SPRINGFIELD (Illinois News Network) — Illinois residents now have the opportunity to apply for identifications cards that meet strict new federal security requirements.
The new cards are compliant with the REAL ID Act, which was passed by Congress back in 2005. The measure set federal standards for identification cards in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
New cards can be requested across the state beginning this week, the first week of April 2019.
“With REAL ID, Illinois residents have a choice,” said Henry Haupt, deputy press secretary with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. “They have a choice between applying for a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card or keeping their current standard driver’s license or ID card. That choice is there forever.”
Haupt said no one will be forced to upgrade. And, in fact, the existing licenses and IDs will be sufficient for a number of Illinois residents.
“If you don’t fly domestically and you don’t visit military bases or secure federal buildings, you don’t need a REAL ID,” Haupt said. “You can keep your current driver’s license, which will work just fine for you.”
Illinois residents still can use existing state-issued cards for boarding domestic flights or entering federal facilities until October 2020. Passports also will remain an option for traveling by air or accessing federal buildings.
“We want people to know, if they determine they do want to apply for REAL ID, they don’t have to rush,” Haupt said. “They have plenty of time. [You] can board an airplane for your domestic flight with your current license or ID card for the next year and a half.”
Additional documents will be needed for those applying for a Real ID, and Haupt said that makes things more complicated.
“We are asking people to please be patient,” Haupt said. “We want to level with the public so they understand that the application process for a REAL ID takes longer than the standard driver’s license or ID card because more documents are required by the federal government.”
Residents who want to switch to the new IDs will need to bring along proof of identity and lawful presence, proof of social security number, two forms of residency documents, and proof of signature, which can be provided through a current license or ID card.
The new cards will be available at all 138 driver services facilities statewide, but not at express facilities or mobile units. Information can be found online at realid.ilsos.gov.