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Jesse White Announces Security Upgrades to Driver’s License/ID Card and Changes to the Issuance Process

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that his office is upgrading security features to the Driver’s License/ID card design and expanding the central issuance process for driver’s licenses and ID cards to all applicants. With implementation of these changes, Illinois has moved closer to achieving full REAL ID compliance, which is a federal mandate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).


By the end of July, applicants visiting Driver Services facilities will no longer be issued a new permanent DL/ID card at the end of the application process. Instead, they will leave the facility with a temporary secure paper driver’s license, which is valid for 45 days and will serve as their DL/ID for driving purposes and proof of identification. The temporary, secure paper driver’s license or ID card will contain a photo and the basic information that appears on the permanent driver’s license or ID card. In addition, the facility employee will return the old DL/ID card back to the applicant after punching a hole in it.


Meanwhile, the applicant’s information will be sent to a centralized, secure facility in Illinois. After fraud checks have been conducted to ensure the applicant’s identity, a higher quality, more secure DL/ID will be printed and sent via U.S. mail within 15 business days to the applicant’s address.


“These changes are necessary for Illinois to be REAL ID compliant,” said White. In addition, the changes further enhance our efforts to protect Illinoisans from fraud and identity theft.” The upgraded driver’s license and ID card contain a variety of enhanced security features that take advantage of new developments in technology.”


For purposes of air travel, DHS states that it will accept the temporary document in conjunction with the old DL/ID to board an aircraft until the permanent card arrives in the mail. Illinois joins 39 other states that have moved to centralized production of DL/ID cards. This includes heavily populated states like California, Texas, and New York – as well as Illinois’ neighboring states.


These necessary changes are important steps toward becoming REAL ID compliant. DHS announced in January that Illinois DL/IDs will continue to be accepted as primary forms of identification to board commercial airplanes for domestic travel until January 22, 2018. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office continues to work with DHS and the Illinois General Assembly on the Real ID Act.


“Becoming REAL ID compliant is a step-by-step process, and with these changes Illinois is now 84 percent compliant with the federal mandate,” said White.


Central issuance provides better fraud and identity theft prevention by allowing the office to investigate possible fraud before applicants receive their DL/ID – and preventing its issuance and mailing.  In addition, the design of the DL/ID card has been upgraded with important features that over-the-counter technology simply cannot produce. These types of anti-counterfeiting security features help prevent and deter fraud.


The transition to central issuance will take place in phases. First, beginning this week, Safe Driver Renewal applicants will receive by mail their new driver’s license with the upgraded security features. These motorists opted for and expect to receive their driver’s license via mail. Second, through a gradual rollout, Driver Services facilities throughout the state will implement central issuance using the newly designed card. By the end of July, all Driver Services facilities will have transitioned to central issuance.


It is imperative that applicants ensure their address is updated with the Secretary of State’s office in order to receive the permanent driver’s license or ID card. By law, address changes must be reported within 10 days.  Illinoisans can update their address online at If an applicant does not receive their new permanent driver’s license or ID card after 15 business days of visiting a facility, they can check the status at or call 217-782-7044.


While the driver’s license and ID card upgrades are being implemented, there will be more than one valid driver’s license/ID card until the old design format is phased out. Fees remained unchanged.


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