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Chicago launches CityKey municipal ID program

It’s been a busy week at City Hall. The Chicago CityKey Program officially started and is even more popular than officials expected. The program, designed to put government-issued identification cards into the hands of all city residents, launched last week and has seen many residents waiting in line for hours to get a card.

Chicagoans have been in a particularly big rush to get the card since the first 100,000 are going to be free to get the program started. Residents shouldn’t worry, though, since the cost for the card after the first 100,000 is very small. There are also waivers available for people who are not able to afford the fee.

Big benefits for all Chicagoans

Among the many benefits the CityKey ID card offers, the most attractive one is simply a form of identification for people who are in various stages of the immigration process. Of course, the card isn’t just for immigrants. It’s for literally any resident of Chicago.

People who have had a difficult time obtaining things like jobs and bank accounts will have the identification that they were missing. Additionally, the card will serve as a library card, a transit card and even acts as a discount card at various places around the city.

Easy application process

According to a Chicago Tribune article, “To get a card, residents must fill out an application, provide a photo ID, proof of their date of birth and paperwork such as a utility bill proving residency within Chicago.” Despite this application process, there is no point where a resident must disclose their citizenship status.

Unlike a driver’s license, CityKey cards are printed on the spot. Since residents can walk away with a photo ID in-hand, they are able to have access to the benefits of the card right away. Also, any resident of Chicago is eligible for the CityKey ID card, so having one doesn’t flag someone as being in the country illegally.

What it’s not

It’s important to note, however, there are a few things this ID card isn’t. While it is government-issued, the CityKey is not a voter card and it does not accomplish any of the steps in the immigration process. This is merely a municipal ID that can help people, regardless of status, prove their identity in a limited amount of circumstances.

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