REAL ID: What You Need to Know

Illinois is issuing “REAL ID’s” in accordance with federal guidelines, which are aimed at making identification cards more secure after 9/11.  After October 1st, 2020 only REAL ID’s will be accepted for flying domestically, and entering federal buildings and military bases. After that time, the new REAL ID is needed, or a passport can be used in place of the REAL ID.

Secretary of State Jesse White’s office began issuing cards that comply with the federal REAL ID Act in January, and they are available at all 138 driver services facilities statewide.

Here is what you need to know:

  • The fees for a standard Driver’s License/ID and the REAL ID Driver’s License/ID are the same.
  • If you recently renewed your license or if it does not expire for more than one year, you may apply for a REAL ID and pay a $5 corrected fee.  Your REAL ID will retain the same expiration date as your original license.
  • For domestic travel, a U.S. passport or REAL ID card is necessary after October 1st, 2020.
  • If you do not use airplanes to travel domestically, visit military bases, or visit secure federal facilities, you can still use your valid Illinois Driver’s License.
  • It is important to start gathering the necessary documents you will need to get a REAL ID.  All documents need to be hard copies as they will be scanned in accordance with Federal law.
  • You will need multiple documents to get a REAL ID. Examples of documents you can bring include: a U.S. Passport, social security card, W-2 form, bank statement, and cancelled check.  To view the full list of acceptable documents, click HERE.
  • The Secretary of State’s website has an interactive checklist available HERE to make sure you have all the necessary documentation.
  • For additional questions on REAL ID, you can call 833-503-4074 or visit