Some locations will also offer "exclusive days" just for Real ID applicants. 

“These new work hours are designed to best serve Illinoisans who do not have U.S. passports and who need to obtain a REAL ID by Oct. 1, 2020,” Jesse White said in a statement.

What exactly is the Real ID and why the change? NBC 5’s Charlie Wojciechowski explains.

"Like states throughout the country, we have experienced an increased volume of customers applying for REAL IDs and expect this to continue through December 2020," he added. 

The new hours took effect at multiple locations beginning Dec. 30, 2019 and will continue through Dec. 31, 2020. 

So far, more than 500,000 Real IDs have been issued in the state of Illinois, Secretary of State spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaufman said, adding the department expects the high volume to continue as the deadline approaches.

For a full list of facilities and hours, click here.

Ready to get yours? Here's what spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaufman said residents should know to feel prepared: 

• If you want to apply for a REAL ID, come prepared with the necessary documents. 

• Customers are encouraged to visit REALID.ilsos.gov and use the interactive document checklist. This will help ensure they bring the proper documents to the facility, which makes the process more efficient for everyone. 

• Customers are also encouraged to take advantage of the many online services offered allowing patrons to conduct business from home. 

• Some examples of online transactions include: obtaining a duplicate driver’s license or ID card, renewing a vehicle registration, obtaining a driver record abstract or renewing a standard driver’s license with the Safe Driver Renewal Program. 

• Illinois REAL ID cards are now a permanent option for Illinois residents

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