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Yes, You Can Fly With An Illinois Driver's License: Getting Real On REAL ID

Illinois driver's license

Your driver's license will suffice to get through airport security for another couple of years, even though Illinois doesn't meet federal guidelines under the REAL ID Act. Here's what Illinois needs to change if it's to comply.

Congress enacted the REAL ID act after 9/11; it's meant to help keep people who aren't supposed to have an American ID from fraudulently getting one.

A decade after it passed, Illinois isn't up to snuff.

Your physical drivers' license -- the one with the bad photo, wavy lines across the front, and holographic seal -- *that* meets federal standards. Even exceeds them, says Sec. of State spokesman Henry Haupt.

Haupt says the feds want a passport or birth certificate when you renew a license; something Illinois doesn't require. "We would most certainly need to purchase scanning equipment, we'd have to install storage devices and transmission lines and things of that nature."

He says drivers' license facilities would also have to be remodeled, because REAL ID wants applicants' photos taken first; in Illinois, your photo is taken last.

The Secretary of State's Office estimates those and other cost will bring Illinois' tab to $60 million if it's to come into compliance.

And he says Illinois needs to change its laws  to add expiration dates to senior citizens' IDs, and to forbid residents from getting both a driver's license and a state ID.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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