Illinois IDs valid in airports until 2018, despite not being federally compliant

Robin Opsahl, Assistant City Editor

The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday that Illinois residents can use their driver’s licenses and state IDs to get through airport security until January 2018, despite Illinois’ failure to adopt federal standards on IDs.

Illinois was denied an extension on the 2005 Real ID Act in December for not meeting the act’s requirements, such as providing proof of legal U.S. residency when acquiring a driver’s license.

While consequences of not complying with the Real ID Act won’t affect Illinois fliers for another two years, federal buildings no longer recognize Illinois IDs as sufficient for entrance, the DHS said. Federal buildings, such as military bases, were expected to have alternate forms of identification outlined by January 10. Airports were also supposed to have rules for Illinois residents by then to go into effect mid-2016, but were not released with the extension.

State identification will not be recognized as federally valid until Illinois meets all standards for the Real ID Act, which will cost the state up to $60 million, said David Druker, Illinois Secretary of State spokesman. Secretary of State officials plan to work with the state’s General Assembly about working toward funding the necessary changes over the course of two to three years to bring the state into compliance with Real ID standards.

Jan. 22, 2018 will be a hard deadline for noncompliant states that haven’t been granted extensions by the DHS, said Secretary Jeh C. Johnson in a press release Friday. Current states that are not compliant without extension also include Minnesota and Missouri.

“Given today’s threat environment, this requirement is as relevant now as it was when the 9/11 Commission recommended it,” Johnson said in the release.

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