Long lines force change at many Secretary of State offices
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is promising changes after continued long lines at facilities focused on driver’s licenses and identification cards.
White said in a statement Friday that 16 facilities in the Chicago area will begin requiring an appointment to apply for or renew a driver’s license and ID cards beginning next month. Road tests also will require an appointment.
Seniors, people with disabilities and pregnant women can still walk into those facilities without an appointment, White said.
Larger facilities in central and downstate Illinois also will move to scheduled appointments soon but White’s office would not provide a specific date.
Some Secretary of State facilities will keep seeing people on a walk-in basis, including the central Chicago office inside the Thompson Center and rural facilities that serve smaller numbers of people.
White’s office also plans to expand a program letting people renew their driver’s license or ID card online, by phone or by mail through February. The office previously extended all expiration dates to Jan. 1.
People who are eligible will receive mailed letters with details about those options. White said his offices estimates this could mean 1 million people will not need to come into an office in person.
People must come into an office to get a first-time license, ID card or REAL ID. People older than 75 also are required to continue in-person visits when renewing a license.