As of late, it seems at every turn there are rumblings about Star or Real ID’s. In October, Governor Kay Ivey stood on the steps of the Alabama Capitol giving a press conference to further impress the importance of complying with the updated policy. So, this raises a few questions: What exactly is a Star ID? Why do I need it? And how can I get one?
According to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, a Star ID is defined as “Secure, Trusted, and Reliable, Star ID is part of a nationwide effort to improve the integrity and security of state-issued driver licenses and identification cards, which, in turn, will help fight terrorism and reduce fraud.” It is Alabama’s counterpart to the federal Real ID program.
Congress passed the Real-ID Act of 2005 in response to terrorism attacks in the United States. Alabama’s development of Star ID by the Alabama Department of Public Safety is in keeping with this federal program. While there won’t be drastic changes to the overall look of the Alabama driver licenses, the Star ID will have a distinct gold star in the upper left corner to show compliance with the new standard. Once you obtain the new compliant ID, the old driver’s license will be cancelled.
The importance of having a compliant Star ID is for domestic travel around the United States and gaining entrance to certain federal buildings. Beginning October 1, 2020, all travelers on domestic flights will be required to show a Star ID in order to board the plane. The only alternative to this is showing a valid passport. The same requirement is to be had for entering certain regulated federal facilities.
The question now becomes: how can you get your Star ID? You can obtain your new ID before your current ID expires. They are only available at Alabama Law Enforcement Driver License examining offices, which are located statewide. Do not try to get the Star ID at the county probate office or license commissioner’s office.
In order to be issued a Star ID at one of these offices, each applicant must present four documents to verify identity/date of birth, Social Security number, and address of principle residence. If your name is different than the way it appears on any of these required documents, documentation, such as a marriage license, is required to show the reason for the change. A list of the appropriate documents can be found here.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to obtain your Star ID. The deadline to make the switch is October 1, 2020.
Bernard D. Nomberg has been a lawyer for more than 20 years. Bernard has earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell’s peer-review rating. In 2019, Bernard was named a Super Lawyer for the 7th year in a row.