MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - The countdown is on for people to update their driver's licenses to STAR ID. Starting Oct. 1, 2020, people will need the upgraded IDs — or a passport — to board domestic flights, to enter certain military bases and to enter certain federal buildings.
STAR ID is Alabama's version of the federal REAL ID program which required states to upgrade the security of their driver's licenses.
In response to acts of terrorism committed against the United States and in an effort to ensure the safety of citizens, Congress passed the REAL ID Act of 2005. Madison County License Director Mark Craig says while this program isn't new, a recent push to have citizens obtain the STAR ID by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has it on the forefront of everyone's minds.
"It's just a secure, standard and reliable ID. It was put in place to try to make it more safe, or safer to get on a commercial air flight," says Madison County License Director Mark Craig.
Craig says this new ID is not a requirement. If you don't get a STAR ID, you can still fly domestic as long as you have an unexpired passport.
STAR IDs are issued ONLY at Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Driver License exam offices.
"You cannot get them at any local county offices, whether that's Marshall County, Limestone County, Madison County. You have to go to one of the state offices," says Craig.
You can visit www.alea.gov for a list of state driver's license offices where you can obtain a STAR ID.
Additional documentation is required to verify identity, date of birth and authorized presence in the United States. Examples include birth certificates, social security cards, and utility bills. Click HERE for a complete list of required documents.
"There's quite have extended list that gives you different options and you do have to have exactly what it asks for," says Craig.
The price for a STAR ID is the same as a regular license, so if your license expires soon, you might want to consider getting that gold star.
"If somebody renews their current driver's license and then wants to get a STAR ID later, They will be charged the replacement fee of $31.25. When I go to obtain the Star ID, so they would get caught paying twice," said Craig.
Officials are encouraging you to book an appointment to avoid waiting to obtain a STAR ID. Click HERE to book online.