By Greg Bishop/Illinois Radio Network
SPRINGFIELD – Officials in Illinois said the state is expected to apply to join the federal government’s REAL ID law later this year.
The federal REAL ID Act was enacted in 2005 after the 9/11 Commission recommended creating minimum security standards for state identification cards. The license allows access into federal buildings and commercial flights.
Illinois currently has an extension in place, so residents still can board domestic flights with their current forms of ID.
Nathan Maddox, senior legal adviser at the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, said the state has been working toward implementation of REAL ID for several years.
After the state joins the REAL ID program, Illinois residents will have a grace period to obtain a new license. There will be no increase in the license fee, Maddox said.
“You can either apply for a standard driver’s license, renew your current driver’s license and get that, or you can apply for a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license,” Maddox said.
Maddox said the state will apply for the program in October.
“Once we become fully compliant, we expect to start issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards in January of 2019,” Maddox said.
Maddox said if residents do not want a REAL ID license, they still can opt to obtain a traditional identification card and driver’s license.
“If you do not travel in the air, you do not go to federal facilities, or you have a passport and do not want to bother getting a REAL ID, you can certainly get by with just a standard driver’s license or identification card,” Maddox said.
Maddox said it is important for residents to remember they will need to bring in proof of identity, proof of Social Security number and proof of address in order to receive the new license.
“You will have to bring in certain documents again to get the license, but as long as you have those documents, there should not be any more effort involved than a normal renewal,” Maddox said.