Bunn encourages residents to get STAR IDs ahead of 2020 deadline

Published 3:00 am Friday, August 2, 2019

Probate Judge Michael Bunn spoke to the Troy Exchange Club on a variety of topics Thursday, but the topic that drew most interest was the issuance of “STAR IDs.”

“Anybody who hasn’t gotten a STAR ID yet should get one sooner rather than later,” Bunn said. “At that time, people without a STAR ID will have trouble getting on a domestic flight.”

Beginning in October 2020, the accepted forms of identification for boarding domestic flights or for entering most federal facilities will be a current passport, passport card, military ID, or REAL ID-compliant state driver’s license. Alabama refers to the REAL-ID as STAR ID.

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The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is now offering residents the option of either continuing to renew their standard driver’s license/ID card or obtaining a STAR ID-compliant driver’s license or identity card. STAR IDs are issued to qualified individuals only at ALEA Driver License exam offices. County-operated license offices will continue to provide renewals or duplicates for licenses, ID cards, and STAR IDs.

Once the provision of the REAL ID Act (STAR ID) goes into effect, individuals will need either a U.S. passport, a passport card, or an Alabama STAR ID to board commercial aircraft for domestic flights or to enter certain regulated federal facilities.

“As the October 2020 deadline draws nearer, it may become more difficult for consumers to obtain their STAR ID, passport, or passport card in a timely manner,” said Clay Ingram, spokesperson for AAA Alabama. It would be a mistake to wait until the last minute to get one.”

This new requirement stems from the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, which was passed as a Department of Homeland Security measure. It established new standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards to improve security by making them more tamper-proof.

The process for getting or renewing a passport card is the same as for a regular passport. Ingram said that some travelers might prefer to use a passport card for domestic flights because it is smaller, easier to carry and less expensive than a regular passport. However, a passport card is only a valid form of ID for travel within the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. Consumers also have the option of obtaining both a passport card and a regular passport.

For more information about the Alabama STAR ID and the required documentation, visit: https://www.alea.gov/dps/driver-license/star-id

For more information about passports and passport cards, visit the U.S. State Department website.