The Crusader Newspaper Group

REAL IDs needed to board airlines in 2020

No extended hours as long lines continue for REAL IDs


Crusader Staff Report

Long lines continue to plague driver’s license stations throughout Chicago as residents rush to get the new federally-required REAL IDs, which are needed to board airplanes starting October 1, 2020. The new IDs are also required to enter a federal court building.

REAL IDs are not required to drive a car or to vote in elections.

Residents can obtain the Real IDs in the form of a driver’s license or a state ID. Unlike regular driver’s licenses and state IDs Real IDs can only be obtained at driver’s license facilities and not online.

Current Illinois driver’s licenses or ID cards will be accepted for domestic air travel or to enter secure federal facilities until October 1, 2020.

With nearly a year left for the start date, some 375,000 REAL IDs have been issued. Residents across Chicago are flooding drivers’ license stations in Chicago to get the REAL IDs, causing wait times as long as three hours. Many residents have been turned away because of the limited service times.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has not said whether he will extend the business hours of eight Chicago facilities. However, White is reminding residents that a REAL ID is not needed for domestic flights if they possess a valid U.S. passport, or military or other TSA-acceptable form of identification.

“Our goal is to continue raising awareness about REAL ID so Illinoisans can make an informed decision on whether they want to apply for a REAL ID or keep their current driver’s license or ID card,” said White. “We are asking Illinoisans who choose REAL ID to come prepared with the necessary documents and to please be patient at the facility because the process takes longer due to the multiple documents required by the federal government.”

Illinois REAL ID cards are now a permanent option for Illinois residents.

According to the federal government, a valid U.S. passport, passport card, and military ID are some acceptable alternatives to a REAL ID card.

The REAL ID Act is a federal mandate by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that sets standards for state-issued DL/IDs by making identification documents more secure to combat fraud and identity theft.

Based on federal guidelines, to obtain an Illinois REAL ID card, all applicants — including those who currently hold a standard Illinois DL/ID — must provide:

One document proving identity (examples: a certified U.S. birth certificate, a U.S. passport, an employment authorization document, a permanent resident card or a foreign passport with an approved I-94 form).


One document proving Social Security Number (SSN) (examples: a SSN card, a W-2 or a pay stub with full SSN).

Two documents proving residency with the applicant’s correct name and address (examples: a utility bill, rental agreement, deed/title, bank statement or credit card statement).

One document proving signature (examples: a credit/debit card, a canceled check or a current Illinois DL/ID).

A full list of approved documents is available at Residents are encouraged to use the interactive checklist at to determine what documents are required to bring to the facility in order to apply for a REAL ID.

For more information on REAL ID, visit For more information on the REAL ID Act, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website at


Beginning October 1, 2020, a Real ID-compliant driver’s license, permit, or identification card will be required to board commercial airplanes or enter certain federal facilities unless you present a Department of Homeland Security-approved document.

A Real ID meets federal government requirements for driver’s licenses, identification cards, and learner’s permits.

Do you already have a Real ID? If you have a star in the upper right-hand corner of your driver’s license, permit, or identification card, you have a Real-ID compliant license.

To upgrade to Real ID, all customers must visit a motor vehicles branch and bring the required documents. Only original versions or certified copies of the required documents will be accepted.

A Real ID is required for everyone applying for a new Indiana credential (driver’s license, learner’s permit, or identification card).

Persons who are not United States citizens (legal temporary or permanent residents) are required to have a Real ID and must present full documentation proving identity (name and date of birth), Social Security number, lawful status in the United States, and Indiana residency.

Customers who are renewing, amending, or replacing their current Indiana credential have the option of applying for a Real ID or a non-compliant credential, but are encouraged to obtain a Real ID-compliant credential. Use the interactive document guide for a personalized document list.

Whether you are getting a new, renewed, amended, or replaced credential, you will receive your permanent Real ID credential within 14 days of your visit to the license branch, provided there are no problems with your application or documentation.

Customers with questions about Real ID can call the BMV toll-free at 888-692-6841 and speak with a customer service representative for help or visit any Indiana BMV branch for assistance.

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