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Hartselle Enquirer

ALEA: Federal STAR ID deadline one year away  

Special to the Enquirer  

MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) reminds Alabamians who have not yet applied for federal STAR ID status on their driver licenses of the deadline next year.  

 The deadline has been extended several times, but ALEA says time is running out to apply for a STAR ID, which stands for Secure, Trusted and Reliable Identification.  STAR ID is Alabama’s version of REAL ID, an identification program the federal government launched more than a decade ago in response to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.  

In June 2021, the Federal Government announced the extension concerning the deadline during the COVID-19 pandemic because of its effects on driver licensing agencies across the nation. As the threat of the COVID-19 continues to diminish and Alabamians return to life as normal, ALEA has successfully completed the upgrade and modernization of the Agency’s new statewide Driver License System, known as LEADS.  

“As we continue to improve the quality of driver license services across our great state through innovation and the full integration of technology with our new LEADS system, we recognize the necessity to take this opportunity to remind Alabama citizens of the upcoming deadline and requirements as it relates to obtaining a STAR ID on an Alabama Driver License,” ALEA’s Secretary Hal Taylor said.  

Since launching LEADS April 26, a number of customers have asked whether the STAR ID is among the list of expanded online services, however due to the federal requirements, STAR IDs must be obtained by visiting an ALEA Driver License Office in-person, according to ALEA Driver License Division Chief Jonathan Archer.  

“Driver License Examiners are required to examine and scan documents into LEADS per federal law. However, once customers receive their first STAR ID issuance they may renew online or at a probate or license commissioner’s office,” Archer said.  

“The advantages of LEADS allow Driver License employees to complete daily tasks more efficiently, allowing a greater number of customers to be served,” Director of ALEA’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) Colonel Jimmy Helms said. “The initial feedback received from those customers who have experienced LEADS through both online and in-person use has been overwhelmingly positive. We encourage everyone to visit our agency’s website prior to a STAR ID issuance to ensure citizens understand all document requirements before traveling to an ALEA Driver License Office.”  

The Agency offers an online guide designed to assist with the STAR ID application process, as well as to determine eligibility. The online guide includes a checklist for requirements and necessary documents, a list of ALEA Driver License Examining Office locations across the state and the option to schedule an appointment at many of our locations.  

Required documents will be used to establish identity and date of birth, confirm authorized presence in the United States and verify address of principal residence. An applicant whose name has changed from the one displayed on the documents produced (marriage, adoption, court order, etc.) will also be required to produce official documents verifying the name change.  

“We encourage all citizens to take advantage of the resources and information provided online to determine whether they are eligible for a STAR ID and to begin gathering the necessary documents to obtain a STAR on your license,” Secretary Taylor added. “While Alabama does not require its citizens to have a STAR ID, it will be a requirement of DHS beginning in May 2023, to have a STAR on your license or be required to provide additional proof of identity such as a valid, current U.S. Passport to board a domestic commercial flight.”  

For more information, visit https://www.alea.gov/dps/driver-license/star-id 

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