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STAR ID - Frequently Asked Questions

Answer:   “Secure, Trusted, And Reliable,” STAR ID is part of a nationwide effort to improve the integrity and security of state-issued driver licenses and identification cards, which, in turn, will help fight terrorism and reduce fraud.

Answer:   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, modifying federal laws pertaining to security, authentication and issuance procedure standards for state driver licenses and identification cards. In order to comply with the requirements of this federal legislation, the Alabama Department of Public Safety has developed the STAR ID program.

Answer:   Yes, Alabama began a STAR I.D. pilot project in central Alabama Oct. 3, 2011, in the Driver License examining offices in Montgomery, Autauga and Chilton counties, and began issuing STAR I.D. statewide in early 2012.

Answer:   No, your current Alabama license or ID card will remain valid and acceptable.

Answer:   You will need documents to establish your identity, date of birth, authorized presence in the United States and address of principal residence:

Documents to verify identity and date of birth
For U.S. Citizens:
  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport
  • Original or certified copy of birth certificate
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Certificate of Naturalization issued by Department of Homeland Security
  • Certificate of Citizenship issued by DHS
For cases where the current name and the name on the primary identity document are different, you should also bring:
  • Court ordered name change document
  • Marriage certificate, issued by the courts and/or
  • Divorce decree, issued by the courts
For Non-Citizens:
  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card – I-551 for Lawful Permanent Residents
  • Valid Passport for non-immigrants except for asylum applicants and refugees
  • Other government issued document showing your full name
  • Department of Homeland Security document showing proof of lawful presence
  • If your name has changed by marriage/divorce, you must have your name changed on your Citizen and Immigration Services (CIS) documents.
Both Citizens and Non-Citizens will need to bring:
  • Your Social Security Card
  • Two documents that show your principal residence
A list of documents can be found on our website by visiting the Document List page.

Answer:   No, expected changes will be minor. STAR ID will have a gold star in the upper left corner to make them easily recognizable as Real-ID compliant.

Answer:   No, the final rule specifies that each individual can hold either a STAR ID driver license or a STAR ID identification card, but not both simultaneously. If you currently hold both, one will be cancelled during your next card issuance.

Answer:   Yes.

Answer:   No, STAR ID is available only at the Department of Public Safety’s Driver License examining offices. There is an office in each of the state’s 67 counties.

Answer:   Starting January 22, 2018, passengers who have driver’s licenses issued by a state that is not yet compliant with REAL ID and that has not received an extension will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel. Please see TSA’s website for a list of acceptable forms of identification. Passengers who have licenses issued by a state that is compliant or that has an extension to become compliant with REAL ID requirements may continue to use their licenses as usual. For a list of states already in compliance or with an extension visit DHS’s REAL ID webpage ( DHS continually updates this list as more states come into compliance or obtain extensions.

Starting October 1, 2020, every air traveler will need to present a REAL ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of identification for domestic air travel. A REAL ID compliant license is one that meets, and is issued by a state that complies with, the REAL ID Act’s security standards.

Travelers can check DHS’s REAL ID webpage at any time to learn if your state is compliant and can check with your state’s agency that issues driver’s licenses about how to acquire a compliant license. The earlier your state becomes compliant, the more likely you will be able to acquire a compliant license as part of the normal renewal cycle.

Answer:   On January 8, 2016, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced the timetable for the final phase of implementation to the REAL ID Act to inform the traveling public of changes that will be made for identification for domestic air travel effective January 22, 2018. DHS will conduct outreach to educate the traveling public about the timeline, and continue engagements with states to encourage compliance with REAL ID standards. Starting July 15, 2016, TSA, in coordination with airlines and airport stakeholders, will begin to issue web-based advisories and notifications to the traveling public. Starting December 15, 2016, TSA will expand outreach at its airport checkpoints through signage, handouts, and other methods.

Answer:   TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification.

Answer:   No. TSA currently accepts several other forms of identity documents and will continue to do so. For more information on acceptable forms of identification for boarding aircraft, please see TSA’s website ( ).

Answer:   No. REAL ID is a national set of standards, not a national identification card. REAL ID does not create a federal database of driver license information. Each jurisdiction continues to issue its own unique license, maintains its own records, and controls who gets access to those records and under what circumstances. The purpose of REAL ID is to make our identity documents more consistent and secure.

Answer:   Since 2013, in accordance with the phased enforcement plan announced by DHS, federal agencies have begun implementation at federal facilities and military bases. The Department has not previously announced a schedule for implementation for air travel. The time has come to complete implementation of the law, in support of the overall goal of ensuring the safety and security of the public.

Answer:   Yes. DHS is continuing to provide extensions, as warranted. Extensions are granted for a maximum of one year and may be renewed if a state demonstrates continued progress towards compliance. Extensions are not a long-term alternative to a state becoming compliant. All states must become compliant—both in terms of the law, but also to prevent the burden of additional documentation from falling on their residents.

Answer:   DHS has been working with states for years around REAL ID compliance and have provided technical assistance, grants and other support to them. We are also providing more than two years advance notice of implementation with respect to domestic air travel to allow ample time for all states to achieve compliance, or for potential air travelers to acquire an alternate form of ID if their state does not comply with REAL ID. Starting January 22, 2018, travelers who do not have a license from a compliant state or a state that has been granted an extension (a complete list of non-compliant states/territories can be found here) will be asked to provide alternate acceptable identification. If the traveler cannot provide an acceptable form of identification, they will not be permitted through the security checkpoint. Starting October 1, 2020, every traveler will need to present a REAL ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of identification for domestic air travel.

Answer:   REAL ID is a mandate on Federal agencies, restricting the circumstances under which they may accept state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards for official purposes. Participation by states is voluntary, although Federal agencies are prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses or identification cards from noncompliant states for official purposes (e.g., boarding aircraft, accessing federal facilities, and entering nuclear power plants).

Answer:   REAL ID allows compliant states to issue driver’s licenses and identification cards where the identity of the applicant cannot be assured or for whom lawful presence is not determined. In fact, some states currently issue such noncompliant cards to undocumented individuals. These cards must clearly state on their face (and in the machine readable zone) that it is not acceptable for official purposes and must use a unique design or color to differentiate them from compliant cards. DHS cautions against assuming that possession of a noncompliant card indicates the holder is an undocumented individual, given that several states issue noncompliant licenses for reasons unrelated to lawful presence.