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Less than 15 percent of Idaho’s licensed drivers have obtained Star Cards

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To board an airplane or enter a federal building after Oct. 1, 2020, Idahoans will need a Star Card, Idaho’s Real ID. | Courtesy Idaho Transportation Department

IDAHO FALLS — So far, less than 15 percent of Idaho’s licensed drivers have obtained a Star Card, Idaho’s Real ID, ahead of the federally mandated Oct. 1, 2020, deadline.

“185,106 out of 1.25 million licensed drivers have obtained a Star Card,” said Jennifer Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for the Idaho Transportation Department. “We’re pleased with that jump (from 5 percent in February); however, we still have a ways to go.”

To raise 100 percent awareness of Star Cards, ITD officials hit the road this week on a public awareness campaign. ITD officials and the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office made a stop in Idaho Falls on Tuesday morning to share why and how to get a Star Card.

In 2005, Congress passed legislation requiring REAL IDs, enacting the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation to “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” Once the calendar hits Oct. 1, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security will require a Real ID or other approved forms of ID, such as a passport, to pass through airport security checkpoints, or enter federal buildings and military bases.

An example of a Star Card. Note the star in the upper right. | Courtesy Idaho Transportation Department

Officials said specifically in east Idaho, people need a Star Card to enter the Idaho National Lab as a visitor or to even visit the local Social Security Office as they are both considered federal sites. Even to enter the federal courthouse in Pocatello after Oct. 1, 2020, a person will need a Star Card.

“I strongly encourage everyone to get their Star Card with plenty of time ahead of the deadline,” said Gov. Brad Little in a news release. “The last thing we want is for someone to miss an important trip because they don’t have the necessary identification to board their flight.”

To get the star on the upper right of a driver’s license or state identification card, applicants need additional documents verifying their identity. Examples of documents required include a birth certificate, Social Security card, and two proofs of Idaho residency. A comprehensive list of required documents is available at the ITD’s Star Card webpage.

“Before you come to your local driver’s license office make sure that you go online because every situation is different for each individual,” said Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Sam Hulse. “It’s important to take your time to get your documents in order before you show up to the issuing facility.”

Hulse said with the ITD website applicants can find out what documents they already possess and which ones they need to get. If people do have questions, he said they can call their local DMV office.

“It makes it smoother for everyone,” Hulse said. “People are less frustrated because of the process smoother, and we all know that at times we can experience long wait times in line.”

The Bonneville County Sherriff’s Office, which operates the Idaho Falls DMV office, said wait times vary throughout the day and week but, mornings during the midweek tend to have the shortest wait times.

“You don’t need to wait until you get that renewal card in the mail,” Gonzalez said. “You can do this now. … We want to avoid that crunch in July, August and September of 2020.”

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