Why You Might Want To Get a Passport This Year

Why You Might Want To Get a Passport This Year

Credit: O'Hare Airport

Credit: O’Hare Airport

The Kane County Clerk’s Office made note in the February edition of its Up Front newsletter that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended the deadline for the state of Illinois to comply with the REAL ID Act guidelines for driver’s licenses through 2017.

What that means is a passport is not required for domestic flights at this time, but it might be smart to think ahead. The Kane County Clerk’s Office, of course, is one place to get yourself a passport.

“Adult passports do last 10 years,” the Clerk’s Office says in the Up Front newsletter. “Now might be a good time to get one to ensure that you don’t have any trouble flying in the future.”

If you have questions about the process or cost of obtaining or renewing your passport, call the Kane County Clerk’s Office at 630-232-5964 or visit the travel documents page on the clerk’s website.

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Clerk’s Office Passport FAQs

Homeland Security’s New Timetable

According to a January news release from Homeland Security, “no individual needs to adjust travel plans, or rush out to get a new driver’s license or a passport for domestic air travel.”

US Department of Homeland Security LogoUntil Jan. 22, 2018, residents of all states will still be able to use a state-issued driver’s license or identification card for domestic air travel. Passengers can also continue to use any of the various other forms of identification accepted by the Transportation Security Administration (such as a passport or passport card, global entry card, U.S. military ID, airline or airport-issued ID, federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID).

That said, Illinois is one of six remaining noncompliant states without extensions, according to the Homeland Security website. The others are American Samoa, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico and Washington.

Homeland Security has now reached the final phase of implementation of the REAL ID Act, which relates to commercial air travel.

These are the timelines for that final phase:

  • Effective now, the Department of Homeland Security will conduct outreach to educate the traveling public about the timeline below, and continue engagements with states to encourage compliance with REAL ID standards.
  • Starting July 15, 2016, TSA, in coordination with airlines and airport stakeholders, will begin to issue web-based advisories and notifications to the traveling public.
  • Starting Dec. 15, 2016, TSA will expand outreach at its airport checkpoints through signage, handouts and other methods.
  • Starting Jan. 22, 2018, passengers with a driver’s license issued by a state that is still not compliant with the REAL ID Act (and has not been granted an extension) will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel to board their flight. To check whether your state is compliant or has an extension, click here.  Passengers with driver’s licenses issued by a state that is compliant with REAL ID (or a state that has been issued an extension) will still be able to use their driver’s licenses or identification cards.
  • Starting Oct. 1, 2020, every air traveler will need a REAL ID-compliant license, or another acceptable form of identification, for domestic air travel.

Travelers are encouraged to check the REAL ID compliance status of their state on the DHS website and review TSA’s list of acceptable forms of identification. Travelers may also check with their state’s driver’s licensing agency about how to acquire a REAL ID compliant license.


Adult passengers 18 and over must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel.

  • Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DoD civilians)
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
  • Airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • Immigration and Naturalization Service Employment Authorization Card (I-766)

Learn about REAL ID or read the FAQ.

 Note: A weapon permit is not an acceptable form of identification.


TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. Contact the airline for questions regarding specific ID requirements for travelers under 18.

Forgot Your ID?

In the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. The TSA officer may ask you to complete a form to include your name and current address, and may ask additional questions to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint. You may be subject to additional screening.

You will not be allowed to fly if your identity cannot be confirmed, you chose to not provide proper identification or you decline to cooperate with the identity verification process.

TSA recommends you to arrive at least two hours in advance of your flight time to allow ample time for security screening and boarding the aircraft.

Read the frequently asked questions about ID requirements.

SOURCES: Up Front newsletter, Kane County Clerk’s Office website, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration