Legislation initiated by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White adding members of the National Guard and Reserve, who were never called to active duty, to qualify for the veteran’s designation on driver’s licenses and ID cards was approved today by the Illinois House of Representatives. The measure now moves to the governor for consideration.
Senate Bill 2173 adds all National Guard and reserve members to the U.S. military veterans who can get an updated driver’s license and ID card with the word “veteran” displayed under the signature on the front of the card. The previous law, which took effect July 1, 2015, omitted National Guard and reserve personnel who honorably served in the Guard or Reserves, but whose units were not called to active duty during their service.
“I am pleased to add all National Guard and reservists to those veterans who wish to obtain the ‘veteran’ designation on their driver’s license or ID card,” White said. “The veteran designation on the license or ID card is designed to further ensure veterans receive the services and benefits they deserve. I had the honor of serving as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division and as a member of the Illinois National Guard and Army Reserve.”
White noted last year’s law allows veterans who have received an honorable or general under honorable conditions discharge to pursue the designation on their driver’s license or ID card. The designation will help ensure veterans receive services and benefits, including health care, education and employment assistance.
First, veterans must obtain official certification from the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs by visiting one of the agency’s offices and providing a copy of their DD-214 or Certification of Military Service (NA Form 13038). For more information, veterans can call (800) 437-9824 or visit illinois.gov/veterans. Secondly, after the certification is obtained, the veteran may apply for a new, renewal or updated driver’s license or ID card at any Secretary of State driver services facility.
The designation will be no additional cost for first-time driver’s license applicants and driver’s license renewals. If veterans choose to add the designation before their renewal date, they may obtain an updated driver’s license for $5 and an updated ID card for $10. Veterans older than 65 can obtain an updated state ID card at no cost.