Flying? You may soon need a STAR ID

The Department of Public Safety is issuing STAR ID cards at license offices in Pelham (pictured) and Columbiana. (File)

The Department of Public Safety is issuing STAR ID cards at license offices in Pelham (pictured) and Columbiana. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

State and county officials are urging those who are planning to fly on commercial airliners or visit certain federal facilities in the future to obtain an Alabama STAR ID soon before crowds begin growing at local driver’s license offices.

The US Congress passed the country’s REAL ID act in 2005, laying out stricter identification requirements to board a commercial airliner or enter regulated federal facilities.

According to the law, those born after Dec. 1, 1964, will be required to have a REAL ID-compliant identification after Dec. 1, 2014, to board commercial aircraft or enter regulated federal buildings. Those born on or before Dec. 1, 1964, will have until Dec. 1, 2017, to obtain a REAL ID-compliant identification.

Alabama’s form of REAL ID-compliant identification is known as a STAR ID, and is available now at each Alabama Department of Public Safety driver’s license examining office across the state. In Shelby County, the Department of Public Safety operates driver’s license examining offices in the Shelby County Services Building at 1022 County Service Drive in Pelham and at the Shelby County Courthouse Annex at 104 Depot St. in Columbiana.

To obtain a STAR ID, applicants must provide documents verifying their identity, date of birth, Social Security number and address. To view a list of acceptable documents, visit Dps.alabama.gov/starid and click the “Document list” link on the left of the site.

Shelby County Chief Operating Officer Phil Burns said STAR ID cards can only be issued by Department of Public Safety employees in the driver’s license examining offices, not by Shelby County license office employees.

“Those documents have to be verified by state law enforcement officials,” Burns said during a Dec. 30 interview. “You will have to go to the same place you took your driver’s license test to get the STAR ID.”

Burns said the state has already issued several thousand STAR ID cards, but said the number pales in comparison to the more than 4.8 million people living in Alabama. He encouraged those who know they will need a STAR ID in the future to obtain one soon before the Dec. 1 deadline nears.

“If everyone waits until the last minute, it would be like an egg going through a snake,” Burns said.