The Illinois Secretary of State’s office has begun issuing REAL ID Act compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards at all Driver Services facilities to residents who want them beginning April 2019.
Illinois resident will have the choice to obtain a REAL ID or a standard driver’s license or ID card.
Residents who do not want to apply for a REAL ID-compliant card may still apply for and receive a standard driver’s license or ID card. REAL ID-compliant cards will have a gold star emblem at the right corner. Newly issued standard driver’s license or ID cards which do not comply with requirements of the REAL ID Act will be marked with the phrase, “Federal Limits Apply,” near the top of the card as required by law.
All REAL ID and standard driver’s licenses and ID cards are recognized as official state documents and remain valid for driving and identification purposes until their expiration.
It is important to understand there is no urgency for residents to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID because existing driver’s licenses and IDs are acceptable for domestic travel and entry into military bases and secure federal facilities until October 1, 2020. Residents who have a valid passport (which can be used in place of a REAL ID driver’s license or ID) or who do not travel by air or enter military bases or secure facilities will have the option of obtaining a standard driver’s license or ID. Illinois Secretary of State fees for a REAL ID and a standard driver’s license/ID are the same.
What does this mean? Effective October 2, 2020, residents will need to carry a valid passport or a REAL ID for domestic air travel. For entry into military bases and secure facilities, a REAL ID will be required. For international travel, a valid US passport is necessary.