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Real ID Turning Into Real Nightmare For People Waiting To Get The Card

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Unprecedented crowds are leading to long frustrating lines for Illinois motorists.

It comes as the state issues new licenses that will let you board a plane.

But as CBS 2's Vince Gerasole reports the state is telling some people to stay away.

The bottom line is: long lines are a daily sight. Waits up to two hours. A confusing array documents in hand -- all for a new Illinois-issued driver's license called Real ID.

By October 1, 2020, if you use your license to board a plane, new federal security measures require it be verified as Real ID, with a star symbol at the top of the card.

Reviewing the extra documents required takes more time, and requests are frequently incomplete. It's Margie Baigh's second trip home empty-handed.

"I don't have my 1099 or my Social Security card so I've been rejected," Baigh said. "This Real ID is getting me real crazy."

In spite of the Illinois Secretary of State's offices extending hours and adding staff, it's been slow going. Illinois has issued about 800,000 Real IDs to date. That's in a state with some eight million licensed drivers.

To manage the waits, the state points out if you have a valid passport or Global Entry card you'll be able to fly without a Real ID license.

"Not everyone needs a Real ID," said Elizabeth Kaufman of the Illinois Secretary of State's office. "If you are one of those people who has a passport and you don't need the Real ID right away, you can wait until your expiration comes up.

Illinois is not alone in struggling with Real ID. Maryland issued one million Real IDs without scanning required documents into the system. The state is now recalling each of those licenses on a rolling basis.

And Oklahoma and Oregon have something in common that's nothing to brag about. Both states are not Real ID compliant, and won't begin issuing licenses until the summer.

Back in Illinois, Margie Baigh from LaGrange is hoping she'll get her Real ID by then.

"I didn't just drop into the Loop. I had to make hustle to get here so I am coming back," she said.

The Chicago Department of Aviation said it is exploring the idea of getting Illinois Secretary of State outposts at Midway and O'Hare to get more people signed up.

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