REAL ID Deadline Extended to 2023

As part of the Global War on Terror, Congress enacted the REAL-ID Act over fifteen years ago to transition the state-issued ID cards of the United States into much more secure documents. A valid REAL-ID card, issued by the Illinois Secretary of State, is distinguishable by having a white star printed inside a gold circle.

People with REAL-ID cards have presented documentation to prove their valid residency or citizenship, and in return for presenting these documents, they received an identification card manufactured in a secure location with hard-to-counterfeit technology.

Under the provisions of federal law that were valid up until this week, the REAL-ID card was supposed to become a nationwide mandate on October 1, 2021. On and after that date, American residents who wanted to enter a federal building or fly on a plane would have been asked to show REAL-ID compliant information. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended the October 2021 REAL-ID compliance deadline to May 3, 2023.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has acknowledged the DHS ruling, and Illinois drivers’ licenses will not have to comply with REAL-ID until May 3, 2023, the new deadline set by federal law. Currently, expiring Illinois drivers’ licenses and ID cards will not expire until August 1, 2021. The Secretary of State and his Division of Driver Services continue to encourage all Illinoisans to take action to renew their licenses.

In some cases, including persons who already have REAL-ID compliant identification up for renewal, the licenses can be renewed online at

This Illinois drivers’ license extension does not cover commercial drivers’ licenses (CDLs). If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Rep. Stephens’ office by calling (773) 444-0611 or sending an email to