The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 2, 2014

Few Alabamians getting new STAR ID

From staff reports

— Did you know you may need a new form of identification to take a domestic flight without carrying a passport later this year?

Apparently, a couple million Alabama residents don’t realize that, either.

The new ID is called STAR ID, for Secure, Trusted And Reliable Identification. It’s the state’s way to comply with the federal REAL ID law, which was enacted in 2005 as a security response to terrorism.

However, Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve Jarrett said only about 6,000 of Alabama's 3.8 million licensed drivers have obtained a STAR ID.

People born after Dec. 1, 1964, will need one of the new IDs or a passport to board a domestic flight starting Dec. 1, 2014. People born before Dec. 1, 1964, will need the new ID or a passport starting Dec. 1, 2017.

In addition for use on domestic flights, the ID will also be needed to enter some regulated federal facilities, possibly including those on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.

To get the new ID, residents have to apply at driver's license exam offices with the proper documents. That includes a document such as a certified birth certificate or passport that verifies a person's identity and date of birth, a document such as a Social Security card or W-2 income tax form that verifies a person's Social Security number, and a document such as a utility bill, mortgage contract or rental agreement that verifies the person's address.

DPS spokeswoman Robyn Litchfield said pulling together the documents to get an ID might be a hassle, but "it is going to be a bigger hassle to fly without it."

Local residents should go to the County Courthouse Clinton Street Annex, 100 Clinton St. in Athens. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; lunch is noon to 12:30 p.m.

For information, call 256-233-6430 or visit and click on the STAR ID icon.

The DPS began a pilot program for the IDs in 2011 and it has been operating statewide since this past June. The STAR ID resembles a regular driver's license with a gold star in the corner.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.