How to get an Illinois REAL ID driver’s license
COTC Update 12/10/19: Due to the federally mandated REAL ID program, wait times at Driver Services facilities have increased. Please be patient and be aware that the DMV may need to suspend certain services, including drive tests, to ensure that they serve those already in line. Beginning Dec. 30, New Operating Hours at some Driver Services Facilities to Accommodate REAL ID Applicants) This is a pdf).
Some Driver Services facilities throughout Chicagoland and northern Illinois will change operating hours and add exclusive days just for REAL ID applicants to accommodate the increased volume of customers applying for REAL ID driver’s licenses and ID cards.
Update 12/11/19: Just had lunch with someone who said there is a separate line for seniors at the Elston facility. There were four people in that line and more than 100 in the regular line. YMMV.
What is REAL ID
REAL ID is a driver’s license (and State ID) with specific characteristics that meet the federal governments requirements. Beginning October 1, 2020 you will no longer be able to board an aircraft with a regular Illinois Driver’s License (or State ID). If you have a passport you can fly with that until you get a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or State ID.
What’s required to get a REAL ID compliant license
I recently renewed my Driver’s License at the Thompson Center. You have two options for your driver’s license: Standard or Real ID compliant. Read about the options here. I went at 2PM on a Wednesday and was out in an hour. Following reflects my experience.
Bring the license renewal document you received in the mail.
All applicants must provide proof of identity
Name change documents
All applicants must provide proof of full Social Security number (SSN)
All applicants must provide two current residency documents with the applicant’s name
All applicants must provide proof of signature
Bring the right paper documents and don’t alter them in anyway. Keep in mind that all your documents will be scanned in and sent somewhere for review. You cannot use the Temporary paper license they will issue to travel as the TSA and federal agents will not accept the paper document. So if you have a trip coming up renew your license early or travel with your passport. More info here.