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More time given to get Real ID, but process can be slow

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is reminding the public that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the federal Real ID deadline to May 3, 2023.

With the extended federal deadline of Real ID, current Illinois driver’s licenses and ID cards will continue to be accepted at airports until May 3, 2023.

“I applaud the decision by DHS to extend the Real ID deadline to May 3, 2023 – 19 months past the old deadline of Oct. 1, 2021,” said White. “This is the proper and necessary action in response to the pandemic.”

DHS cited that it extended the deadline due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the impact the virus is having on the general public and driver’s license and ID card-issuing agencies nationwide. White, along with other state and business leaders from around the country, had called on DHS to extend the Real ID deadline due to the pandemic.

White encourages the public to visit his office’s website at instead of visiting a Driver Services facility. Many transactions can be conducted online, including purchasing license plate stickers, obtaining duplicate driver’s licenses or ID cards, and renewing standard driver’s licenses or ID cards for those who are eligible.

In addition, White has extended all driver’s license and ID card expiration dates until Aug 1, 2021.

According to the Associated Press, Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005 to establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards following a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission.

The updated cards will be required for airport check-in and to enter federal facilities. For Illinois residents who fly domestically, the federal government will require you to use a valid U.S. passport or obtain a Real ID from the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

People are getting compliant IDs as they renew, but it takes time and the process has been slowed by the pandemic, with many state agencies operating at limited capacity.

DHS says only 43 percent of all driver’s licenses and identification cards are compliant.

Older IDs will be suitable to allow people to drive, buy liquor or other age-regulated products, and gamble at casinos. Travelers also can use military IDs or passports to access flights and federal facilities.

1 Comment

  1. Bob Pugh on May 17, 2021 at 9:41 am

    So, you need to wear a mask on a plane to prove you’re not a danger to others but you don’t need to have a cursory security check done?

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