Illinois to change how and when people receive new driver’s licenses, IDs

By Joseph Bustos, Belleville News-Democrat

By July, people will have to wait a little longer to get a their new driver’s license or state identification card.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office plans to expand its central issuance process for people applying for driver’s licenses and state identification cards as the state moves closer to meeting the requirements of the federal REAL ID Act.

By the end of July people who apply for licenses and IDs at driver services facilities will no longer receive a permanent license or ID cards at the end of the application process.


Instead they will receive a temporary license, valid for 45 days, which will serve for identification and driving purposes, the secretary of state’s office said. The temporary and secure identification card will have a photo and the basic information that appears on a permanent ID card. People also will receive their old identification card with a hole punched in it.

Applicants’ information will be sent to a centralized, secure facility in the state. After fraud checks have been conducted to ensure the applicant’s identity, a higher quality, more secure license or identification card will be printed and sent via U.S. mail within 15 business days to the applicant’s address, the secretary of state’s office.

The new process would bring the state to 84 percent compliance with the federal REAL ID act and protect people from fraud, the Secretary of State’s Office said.

New features of the identification cards include laser perforation in the shape of Illinois which will appear when held up to a light; a portrait of Abraham Lincoln and the state seal; and an ultraviolet feature on the back of the card that duplicates the person’s photo and birth date.

“The upgraded driver’s license and ID card contain a variety of enhanced security features that take advantage of new developments in technology,” Secretary of State Jesse White said.

The transition to central issuance will take place in phases.

Beginning this week, Safe Driver Renewal applicants will receive by mail their new driver’s license with the upgraded security features.


Through a gradual rollout, driver services facilities in the state will implement central issuance using the newly designed card. By the end of July, all driver services facilities will have transitioned to central issuance.

Secretary of State spokesman Henry Haupt said “it’s virtually impossible” to achieve REAL ID compliance unless the state goes to a central issuance.

For people who are flying, the Department of Homeland Security plans to accept the temporary document in conjunction with the old identification cards to board an aircraft until the permanent card arrives in the mail, the secretary of state’s office said.

DHS has said it will continue accepting Illinois IDs for domestic air travel until January of 2018.

Haupt said it will take about four years to replace old IDs with the new licenses and identification cards as people cycle through the renewal process.

Implementing the central issuing process, along with the printing and fraud checks, is costing about $6 million, Haupt said.

Becoming fully compliant with REAL ID by 2020 is estimated to cost about $10 million a year for four years, Haupt added.

“Going to central issuance process allows time to verify you are in fact who you say you are,” Haupt said. “If it turns out you are not, the card will not be issued to you.”