MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – Confusion and frustration are setting in for many Alabama drivers. An anti-terrorist act following the events of 9/11 will require most to get a new kind of identification. But very few seem to know about it or understand it. We’re talking about special identification known as Star ID in Alabama.
The ID will soon become a requirement to fly or get into federal buildings. Problem is, few know about it and even fewer ask for it.
“It kind of ticked me off because in May, I renewed my license. They didn’t say anything anything about it, didn’t say it was an option, or ‘hey guess what, this is going to happen,'” said Rose Bulger of Madison. Bulger was looking into renewing her husband’s license when she read that Star ID would be required by December 2014. She says she was not told about the Star ID system. According to the Department of Public Safety, driver’s license examiners are supposed to tell the public about the Star ID, which comes at the cost of a regular license.
“Now I’m going to have to go back again, and pay the fee again. When if the teller had told me in the first place i would have done it in May,” said Bulger. The ID was set to become a requirement this year, but the deadline has been pushed back. The Department of Public Safety says that the transition is behind schedule and will not be enforced until 2016.
“It’s nothing more than bringing extra documentation which is to include an original copy of your birth certificate, a social security card, and two forms of proof of residence,” said Curtis Summerville with the Department of Public Safety. Congress’ 2005 Real ID Act is in response to fake identification related to terrorist activity. Summerville emphasizes the need for the Star ID, which will allow officials to be assured that the person on the ID is who they claim to be — for not only their safety, but that of the people around them.
“What Star ID does is move the process along a little faster, because we can prove who you are with that certain identification without you bringing a whole bunch of documentation to the airport to prove who you are,” said Summerville.
Bulger feels that the public is not being made aware of the upcoming changes.
“You’re going to end up paying for your driver’s license two times, because once you go to the airport and find out you can’t fly without the right documents, you’re going to have to get another ID.” In 2016, non-Star ID holders will need a passport to get into federal buildings or board domestic flights.
“You would not be able to get this at satellite offices such as a grocery store that maybe has a place that renews your drivers license,” said Summerville. The special identification can only be attained at official Department of Public Safety Facilities. If you have an upcoming renewal, it may be worthwhile to bring extra documents to avoid an inconvenience in the future.