Frequently Asked questions ----- State ID for the Homeless




How do I know whether I qualify for a no-fee Identification Card?


A person qualifies for the no-fee identification card, if he or she is considered homeless as defined by the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 11302 or 42 U.S.C. 11434a(2). This card is issued free of charge with the proper documentation to show proof of legal name, date of birth, social security number, and signature. The individual must also bring a completed Homeless Status Certification.


As a homeless person, can I fill out the Homeless Status Certification by myself?

No. The Homeless Status Certification must be completed by a shelter or service agency that

works with the homeless or offers assistance to the homeless to verify your status. The document requires the federal tax identification number of the agency or shelter or if an attorney is completing the information, the attorney must supply his Illinois professional license number.


What address is used on the Identification Card since it is issued for a homeless person? The address that the Secretary of State will print on the Identification Card will be the address that is provided on the Homeless Status Certification. This address may be the address of the homeless shelter or the social service organization executing the document on behalf of the homeless individual.


What is the expiration date of the Identification Card?

If you are first applying for a no fee identification card for the homeless, it will expire 5 years from your next birthday with one exception. If you are age 15 through 20 on the day you apply, your card will expire 3 months after your 21st birthday.


What if my address changes and I move to another shelter?

You will be required to supply another  Homeless Status Certification document along with surrendering your current Identification Card.


What if my status changes and I am no longer homeless?

If any identifying information on the face of the Identification Card changes, in this case it most likely would be the address, the holder of the card is required to notify the Secretary of State within 10 days of the change. If you want a new Identification Card to reflect the new address, you will be required to pay the appropriate  fee.


What documents must I bring with me to apply for a no-fee Identification Card?

Any person, whether homeless or not, must provide documentation to prove their legal name, date of birth, social security number, residence and signature. A list of  acceptable documents has been established by the Secretary of State’s office for each of these categories. Because an individual is homeless and may not have a permanent legal residence, the individual must have a Homeless Status Certification executed and notarized by a shelter or social service agency that will serve as the residence requirement.


Will the Identification Card look any different from other cards if I apply for the no-fee card due to my homeless status?

No. The Identification Card will look the same as any other card issued by the Secretary of State’s office.


Can I come directly to a Secretary of State’s office and have a Homeless Status Certification completed at the facility by Secretary of State personnel?


No. The Homeless Status Certification must be executed and notarized prior to your arrival at a Secretary of State facility. Only homeless shelter or social service agency personnel may verify a person’s homeless status. Secretary of State Personnel are not authorized to certify an

individual’s homeless status.


What if I don’t have all my documentation to prove my name, date of birth, social security number and signature?

You should work with a homeless shelter or social service agency that can assist you in getting the required documentation. The Secretary of State will not issue an Identification Card without the proper documentation.


Can I get a no-fee Identification Card as well as a driver’s license if I am homeless?

Yes, having an Illinois Identification Card does not prevent you from also obtaining an Illinois Driver’s License. However, before applying for an Identification Card in Illinois you must first surrender any identification card or driver’s license you may have been issued from any other state. All other requirements for obtaining a license such applicable fees and exams will be necessary. The “no fee” only applies for the identification card.  Fees for obtaining an Illinois Driver’s License will still be required.