Idaho's Star card. What you need to know before you apply for one. Tips for a better experience

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Another birthday has come and gone..

This reality was exacerbated by the fact that I needed to renew my Drivers License, so I decided that I would get a REAL ID. Why? Beginning October 1st 2020, in order to fly domestically or access a federal building, you will need a STAR Card. I haven’t checked, but I am certain that every state has a similar REAL ID program. As of July 31st only 150 thousand drivers out of 1,200,000 total drivers in Idaho have obtained a STAR driver’s license card. So, if you don’t need to renew your license, chances are that you will put this trip to the DMV off if possible. Just remember, before that trip to Hawaii for Christmas, year after next, you will need a STAR card, or a valid passport, (the STAR card is not good for transit to another country, so you will still need a passport for that ski trip to Nelson.) Let’s look at my journey, to see how you can avoid multiple trips and long lines at the DMV. More information can be found at Idaho Transportation Department.

Having the correct documents:

This is trickier than I thought, I have lived in the same house for 31 years, have a small business, a passport, and the TSA precheck. So, I only skimmed the document requirements. Make sure that you have all needed papers, you will need substantiating documents from the following 3 categories.

Identity and Date of Birth:

  • Valid unexpired U.S. 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).
  • Unexpired employment authorization document (EAD), Form I-766 or Form I-688B. (Must be accompanied by an unexpired Foreign passport).
  • 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. (Must be accompanied by unexpired EAD card or other acceptable documents).
  • Certificate of Naturalization, Form N-550 or Form N-570.
  • Certificate of Citizenship, Form N-560 or Form N-561.
  • REAL ID driver's license or identification card issued in another state. (additional document from list required).

Make sure whichever option you choose, that it is unexpired, has a picture and is not laminated. If you use something for this requirement that does not have a picture, like a birth certificate be ready to show an “acceptable photo identification”.I used my passport.

Social Security Number:

These are the documents you may choose from to prove your Social Security Number.

  • Your non-laminated Social Security card
  • 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.

Again, I thanked God that I am been married to my wonderful wife, she had my unlaminated social security card (with a 1974 signature). If I could not have found this card, I would have had to dig out my taxes and some 1099 form, since I no longer get a paycheck.

Proof of Idaho Residency:

This is where I messed up, I did not realize that you need 2 of these documents. I had run a copy of my Utility bill, but only had one document.Fortunately, the wonderful person at the DMV let me use my insurance ID from jan jesberger insurance, as an original or certified copy of last issued document as proof of my Idaho Residency.

These are the documents you may choose from to prove your proof of Idaho residency.



Lease/rental agreement, mortgage or deed

Court documents

Record from a public utility for service address, i.e. power bill, water bill, trash and sewer bill (cell phone bills will not be accepted)

Record of property taxes assessed or paid (receipt date within one year

Bank or credit card statement

A vehicle insurance liability card, binder or bill issued by an IDAHO-BASEDcarrier

Paycheck, paystubs or employment records

Idaho school enrollment records with current address or VOC for current school year and current address (college ID not accepted).

Motel, hotel, campground or RV park receipt showing 30 days of residency

Military Leave and Earning Statement (LES) to evidence Idaho residency of applicant deployed outside of Idaho while serving on active duty

Relief Agency or Shelter Certification

Property Owner Residency Affidavit

Show up early:

The hours at the Coeur d Alene as well as the Post Falls office are from 7:30 until 5:30, unless you need to take a written test. I was there at 7:20 on a Wednesday morning and my wait was less than 15 minutes.

There is an app for that:

The DMV has employed a queue management system app allows you “get in line”.You can both put yourself into the queue and get updates on wait time. I used this app recently after buying a new vehicle, and it worked well.My only caveat is that the wait time after you are in the queue is not necessarily the true wait time.When I used the app, I was given a 30 minute wait time, but after 15 minutes my number came up. Fortunately I was already in the waiting room and was able to take my place.

The Bottom Line:

With just 42% of Americans holding passports and only 150 thousand out of 1.25 million Idahoans holding STAR cards, (and knowing human nature as I do), I suspect that as October 2020 inches closer, we will see an upward pressure on the good folks at the DMV.