If you recall, the original, pre-pandemic deadline for the move to REAL ID was October 21, 2020. Then, COVID-19 came along and threw a monkey-wrench into things. So, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pushed things back one year to October 21, 2021 to give people time to get things together while dealing with the pandemic.

As it turned out, that wasn't enough time, either. So, instead of extending the deadline by just one year, the Illinois Secretary of State's Office pushed the due date back two years.

Some reminders have been circulating about this year's deadline, so if you've been hoping for another extension, I think you may be out of luck.

If you think you might want one of these, you'll need that Real ID (Getty Images)
If you think you might want one of these, you'll need that Real ID (Getty Images)

The Department Of Homeland Security Will Begin Enforcement Of REAL ID For Air Travelers This Year, On May 3rd, 2023

I know, that's 90 days 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.

Kenny thought application processing would be easy. (Getty Images)
Kenny thought application processing would be easy. (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 and see if REAL ID is for you (just ignore that part about "effective October 1st, 2020"):

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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