The difference between 16 and my current age is a multiple of 4, which means it’s time to renew my driver license. I got a STAR ID license this time.
Alabamians, do you know about STAR ID? It’s kind of a big deal, so I’m surprised the state isn’t publicizing it more effectively. It’s an identification card that requires substantially more proof of identity and residence than a regular identification card. Eventually—soon—you’ll need one to fly. It’s required right now to enter certain federal installations, and the way it all reads, it sounds as if you may ultimately need one to get on the arsenal.
(They keep pushing the deadlines back. Pay attention, but it’s probably in your interest to make the effort for the STAR ID when it’s time to renew your license, was my takeaway.)
Here are the things I learned obtaining my STAR ID driver license:
- You need a certified copy of your birth certificate. This isn’t the cutesy-pie paper with the flowery script and your footprints on it, but the official state document. Don’t know where yours is? Fortunately, it’s easy to get. If you were born in Alabama, any county health department can get you a certified copy for $15 and half an hour. (Or, your passport works too.)
- You need your Social Security card. Don’t know where yours is? That’s a little less pleasant, but still highly doable.
- You need two other pieces of documentation. Look at the third list here. It’s not a scary list.
- STAR ID is available only at the Department of Public Safety’s Driver License examining offices. Wherever you go to take a written test for a learner license or vessel certification is where you have to go for STAR ID. Satellite offices won’t work. In my county on the day I went, this office was staffed by a lovely 30ish blonde woman with an impeccable manicure who hasn’t smiled in ten years. If she isn’t a dominatrix, then what a waste.
- The vision test may wreak havoc with you if you’re almost-but-not-quite to bifocals. If you’re employing a strategy in which you have one contact lens for distance and one for up close, then I suggest you put two up-close lenses in for this errand. I was perilously close to leaving empty-handed after waiting over an hour.
- The STAR ID costs the same as a regular driver license. Unfortunately, that has jumped to $36.25 (!). So be ready for that.
- If you get a STAR ID, you have to do it the same way when you renew. You must go to the state office, and bring all of the documentation again. (UPDATE: My friend Jenny reports that you can renew twice without documentation.)
BoWilliams.com is a personal blog that exists primarily for my pleasure. It’s not a site with any sort of official sanction when it comes to state law. I reasonably believe that everything above was accurate when I published it, but double-check me against official sources before acting on anything I wrote.