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Starting In August, It Will Take Weeks To Get A New Driver's License

By Mae Rice in News on May 18, 2016 3:07PM

Still via YouTube

Illinois driver's licenses are getting a makeover. Soon, a shadowy Abraham Lincoln will lurk in the background of all new licenses—and, more importantly, licenses will no longer be issued by individual Secretary of State facilities (known in most other states as DMVs), but instead by one central facility that more rigorously verifies driver identities, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced Tuesday. The change to the system began Tuesday, and will be fully rolled out across the state by the end of July.

The new driver's license system will put Illinois in compliance, at long last, with the federal Real ID Act. As we noted back in December, current Illinois driver's licenses don't comply with the act, and the state has put off compliance for more than a decade now. (The Real ID Act passed in 2005.) The Department of Homeland Security rejected Illinois' most recent request to put compliance off further, though—hence this change.

What the change means on the ground, as White explains on his website, is that Secretary of State facilities will no longer give out official licenses. Instead, at the end of the driver's license application process, drivers will receive a temporary paper license, valid for 45 days, along with their previous license, hole-punched to indicate that a new license is on the way.

While drivers use the temporary license—which is valid at airports, in conjunction with the hole-punched old license—the central driver's licensing facility will run security checks designed to prevent identity theft. Checks will include running driver photos through a facial recognition database, the Tribune reports. The facility will send applicants their official licenses within 15 business days.

The new ID process began rolling out for drivers renewing their licenses through the Safe Driver Renewal program on Tuesday. In June, the new licensing process will start rolling out to Secretary of State facilities, and by the end of July, it will be in effect at every Illinois Secretary of State facility.

Correction, May 19: A previous version of this post called Secretary of State facilities "DMVs." That's not the terminology used in Illinois.