IL Secure Driver License

Last week, the state of Illinois released a newly designed driver’s license and identification (ID) card. Although not completely compliant with the federal REAL ID act, the new design does boast a number of upgraded security features that were added to reduce potential identity theft and unlawful license duplication. The new card design includes:

  • Detailed fine-line graphic background: a pre-printed background design with many lines and colors makes the documents difficult to accurately reproduce
  • Background images featuring the Illinois State Seal and a portrait of Abraham Lincoln
  • Laser-perforated design: the outline of Illinois is embedded into the card stock and visible only when the document is held up to a light source
  • Ultraviolet sensitive inks embedded into the back of the card and reveal cardholder’s duplicated photo and date of birth
  • A ghosted second portrait appears on the lower right hand side of the card
  • 2D barcode on the back of the card protects citizens’ information

Illinois will also begin using a process called central issuance to distribute all licenses and ID cards, wherein new documents will be printed and mailed from a high-security centralized facility, after the applicant’s identity has been confirmed with the assistance of facial recognition software. The central issuance process limits access to card materials, printing equipment, and residents’ personal information, and over thirty states already use it. Permanent cards should be delivered to recipients within 15 business days.

Secure Paper Temporary License

The temporary paper document applicants will receive while they wait for the permanent card to arrive in the mail.

The temporary, secure paper document distributed while a citizen waits to receive a permanent card in the mail has a new design as well, and will be valid for 45 days. It can be used in combination with the prior license or ID card for air travel, until the permanent version arrives. Although the new design for the driver’s license and ID card and the move to central issuance cost the state approximately $6 million, the fee for obtaining or renewing a license or ID card remains the same ($20-$30).

All current Illinois driver’s licenses and ID cards will remain valid until they expire; no citizen has to obtain the newly designed documents until renewal is required.

See the Secretary of State brochure about the new design and issuing process: Central Issuance Brochure

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