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New driver’s licenses, state ID cards coming to Illinois soon

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White shows the new driver's license that will feature upgraded security, left. In his other hand is an example of the temporary paper license that will be issued at Department of Motor Vehicles facilities. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Beginning in late July, when you renew your Illinois driver’s license or ID card in the Chicago area, you’ll walk out with a hole punched in your old one and a temporary paper replacement.

The new license or ID will arrive about 15 business days later in the mail, as part of an effort to combat fraud and identity theft — and to comply with a federal mandate.

The new system is set to kick off in Southern Illinois and make its way to the Chicago area by late July, officials said Tuesday.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White unveiled the new license — which will cost the same as the current one — to reporters Tuesday.

“These changes will better protect Illinoisans from becoming victims of fraud and identity theft,” White said, speaking to reporters at the Thompson Center.

Currently, permanent driver’s licenses are issued from driver’s services facilities across the state.

“That meant that facility people had to do a great deal of work,” said Jim Burns, the inspector general for White’s office. “They had to be on their toes, in case they saw something that didn’t look right.”

Soon, all driver’s licenses and ID cards will be made centrally in Springfield. The new ID design will be “highly sophisticated and contains security features that are among the most advanced in the country,” according to White’s office.

When you go to your local driver’s services office, you’ll be asked to present your old ID, which will be scanned. The scanned copy of the license will then be sent to the Springfield office.

“That gives us time in order to evaluate the information … and make sure the system is confident that it’s good, credible information,” Burns said.

Illinois’ new system is part of a nationwide security effort mandated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s REAL ID Act.

If you plan to fly before your new driver’s license arrives, you’ll need to carry both the temporary paper ID and the old one, officials said. Transportation Security Administration officials have said they’ll accept those interim forms of ID for their expedited security screening program, TSA Pre. When your new ID arrives, it will be accepted for TSA Pre as well.