After all the pandemic-caused deadline postponements, you may have thought that the day would never come, or maybe with all the other things you've had to think about and deal with over the last four years you've completely forgotten about Illinois' REAL ID.

Either way, it's okay. For now, anyway.

But... a year from now it will be a different story for those who will need a REAL ID but don't have one. Let's take a look to see if you need or want one, and if you do, how you go about getting yourself organized to apply for an Illinois REAL ID so you'll have it when REAL ID goes into effect.

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If you're planning on doing this...(Getty Images)
loading...'ll need this. (Illinois REAL ID, Facebook)'ll need this. (Illinois REAL ID, Facebook)

The Department Of Homeland Security Will Begin Enforcement Of REAL ID For Air Travelers Next Year, On May 7th, 2025

I know, that's a few days more than a year from right now, but state officials (knowing how people can be when it comes to deadlines) are urging Illinois residents to get busy now so that there won't be a giant logjam of applications in May.

Anyone who's paid attention to FOID cards, CCL applications, and unemployment benefits knows how well Illinois officials do when they're buried in applications (not well at all), and nobody wants to deal with that.

It can feel like this sometimes. (Getty Images)
It can feel like this sometimes. (Getty Images)

Before you groan about having something else to add to your already busy life, keep in mind that not everyone is going to need an Illinois REAL ID.

Take a look at what the requirements are and see if an Illinois REAL ID is for you:

Illinois REAL ID, Facebook
Illinois REAL ID, Facebook

If Illinois' Real ID is something you'll want to get, here's what you need to apply. The following are acceptable documents to prove identity:

    • Birth certificate
    • U.S. passport
    • Foreign passport with U.S. visa affixed with approved Form I-94 document
    • Consular Report of Birth Abroad
    • Certificate of Citizenship
    • Certificate of Naturalization
    • Employment Authorization Document
    • Permanent Resident Card
    • To provide proof of their Social Security number, residents can show their Social Security card or a W-2. A pay stub with a Social Security number on it will also be accepted.

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