Drivers License, Real & Fake ID Cards

4 things to know about Illinois driver’s licenses, Real ID cards

real illinois id card

Real Illinois ID Card. The end of Sept. 2021 was supposed to mark the beginning of a new era for Illinoisans making their way through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at airports.

Federal Real ID requirements were previously scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 1 2021. However, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline was extended.

Now, those who typically rely on their standard Illinois driver’s license or ID card to fly within the United States will have until May 3, 2023, to update their state-issued license or identification to one that is Real ID compliant.

With that in mind, here are five things you should know about Illinois driver’s licenses, state-issued identification cards and Real IDs as we move forward.

Online options for new cards

Many people can renew their Illinois driver’s license or ID card online at You can also visit the website to see if you are eligible to renew your state-issued driver’s license or ID card without visiting a facility in the state.

White’s office is in the process of expanding who is eligible to take advantage of the online services. At the end of July, the secretary of state announced that his office would work over six months to expand remote renewal eligibility by approximately one million.

“During the pandemic, my office has continued to serve the public, including face-to-face transactions. In a safe and responsible manner,” said White in making the announcement. “Throughout this time, we also greatly expanded online services. This next step will allow many more people to renew their driver’s licenses or ID cards remotely instead of visiting a Driver Services facility.”

However, in order to apply for a Real ID driver’s license or ID card you must visit a license facility. Those looking to renew an instruction permit or a commercial learner’s permit must also do so in person.

Where to apply for a Real ID in Illinois

Those who do plan to visit a local driver’s license facility to apply for, replace or renew their state-issued ID or license are currently able to apply for a Real ID at the Springfield locations on South Dirksen Parkway and North Klein Street, as well as the Taylorville location on East Park Street. Or to find the nearest facility go to,

Illinois Real ID requirements

In order to apply for a Real ID, applicants will need to bring

  • Proof of identity, date of birth and U.S. citizenship or lawful status.
  • Name change documents — such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree, if a current name is different than the name that appears on an identity document.
  • Proof of a full social security number
  • Two documents with the address of a current residence
  • A document showing a written signature

When the extended federal deadline approaches on May 3, 2023, applicants will only need a Real ID. This if you do not have a valid U.S. passport or passport card and use airplanes to travel domestically. After the deadline, Real IDs will also be required to visit military bases and secure federal facilities without a passport.

Digital licenses in Illinois’ future?

This week, former Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias who is running to replace White as secretary of state. He sent emails asking people to donate to his campaign to introduce digital driver’s licenses.

“As we’ve come to rely more on our phones to prove identity and provide critical information, more than a dozen states have already implemented mobile driver’s license pilot programs or are currently testing technology,” the note in the campaign email states. “In addition, Apple announced earlier this month that eight states will be among the first, allowing residents to add their driver license or state identification card directly to their iPhone or Apple Watch within its Wallet app. We want Illinois to be added to the list.”

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