A law enacted a decade ago is about to make a lot of people very unhappy. At some point in 2016, driver's licenses and identifications issued by the State of Illinois will no longer be valid for federal identification purposes. This includes the identifications accepted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) needed to pass through airport security as well as enter federal buildings. The only other forms of identification that would be accepted are a US passport, US military identification, permanent residence card or a trusted traveler card such as Global Entry or NEXUS. Unfortunately, only four in ten Americans have a valid US passport.

In 2005, Congress enacted the REAL ID Act which required states to increase security on issuance of driver's licenses and identification cards. All states were required to comply by May 11, 2008. At that point, Illinois indicated that it would comply with REAL ID. However, it, along with several other states, obtained several extensions of the implementation of the law. These extensions were granted as long as they promised to comply with REAL ID and they met certain benchmarks. The initial extensions were granted to nine states: Alaska, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina and Washington, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands, and are due to expire on January 10, 2016. As of January 6th, the DHS has issued extensions to Alaska, California, New Jersey and South Carolina until October 10, 2016.

Due to the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist attacks, the federal government is making implementation of REAL ID a priority. Illinois' last extension expired in October 2015 and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has indicated that it will not grant a further extension of REAL ID to the State. DHS has indicated that it will give Illinois a 120-day notice before enforcement of REAL ID begins.