New federal standards for Idaho identification cards have been in the works for more than a decade, but only recently has getting the ID become a pressing priority -- we’re a year and a half out from it being enacted.

Love it or hate it, it doesn’t matter: After Oct. 1, 2020, Idaho residents will need to have The Star Card – or a passport or other approved credential – to get through Department of Homeland Security checkpoints at airports, courthouses and military bases.

The background to this is the REAL ID Act of 2005. This was enacted by Congress as a result of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”

So, in other words, don’t look to the Idaho County Driver’s License Division – or any other county office in the state -- to make exceptions on requirements.

Last year, Idaho began issuing the Star Card, the Gem State’s Real ID. However, only 5 percent of Idahoans -- 70,000 of 1.25 million licensed drivers -- have applied.

That’s a concern, specifically, for those folks who will need to board a plane or enter a federal facility and cannot due to not having this ID.

Procrastination may trip you up, as there is a specific list of documents you need to present to acquire the Star Card. Don’t have or don’t bring the right ones? Come back when you do have them.

The state’s concern is the rush of last-minute applicants creating long lines and people enduring extended waits. Something further to consider: Remember last year’s major malfunction at state DMV offices due to software issues being unable to handle license applications? Who says that bear isn’t going to resurface and stick its head into this mess, compounding the wait even more?

It’s a pain; you’ll need to wade through your statements and personal documents, and perhaps order some to gather what you need to apply. Questions? You can go online at itd.idaho.gov/starcard for details. Also, the Idaho County office has friendly folks to help you through the process.

Don’t let procrastination screw up your vacation or travel plans. Best thing to do is apply early and beat the rush, use your upcoming renewal time to upgrade to the Star Card.

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