Taking Action: Easing Driver’s License Gridlock in Alabama

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — It’s no secret. Going to get your driver’s license in Alabama can be a real pain.

The Alabama Department of Public Safety is notorious for having long wait times in local offices and being understaffed.  Now, those lines could be getting even longer.

Under a federal mandate, the state of Alabama launched STAR-ID. The program will make it harder for a person to get a fake state ID, according to state officials.  You’ll also have to have this STAR-ID if you plan to fly anywhere in the U.S. in the next few years, unless you have a passport.  The initial deadline of December 2014 was pushed back to 2016.

All of these changes mean more people wanting a STAR-ID will be coming to get a new license adding to the already long wait times in state offices.

But the state has a plan to help ease the burden on you.  They are turning to new technology to help cut back on wait times to get your driver’s license.

Alabama now has two self-serve kiosks that can do almost everything a traditional driver’s license examiner does and that includes creating new driver’s licenses.

“When you take the human element out of the equation it can help ease the wait times for people,” Captain Guy Rush with Alabama Public Safety says.

In the next few months Alabama will be installing several more kiosks in other offices throughout the state including Madison County. The machines have security built-in that includes facial recognition software.

“We are confident these kiosks will help us serve the public better, our next goal is to get the kiosks installed in more places like malls and libraries,” Rush added.

If you want to get a new STAR ID Rush says not to worry because you still have months to obtain the new ID.

How do you get a STAR ID?

In Huntsville, it’s at the Alabama Department of Public Safety, located at 1115-A Church Street, Huntsville AL 35801.  Check this list for office locations in each Alabama county.

To obtain a new STAR license, you must present the following forms:

-Valid, unexpired U.S. passport

-Original or certified copy of birth certificate

-Consular Report of Birth Abroad

-Certificate of Naturalization issued by Department of Homeland Security

-Certificate of Citizenship issued by DHS

For cases where the current name and the name on the primary identity document are different, you should also bring:

-Court ordered name change document

-Marriage certificate, issued by the courts and/or

-Divorce decree, issued by the courts

For Non-Citizens:

-Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card – I-551 for Lawful Permanent Residents

-Valid Passport for non-immigrants except for asylum applicants and refugees

-Other government issued document showing your full name

-Department of Homeland Security document showing proof of lawful presence

-If your name has changed by marriage/divorce, you must have your name changed on your Citizen and Immigration Services (CIS) documents.

Both Citizens and Non-Citizens will need to bring:

-Your Social Security Card or proof of your Social Security Number

-Two documents that show your principal residence

The cost of the STAR ID is $23.50, the same current price as a license renewal.  Once you get the STAR ID, it will replace your driver’s license.