Alabama Residents Have Until May 3, 2023, to Get a Star ID – the REAL ID Driver’s License – In Order to Fly on Planes | Mark Hake

Alabama has named its REAL ID the “Star ID” driver’s license. You need to have a Star ID by May 3, 2023, in order to fly on a commercial plane in the U.S. after then.

Otherwise, you will need to carry a passport just to get on a plane in the U.S. Or you will need a passport to get into a Federal building or military base.

Here is what the Alabama Star ID driver’s license looks like:

This shows that there is a gold star in the upper left-hand corner.

Here is how Alabama’s REAL ID site further explains it:

This is very interesting since almost every other state in the U.S. has the gold star or black star in the upper right-hand corner. Alabama keeps its gold star in the upper left-hand corner. Moreover, the Star ID name is only in Alabama. Every other state calls it a REAL ID, based on the federal law that required it, the REAL ID Act of 2005.

The bottom line, if you want to avoid all kinds of lines and delays at the airport starting on May 3, 2023, make sure you get your driver’s license upgraded to a Star ID or REAL ID well before then.

Here is What Documents Are Required

Alabama has a separate page on its website indicating that four documents are required to bring to the Alabama Law Enforcement Driver Licenses Exam offices to get your Star ID driver’s license:

  • Identity/Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Address of principal residence in Alabama

You cannot bring photocopies, only original documents that prove these three things.

Identity and Date of Birth

Here is a list of documents (not exhaustive) you can bring to prove your Identity and Date of Birth:

  • Valid, unexpired United States Passport
  • Certified Birth Certificate
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240, DS-1350, or FS-545
  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
  • Unexpired employment authorization document (EAD) issued by DHS (Form I-766 or Form I-688B)
  • Unexpired Foreign Passport with a valid, unexpired U.S. Visa affixed, accompanied by the approved I-94 form documenting the applicant’s most recent admittance into the United States.
  • Certificate of Naturalization issued by DHS (Form N-550 or N-570)
  • Certificate of Citizenship issued by DHS (Form N-560 or N-561)

If you changed your name, go to the Document List page to see what documents you need to bring.

Social Security Verification

These documents qualify to prove your Social Security number:

  • Social Security card
  • United States Military Form DD 214
  • Medicare/Medicaid Identification Card (if Social Security Number is followed by the letter A)
  • W-2 Tax Form

Legal Residence in Alabama Proof

You can bring any two of the following documents:

  • Valid Alabama Driver License or Identification Card displaying applicant’s current address
  • Voter Registration Card
  • Residential Mortgage Contract
  • Current Lease or Rental agreement for housing
  • Proof of payment of residential property tax (Homestead)
  • Previous year tax returns bearing the applicant’s address
  • Vehicle registration bearing applicant’s name and address
  • Utility bill (Water, Gas, or Electric) less than 90 days old
  • Any State or Federal Court documents indicating residence address
  • School enrollment documentation
  • Defense Department Form 214 (Report of Separation)
  • Sex offender registration documents
  • Current Homeowners insurance policy with name and address
  • Social Security benefits statements/summary mailed to physical address
  • U.S. or State Government check or other document mailed to applicants physical address
  • Military Orders documenting duty station and place of residence.

*If utility bills or other similar documents feature the name of the applicant’s spouse or parent, the applicant must produce a marriage certificate or birth certificate verifying residence address. 

The Bottom Line

Don’t procrastinate. The lines will increase to get this Star ID well before May 3, 2023. Check your driver’s license to see if it has the gold star in the upper left-hand corner. If you have not renewed it in a number of years you may need to upgrade your license.

Keep in mind you can still fly on a plane, but you will have to bring federally acceptable documents, such as a passport, or other documents from the TSA’s website (see for a full list of acceptable identification for domestic air travel.)


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Mark R. Hake, CFA, writes articles on national and local news, stocks, and market events at,,, and as well as TalkMarkets.


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