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What Is It? STAR ID is a program approved by Congress geared to help fight terrorism and reduce fraud throughout the country by improving the security of state-issued driver licenses and identification cards through their authentication and issuance procedure standards. The main value of the STAR ID for us is for use on commercial airlines; which will not be required until at least January 1, 2016.

Four Phases of the Program. Your current Alabama license remains valid and in effect based upon how you intend to use it: If you require access to federal facilities or for air travel. There are four phases for putting this program into place. Currently, it is an available option for air travel. We are in a full enforcement period for anyone entering DHS (Department of Homeland Security) headquarters (phase one), and are in the notification period for all other federal facilities and nuclear power plants (phase two). Full enforcement will begin at those facilities on July 21, 2014. Semi-restricted areas for remaining federal facilities will have its notification period beginning in October, 2014 (phase three) and be under full enforcement on January 19, 2015.

The timeline for phase four (air travel) has not been determined but will not be implemented before January 1, 2016.

What You Need to Apply. When you apply for a STAR ID you will need the following:

  1. a valid, unexpired US passport;
  2. a certified copy of your birth certificate;
  3. a consular report of birth abroad;
  4. a certificate of Naturalization issued by DHS, and
  5. a Certificate of Citizenship issued by DHS.

If the names on these documents are different (because of marriage, etc.) you will also need a court-ordered name change document, marriage certificate or divorce decree. There are other regulations for non-citizens. Both citizens and non-citizens will also need their social security card or proof of their SS number and two documents showing their principal residence. This may be found on your Medicare Card; Military Identification of Form DD-214 or other documents.

When and Where Can You Apply? You do not have to wait until your license expires to obtain a STAR ID card. You must go to the Department of Public Safety’s Driver’s License examining office, which is located in each county. Satellite offices do not have this capability at this time. In Jefferson County, you can go to the Bessemer Courthouse or the Public Safety Building on Bankhead Highway. In Shelby County, you can go to the County Services Building in Pelham or the County Courthouse Annex.

It is hoped that with the implementation of this program, all of us will be safer and terrorists can be more easily apprehended. It should also expedite our boarding of airplanes.