If you live in Illinois and want to fly domestically or visit certain federal facilities, you must upgrade your Illinois state driver’s license or identification card to a REAL ID. The new cards comply with federal standards and meet new security requirements established in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. You can find out if you are eligible to get a REAL ID by checking if it has a gold star in the corner of your license or identification card. Most states and territories are now compliant with the requirements of the Real ID Act, but some have been granted extensions or relief from the requirement until 2025. Those who fly regularly should make sure they have their Real ID in place by May 7, 2025, or another form of identification accepted by the TSA. For more information, click here to view the Secretary of State’s interactive document checklist.
How to Apply for Real ID in Illinois?
To apply for a Real ID in Illinois, you must visit a Secretary of State Driver Services facility. You must bring documents that prove your identity, Social Security number, and residency. This includes a certified birth certificate, U.S. passport, Social Security card, W-2 form and two different documents that show your address (utility bill, bank statement or deed/title). You must also provide a document showing your signature, which can be a credit card, debit card, canceled check, or current Illinois driver’s license or ID.
In addition, if you have recently changed your name, you must show proof of the change. Name changes must be documented with a court order, marriage license, or divorce decree.
The application process is simple but takes little attention to detail. Make sure you have all the required documents and follow the instructions carefully. Then, you’ll be ready for your next trip. If you want to save time, you can fill out the application form ahead of time. That way, you’ll be able to skip the line at your local Secretary of State office.
Some Chicago-area Driver Services locations require appointments, so it’s best to call ahead. The Secretary of State’s website also offers an interactive checklist that can help you prepare for your visit. The cost of a Real ID is $30. The process can take up to an hour, so being prepared is important.