If you have a commercial flight booked on or after October 1, 2020 you won't be able to board it without a passport or Idaho Star Card.

For the record, I got married in August and STILL haven't legally changed my name on my Driver's License. Our wedding fell the same week that Idaho DMVs rolled out a system upgrade that produced more problems than anything else. Plus, I had travel booked under my maiden name through March 2019 anyway. Now that the travel's behind me, I know it's time to get it done and if I'm going to wait all day at the DMV, I might as well leave there with the Idaho Star Card that will let me fly after October 1, 2020.

The Idaho Star Card brings the Gem State's ID cards into compliance with the 2005 REAL ID Act that sets minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses across the country. After the deadline, you'll need a Star Card or passport to board commercial flights in the United States.  There are also certain federal buildings you won't be able to enter without the proper credentials.

October 2020 might seem like a LONG way off, but the State of Idaho recommends getting your Star Card sooner rather than later.  As of February 1, only 70,000 of Idaho's licensed drivers have gotten their Star Card.  The longer you wait, the more of a risk you run of standing in a long line to get yours in 2020.

Just so you know, getting the Star Card is NOT as easy as getting your regular driver's license. There's a stack of documents you'll need to bring with you when you head to the DMV to get yours.  Here's how they break it down:

Identity and Date of Birth (At least ONE of the following. It CANNOT be laminated)

  • Valid, unexpired US Passport
  • Certified birth certificate
  • One of the other documents listed under "Identity and Date of Birth" HERE.

Social Security Number (An original SSN card that has NOT been laminated or an original copy of ONE of the following documents)

  • W-2 form
  • Social Security Administration Form 1099
  • Non-Social Security Administration Form 1099
  • Pay stub with your name and Social Security number on it
  • For temporary foreign nationals not authorized for employment – the Idaho Transportation Department will verify your USCIS number
  • For temporary foreign nationals authorized for employment who do not have a SSN – you will be required to obtain and present one.

Proof of Idaho Residency (Must provide TWO documents)

  • There's lots of options, consult the entire list HERE.

For those of you in my shoes, who've had or will have a name change before getting your Star Card you will need to provide evidence of that name change through marriage, adoption or court order with the appropriate court or government documents.  These can't be laminated either.

BTW...if you don't plan on traveling or entering federal buildings you're not required to get a Star Card.  Your regular driver's license is still acceptable for things like driving, buying alcohol or entering nightclubs.