Metro-East News

Illinois IDs to be accepted at airports until 2018

Illinois residents will still be able to use their driver’s licenses and identification cards at airports for at least two more years, the Secretary of State’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security said.

In an update on the REAL ID Act on Friday, the Department of Homeland Security announced there will be no security changes at airports for at least two years, with any changes beginning no sooner than Jan. 22, 2018.

As a result, Illinois driver’s licenses and ID cards will continue to be accepted as primary forms of identification to board commercial airplanes for domestic travel.

A January 2016 deadline had been set for all states to comply with new federal regulations under the Real ID Act.

Residents from Illinois had faced the possibility of increased security measures at airports because the state has yet to meet the requirements of the federal law, said Secretary of State spokesman Henry Haupt.

Homeland Security had been saying it would give a minimum of 120-day notice of any security procedure changes. Friday’s update gives travelers a two-year notice.

“This finally provides clarity we need,” Haupt said.

Homeland Security said in Friday’s update that on Jan. 22, 2018, people with a driver’s license or identification card issued by a state, such as Illinois and Missouri, that does not meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act, must have an alternative form of identification acceptable to the Transportation Security Administration in order to board a commercial domestic flight.

Neither Illinois nor Missouri has received an extension from the federal government.

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, every air traveler will need a REAL ID-compliant license, or another acceptable form of identification, for domestic air travel.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office said it will continue to work with Homeland Security and the Illinois General Assembly on meeting the requirements of the REAL ID Act.

Haupt would not comment on how long it would take to resolve the state’s REAL ID issues.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter