More Illinois Residents Obtaining REAL IDs 7 Months Before Deadline

ILLINOIS — Nearly 3 million Illinois residents have already gotten their REAL ID cards, but the state’s Secretary of State’s agency continues to tout the convenience of completing documentation online and making an appointment to streamline the process.

The push comes as the Department of Homeland Security prepares to enforce the identification form for air travelers.

The latest data shared with Patch Friday shows that more Illinois residents have gotten their REAL IDs ahead of the May 3, 2023, deadline. As of Friday, there are 2.9 million Illinoisans who have chosen to make the switch over to the new form of identification which will be needed starting next spring for anyone wanting to fly domestically.

Locking down appointments to obtain a REAL ID has been difficult for some Illinois residents depending on where they live. But a Secretary of State spokesperson told Patch that in most SOS locations, appointments may be made the same day and those looking for appointments on any given day are able to secure them by starting to look around 7:30 a.m.

Residents are able to make advance appointments for road exams, standard driver’s licenses, ID cards, and REAL IDs at 30 appointment facilities throughout the state, 17 of which are in the greater Chicago area.

All of the other Driver Services facilities accept walk-in customers. For a list of appointment facilities, please visit In addition, residents may schedule an appointment by calling one of the 30 appointment facilities at 844-817-4649.

In recent months, DMV officials have seen at least 65,000 residents each month applying for a REAL ID per month, and the totals are creeping up each month:

  • May: 67,745 applications
  • June: 78,576 applications
  • July: 86,499 applications
  • August: 86,499 applications
  • September: 87,484 applications

State officials have launched social media and online public awareness campaigns and officials said another big push will be made ahead of the May deadline.

During the pandemic, the deadline was moved to 2023 for Illinois residents and the rest of the nation. Sweeping COVID-19 restrictions made it more cumbersome for residents to make trips to the Illinois Secretary of State Driver’s Services locations were operating in person at a limited capacity.

Getting a REAL ID isn’t necessarily required, but the state is recommending it. U.S. passports will still be an acceptable form of federal identification to board any flight or visit a federal property. Those who are under 18 years old are not required to have this ID to fly.

However, the spokesperson said that if residents do not plan to fly or visit federal facilities, it is not necessary to make the switch over to the REAL ID.

The REAL ID Act was passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.

To obtain a real ID, Illinois residents must provide documents to prove their identity, their Social Security number, a written signature, and two documents that show proof of residence.

Here’s what will be accepted to prove identity:

  • Certified copy of a birth certificate
  • U.S. passport
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Certificate of Citizenship issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Form N-560 or Form N-561
  • Certificate of Naturalization issued by DHS, Form N-550 or Form N-570
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by DHS, Form I-766 or Form I-688B
  • Foreign passport with a valid U.S. visa affixed accompanied by the approved Form I-94 documenting the applicant’s most recent admittance to the United States
  • Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) issued by DHS or the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
  • REAL ID, driver’s license, ID card

To verify their Social Security number, residents can use:

  • Social Security card
  • W-2
  • Pay stub or printed electronic deposit receipt bearing their name and SSN
  • SSA-1099 Form
  • Non-SSA-1099 Form

To prove residency, residents must show any TWO of the following documents:

  • Bank statement (dated within 90 days prior to application). Account numbers must be visible
  • Canceled check (dated within 90 days prior to application). Account numbers must be visible
  • Credit card statements from Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, or a statement for a card with 1 of these logos. Account numbers must be visible
  • Certified grade/high school or college/university transcript
  • Credit report issued by Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion (dated within 12 months prior to application)
  • Deed/title, mortgage, or rental/lease agreement
  • Insurance policy (homeowner’s or renter’s). Account numbers must be visible
  • Letter on official school letterhead (dated within 90 days prior to application)
  • Medical claim or statement of benefits from a private insurance company or public (government) agency (dated within 90 days prior to application)
  • Pay stub or printed electronic deposit receipt
  • Official mail received from a state, county, city, village, or federal government agency that includes your first and last name and complete current address. This may include, but is not limited to:
    • Homestead Exemption Receipt.
    • Jury duty notice (issued within 90 days prior to application).
    • Selective Service card
    • Social Security annual statement
    • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) statement
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits statement
  • Pension or retirement statement. Account numbers must be visible
  • Report card from grade/high school or college/university.
  • Tuition invoice or other official mail from a college/university (dated within 12 months prior to application)
  • Utility bill − electric, water, refuse, phone (land or cell), cable, or gas (issued within 90 days prior to application). Account numbers must be visible
  • Voter registration card

Proof of written signature can be shown using any of the following:

  • Illinois driver’s license or ID
  • Temporary driver’s license, ID, or commercial learner’s permit
  • Out-of-state driver’s license/ID
  • Canceled check (dated within 90 days prior to application). Account numbers must be visible.
  • Cooperative Driver Testing Program certificate
  • Court order
  • Credit card/debit card – a major provider
  • Driver’s license issued by an agency of the U.S. government (e.g., Department of State)
  • Foreign passport
  • An identification card issued by an agency of the U.S. government
  • Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Identification Card Verification Form
  • Medicare card – with suffix A, J, H, M, or T
  • Mortgage or installment loan documents. Account numbers must be visible
  • Social Security card
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) forms:
    • Form I-551 (Permanent Resident Card)
    • Form I-766 (Employment Authorization Card)
    • Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) with a valid passport
  • U.S. military driver’s license/ID
  • U.S. military service record (e.g., DD 214)

Residents will receive a temporary paper ID at the drivers’ services facility and will receive their REAL ID in the mail.


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