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Travel identification slated to change

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on Sep. 11, the US government has continued to search for alternative and more thorough methods of protecting its citizens. One method, slated for enactment in the next couple of years, is a new form of identification called STAR ID, which came about as an extension of the REAL ID Act of 2005.

“Right now, nobody has to adjust any kind of travel plans or run out and get a new driver’s license at least until Jan. 22, 2018. They are recommending that at the time of license renewal, they get the STAR ID,” said Crenshaw County Probate Judge William Tate.

The STAR ID initiative simply serves as a faster method of identification for those wishing to travel on commercial domestic flights. While it isn’t a drastic change for those planning to fly, it is predicted to save more time when going through the check-in process.

For those that do have the STAR ID on their driver’s license, that card will serve as the only form of identification needed for travel. Without it, more than one form of identification will be required. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) remains compliant with those who choose to travel without an updated ID.

“It simplifies travel. For the Department of Homeland Security, it’s just more things they are putting in to try and keep track of everybody,” said Tate.

It is recommended that those whose licenses are coming up for renewal go ahead and have the STAR ID sticker placed on their driver’s license. No additional fee is required to have the sticker put on.

Interested travelers must see the examiner, who comes to Crenshaw County the third Wednesday of every month, or individuals can report to any Department of Motor Vehicles office in the state. The Crenshaw County Probate Office cannot issue the STAR I.D., but can renew it once it has been placed on the driver’s license. In order to receive the STAR ID, the following documents must be brought to the examiner: a 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; your Social Security Card; and two documents that show your principal residence. For those who may have recently underwent the process of a name change, the following documents should be brought along as well: court ordered name change document; marriage certificate, issued by the courts; and/or divorce decree, issued by the courts.

According to a recent press release by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), “At present, 23 states are fully compliant with the REAL ID Act, and the Department has used its authority to grant states extensions when they demonstrate steps toward compliance.  Thus, 27 states and territories have been granted extensions for a period of time to become compliant.  Six states and territories – Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Washington, and American Samoa – are noncompliant and do not currently have extensions.”

At this time, 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. If one does not have the STAR I.D. on his or her driver’s license, the following forms of identification can be used instead:  a driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent), a U.S. passport, a U.S. passport card, DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST), a U.S. military I.D. (active duty or retired military and their dependents and DoD civilians), a permanent resident card, a border crossing card, a DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license, an airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan), a federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID, an HSPD-12 PIV card, a foreign government-issued passport, a Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card or a transportation worker identification credential.