Star IDs require more from Alabama residents

Published 7:46 pm Friday, January 24, 2014

It may still be a few years until the changes are in full effect, but authorities are trying to give the public plenty of warning about additional documents they would need to board a commercial aircraft, even one traveling within the country.

In 2005, the United States Congress passed the REAL-ID Act, which improved federal laws regarding the issuance, authentication and security of state identification cards and driver’s licenses.

Robyn Litchfield, spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Public Safety, said that in response to the REAL-ID Act, the state the STAR I.D. program, which is an added level of security that will appear as a small gold star in the top left corner of driver licenses and identification cards.

“Everything looks the same except for the gold star,” Litchfield said.

The Act, which will be enforced at federal government facilities on a rolling basis, will require airline passengers to have a license with the STAR I.D. symbol or an up to date passport when boarding any commercial flight no sooner than in 2016.

Litchfield said she wants the public to understand that the STAR I.D. is not being forced upon anyone wishing to travel on an airline, instead that it is one option those passengers to have to improve the security of their flight.

“This is not required, this is something that is just an option for people that may fly a lot,” Litchfield said.

Before the air travel portion goes into effect, similar I.D.s will be required later this year to enter Department of Homeland Security and federal government facilities, but Litchfield said most people would not notice a difference in their daily lives.

“You wouldn’t have to go into the post office and show your STAR I.D., it would be for the federal courthouse in Montgomery or other facilities that require the additional security,” Litchfield said.

She added that since the air travel portion of the REAL-ID Act won’t be enforced for two years, people who have recently renewed their driver license or state identification card should not worry about renewing again anytime soon just to get the STAR I.D.

“If they have just renewed their licenses,” Litchfield said. “Or they have two years left on this license, don’t panic, just wait until your regular renewal comes up, and then if you choose to get a STAR I.D. at that point, that’s when you’d do it.”

Litchfield said people applying for their first driver license or ID card are asked to bring additional proof of identity in order to get the STAR I.D. seal on their new card.

“We are encouraging 15 and 16-year-olds to bring in those documents to go ahead and get their STAR I.D. at that time, because that is the ideal time to do it,” Litchfield said.

A list of documents needed to obtain a STAR I.D. logo are available at the Department of Public Safety’s Driver License examining office. The Dallas County office for the DPS is located at 102 Church Street in Selma, is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and can be reached at 334-875-1341..