The REAL ID can be used for domestic flights or to enter federal facilities, but you don't have to get one if you'd rather use your passport.

If you use your driver's license to board airplanes, changes are ahead. In October 2020, the federal "REAL ID" program will take effect. At that point, Homeland Security will look for a gold star in the top right hand corner of your license. Without it, you will need to show your passport, even for domestic flights.

Illinois Secretary of State website:

Your current Illinois driver's license or ID card (DL/ID) will be accepted at airports, military bases and secure federal facilities until Oct. 1, 2020. Beginning spring 2019, we are providing you with the choice either to obtain a REAL ID card or to keep a standard card. Take time to know your options.

Fees for a standard DL/ID and REAL ID DL/ID are the same.

You won't need a Real ID if:

  • You have a valid U.S. passport or passport card; or
  • You do not use airplanes as a mode of domestic transportation; or
  • You do not visit military bases; or
  • You do not visit secure federal facilities.

You will need a Real ID if:

  • You do not have a valid U.S. passport or passport card; AND
  • You use airplanes as a mode of domestic transportation; or
  • You visit military bases; or
  • You visit secure federal facilities.

Click here to check out the Illinois Secretary of State's REAL ID page for more information.