Driver Services Facilities Open Statewide, But Expect Long Lines

Driver's License

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White reminded the public Thursday that Driver Services facilities statewide are open to serve only new drivers, customers with expired driver’s licenses/ID cards, and vehicle transactions.

White also reminded the public that face masks are required, and asked those who must visit facilities to be patient due to heavy volume.

And according to WBBM Newsradio's Rob Hart, the lines have been long since facilities reopened this week.

A Secretary of State's office spokesperson said that people can avoid lines by conducting their renewals online or by waiting several weeks. The expiration dates for all driver's licenses, vehicle stickers, and state IDs has been pushed back to Oct. 1.

The Secretary of State office on Lee Street in Des Plaines was one of many that attracted a long line Thursday morning.  Nearly all of the people in line were teenagers and their parents. They waited up to 90 minutes for the chance to take their road test and get their first driver's license.

Michele Brennan of Glenview waited in line with her daughter.  She said workers were friendly and informative.

"The people that are running this today are very helpful, very organized.  They've made it very easy to wait," Brennan said.

She adds that her daughter's friends waited in long lines earlier this week, so she knew to arrive early.

For drive tests, according to Jesse White, employees will wear face masks and face shields due to the close proximity with the customer inside the vehicle. Customers will be required to wear face masks. Disposable plastic will be used to cover the vehicle seats during the drive test and then discarded immediately after the conclusion of the drive test.

“Throughout this pandemic, my commitment has been to do everything we can to help protect the health and safety of our residents and my employees, while providing services to the people of Illinois,” White said. “This reopening plan adheres to this commitment.” 

Residents who do not wish to wait in line are strongly encouraged to go online to conduct their business. Residents may go to to take advantage of many online services – such as renewing vehicle registration stickers – from the comfort of their own home. Other online services include obtaining a duplicate driver’s license or ID card, obtaining a driving record abstract, and renewing a driver’s license through the Safe Driver Renewal program. 

The extension of expiration dates for driver’s licenses/ID cards and vehicle registration stickers until Oct. 1 also covers those who have June and July expiration dates. As a result, expired documents will remain valid until Oct. 1 so customers do not need to rush into a facility.

Currently there are more than 700,000 expired driver’s licenses/ID cards and 1.9 million expired vehicle registrations. 

White also reminded the public that the federal government extended the REAL ID deadline by one year until October 1, 2021. White had petitioned the federal government for this extension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People with valid U.S. passports are encouraged to consider delaying their visit to a facility to apply for a REAL ID until their driver’s license is near its expiration date.