Less than a year from the deadline that requires all U.S. residents to obtain a Real ID if they fly domestically without a passport, the Illinois Secretary of State's Office plans to hire additional employees and expand facility hours to handle the increased demand.
"We have experienced a higher volume of customers at some facilities, particularly in the Chicago metro area," spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaufman said in a statement. "This increase in customers is not unique to Illinois – it is occurring in states offering REAL IDs throughout the country."
The volume in Illinois is highest at two Chicago-area locations: "The busiest facilities statewide for REAL IDs have been Deerfield and Lombard," Kaufman said.
At other Illinois facilities, wait times vary based on location and day of the week, she said.
So far, more than 400,000 REAL IDs have been issued in the state of Illinois, Kaufman said, adding the department expects the high volume to continue as the deadline approaches.
"We will do everything within our ability to serve Illinoisans who want to apply for a REAL ID prior to the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline," she said.
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.
Want to get yours? Here's what Kaufman said residents should know to feel prepared:
• You have a choice. You do not need a REAL ID if you have a valid U.S. passport, military ID or other TSA-acceptable form of identification.
• You do not need a REAL ID if you do not fly domestically or visit secure federal facilities.
• However, if you want to apply for a REAL ID, come prepared with the necessary documents.
• We are encouraging customers 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.
• We are asking customers to please be patient at facilities as the process to apply for a REAL ID takes longer due to the multiple documents required by the federal government.
• 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.