FILE - Illinois, Secretary of State, driver services

A line of people wait to enter the driver services facility in Schaumburg on Saturday, June 19, 2021.

(The Center Square) – The Illinois Secretary of State's Office is bracing for an onslaught of people heading driver services facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As a result, Secretary of State Jesse White is launching a plan to address the heavy volume of people, which has lead to long lines with people waiting for hours throughout the summer.

Beginning in September and running through February 2022, White’s office will be expanding remote renewal for driver's licenses and ID cardholders. 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.

“We are estimating there could be close to one million people that could fit these categories that could renew online and would not have to go to the facilities,” spokesman Dave Druker said.

In addition, White’s office will continue mailing remote renewal letters to drivers and ID cardholders 90 days before their cards expire.

Customers who must visit a facility include first-time driver’s license or ID card applicants, first-time REAL ID applicants and drivers 75 and older who are required by law to visit a facility when renewing their license.

Beginning the week of Sept. 7, many Chicago area facilities will require appointments. These locations include Lombard, Des Plaines, Waukegan, Schaumburg, Bridgeview, Naperville, Aurora, Plano and Joliet.

Anyone visiting a driver’s services facility must wear a mask beginning Aug. 2.

As a reminder, White has extended all driver’s license and ID card expiration dates to Jan. 1, 2022. The extension does not apply to commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) and CDL learner’s permits.

Druker continues to encourage people to conduct their business online if possible at Online services include obtaining a duplicate driver’s license or ID card, ordering a driver record and purchasing license plate stickers.

Staff Reporter

Kevin Bessler reports on statewide issues in Illinois for the Center Square. He has over 30 years of experience in radio news reporting throughout the Midwest.