Launching Comprehensive Plan to Address Heavy Customer Volume at Facilities Caused by COVID-19 Pandemic
Expanding remote renewal program for DLs/IDs so more customers can renew online, by phone or by mail
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is reminding the public that beginning the first week of September, customers will be required to make an appointment for behind-the-wheel road tests, REAL IDs, standard driver’s licenses and ID cards at three Chicago facilities. The facilities are Chicago North, 5401 N. Elston Ave. beginning Sept. 1; Chicago West, 5301 W. Lexington St. beginning Sept. 2; and Chicago South, 9901 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive beginning Sept. 3. Vehicle services, such as renewing a license plate sticker or applying for a vehicle title, do not require an appointment.
The week of Sept. 7, many other metro Driver Services facilities will also require appointments. These facilities and the dates they go live include Schaumburg and Bridgeview on Sept. 7; Lombard and Des Plaines on Sept. 8; Waukegan and Naperville on Sept. 9; and Aurora, Plano and Joliet on Sept. 10.
Lake Zurich, Melrose Park, Midlothian and Woodstock have been serving as appointment facilities since early this year and will continue requiring appointments.
All 16 appointment-based facilities will have the same standardized days and hours of operation: Tuesday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Customers and employees are required to wear masks. Customers are encouraged to bring their own masks.
Customers can visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com to schedule an appointment up to 10 days in advance during this phase of the program. New appointment slots will be available each day at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.
Secretary White emphasized that seniors, veterans, persons with disabilities and expectant mothers will be served as walk-ins at all 16 of the designated appointment facilities. They also have the option to make an appointment.
Beginning in September, customers can schedule an appointment online or by calling the appointment helpline at 844-817-4649. The Secretary of State is partnering with the Chicago Lighthouse to provide these call center services. The Chicago Lighthouse’s call centers offer career opportunities for people who are blind, visually impaired, disabled, veterans and economically disadvantaged.
White is launching a comprehensive media campaign this week, which includes television, radio, newspapers, digital display and social media ads that will run in English and Spanish in the Chicago metro area.
White noted that not all facilities will go to the appointment-based system. Many small, rural facilities will not require the appointment system because they do not encounter the heavy customer volume that large facilities encounter.
Larger central and downstate Illinois facilities will implement a customer scheduling system in the near future.
Chicagoland Walk-in Facilities
Some Chicagoland facilities will remain accessible to walk-in customers. These facilities include Deerfield, Elgin, Chicago Central (James R. Thompson Center) and the temporary facility at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights.
Expanding online renewal to address heavy customer volume
Beginning in September and running through February 2022, White’s office will be expanding remote renewal for driver’s license and ID card holders. During this six-month period, the office will mail letters to eligible customers with expired driver’s licenses and ID cards, requiring them to renew online, by phone or by mail. The office estimates that this will eliminate the need for approximately 1 million people to visit a facility.
In addition, White’s office will continue mailing online renewal letters to drivers and ID card holders 90 days before their cards expire. Many customers will be able to renew online, by phone and by mail and avoid visiting facilities. Customers who must visit a facility include first time driver’s license or ID card applicants, first time REAL ID applicants and drivers ages 75 and older who are required by state law to visit a facility when renewing their license.
White continues to encourage people to conduct other business online at www.cyberdriveillinois.com. Aside from driver’s license and ID card renewals for those who qualify, online services include obtaining a duplicate driver’s license or ID card, ordering a driver record and purchasing license plate stickers.
As a reminder, White has extended all driver’s license and ID card expiration dates to Jan. 1, 2022. This extension does not apply to commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) and CDL learner’s permits.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the federal REAL ID deadline to May 3, 2023.
“During the pandemic, my office has continued to serve the public, including face-to-face transactions, in a safe and responsible manner,” said White. “Throughout this time, we also greatly expanded online services. This next step will allow many more people to renew their driver’s licenses or ID cards remotely instead of visiting a Driver Services facility. To further address the heavy customer volume at facilities, my office is expanding the appointment program in September to include most Chicagoland facilities, so customers who must visit a facility can schedule an appointment. Certain designated facilities will still accommodate walk-in customers.”