First Issuance

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​In May 2025, standard licenses will no longer meet federal REAL ID Act requirements for Kentuckians to board U.S. domestic flights or enter select federal facilities. New security standards for identity credentials were recommended by the 9/11 Commission to prevent the fraudulent use and reproduction of licenses and IDs. For more information on the REAL ID, click h​ere​.​

WHAT DO I NEED TO APPLY FOR A KY DRIVER'S LICENSE?



1. One (1) proof of identity document 

2. One (1) proof of Social Security number (first-time & out-of-state applicants MUST bring their social security card as proof)​​

3. One (1) proof of the applicant's Kentucky residency dated less than one ​year. Two are required if applying for a REAL ID.​

4. If your current legal name, date of birth, or gender is different than what is displayed on your identity or lawful status document, you must show legal proof of the changes. Your name must be updated on your Social Security card before applying for a driver's license.​​

Before obtaining a permit/license, all new applicants must complete the required written, vision, and skills tests, administered by the Kentucky State Police.​

KENTUCKY DRIVER MANUAL​



  • ​Kentucky drivers under 18 must complete three phases of licensing: a Learner's Permit, an Intermediate License, and a Full Unrestricted License.​


STEP ONE: PERMIT PHASE

  • ​​Drivers must schedule an appointment with the Kentucky State Police to take the written and vision test to apply for a permit. To schedule a written and vision test appointment with KSP, click here​.

  • Bring the required documents listed above with you to your KSP appointment.

  • ​Once you pass the written and vision tests, you will get in line with the Regional office to apply for your permit credential. You will be issued a temporary permit printed on paper to use until the credential arrives in the mail. 

  • You must hold the permit for 180 days before you are eligible to take the road test​. During this time, all permit holders must have a licensed driver age 21 years or older in the passenger seat while driving. 



STEP TWO: FULL-UNRESTRICTED LICENSE

  • ​After holding the permit for 180 days, you may schedule an appointment with the Kentucky State Police to take the road skills test to apply for your full-unrestricted license. A licensed driver 21 years or older must accompany you to the testing site.

  • To schedule a road skills test appointment with KSP, click here​.

  • After passing the road skills test, you will get in line with the Regional office to apply for your license credential. You will be issued a temporary permit printed on paper to use until the credential arrives in the mail. *If your current address differs from what is listed on your permit, make sure to bring a valid proof of residency with you (2 for a REAL ID).​


REQUIREMENTS TO TAKE THE ROAD TEST
​Vehicles used for testing must be appropriately registered, and proof of liability insurance is required. One of the following is required as proof:

  • A proof-of-insurance card from the insurance company
  • A current insurance policy for that vehicle​​
  • A binder from an insurance agent, in writing, stating that insurance is in force

If you fail the road skills test, you must wait seven full days before retaking the test.





KENTUCKY DRIVER MANUAL​



STEP ONE: PERMIT PHASE

  • ​​​Drivers must schedule an appointment with the Kentucky State Police to take the written and vision test to apply for a permit. To schedule a written and vision test appointment with KSP, click here​.

  • Bring the required documents listed above with you to your KSP appointment.

  • ​Once you pass the written and vision tests, you will get in line with the Regional office to apply for your permit credential. You will be issued a temporary permit printed on paper to use until the credential arrives in the mail. 

  • You must hold the permit for 30 days before you are eligible to take the road test​. During this time, all permit holders must have a licensed driver age 21 years or older in the passenger seat while driving. ​



STEP TWO: FULL-UNRESTRICTED LICENSE

  • ​After holding the permit for 30 days, you may schedule an appointment with the Kentucky State Police to take the road skills test to apply for your full-unrestricted license. A licensed driver 21 years or older must accompany you to the testing site.

  • To schedule a road skills test appointment with KSP, click here​.

  • After passing the road skills test, you will get in line with the Regional office to apply for your license credential. You will be issued a temporary permit printed on paper to use until the credential arrives in the mail. *If your current address differs from what is listed on your permit, make sure to bring a valid proof of residency with you (2 for a REAL ID).


REQUIREMENTS TO TAKE THE ROAD TEST

  • ​Vehicles used for testing must be properly registered and proof of liability insurance is required. One of the following will be required as proof:
  • A proof-of-insurance card furnished by the insurance company.
  • A current insurance policy for that vehicle.​
  • A binder from an insurance agent, in writing, stating that insurance is in force.


If you fail the road skills test, you must wait 7 full days before taking the test again.​


​Persons moving into Kentucky have 30 days to obtain a Kentucky Driver's License.

​Kentucky Driver's Licenses and Identification Cards are issued at any Driver Licensing Regional Office​.


DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO TRANSFER AN OUT-OF-STATE LICENSE


  • One (1) proof of the applicant's Kentucky residency. (2) if applying for a REAL ID​

  • Social Security Card (must bring your social security card as proof)

  • Birth Certificate or Passport 

  • Valid out-of-state license ​
    • If your out-of-state license is valid or has been expired for less than one (1) year when you transfer to Kentucky, you will not be required to test. ​

    • However, if the license has been expired for more than one (1) year at the time of transfer, you will be required to obtain a full, certified DHR or clearance letter from the previous state​ and will be required to take both the written and eye exams before being issued a Kentucky operator's permit or license.

        • If testing is required, you must schedule an appointment with the Kentucky State Police by clicking here.


        • If you have lost your out-of-state license but the license has not been expired for more than one (1) year, you will need to obtain a DHR or Clearance letter from the previous state.


      PERMIT HOLDERS​


      • You must be at least 16 years of age to transfer your driving permit or license to Kentucky.

      • Out-of-State permit holders transferring to Kentucky must transfer their permit and be issued a Kentucky permit before applying for a Kentucky Driver's License.

      • If under age 18, you must present a School Compliance Verification Form signed by the out-of-state school (reference: No Pass/No Drive Law). This form can be obtained from the student's school district of residence.



      COLLEGE STUDENTS


      A college student may drive on their valid out-of-state license and is not required to transfer that license to Kentucky if​:


      • They are a citizen of the United States;

      • They are enrolled as a full-time or part-time student at a university, college, or technical college located in Kentucky; and​

      • They must have a student identification card from the university, college, or technical college located in Kentucky in their immediate possession when driving in Kentucky.​


      ​Please visit our Non-US Citizen page​ for more information. 

      • ​​Military veterans have the option of having their veteran status displayed on their Kentucky driver's license.​
      • ​Veterans must provide one of the following proof of veteran status
        • DD-214
        • DD-256
        • DD-25​7
        • NGB-22
        • VA Veterans Identification Card
        • VA Veterans Healthcare Card


      IDENTIFICATION CARDS​​​​

      • ​​An ID card may be obtained for a person age 15 and over at any Driver Licensing Regional Office.

      • A birth certificate, Social Security card (photocopies not accepted), and proof of residency are required. Click here for a list of Valid Proof Documents.​

      • A parent/guardian must be present if the applicant is under 18 years old.​

      • The cost of a standard Identification Card at any Driver Licensing Regional office is $11.50.


      ​​Kentucky Child ID Program

      On January 2, 2003, Kentucky implemented a new "Child ID" Program for applicants 2 to 15 years old. This program works closely with the Kentucky State Police "Missing Persons Clearinghouse" and the Amber Alert System in the event of a missing child.

      • To obtain an ID for your child, please visit any Driver Licensing Regional Office.

      • The office will need to verify the child's identity from their birth certificate and Social Security document (photocopies not accepted).

      • The child must be a U.S Citizen or Permanent Resident. Proof of residency is required.

      • The child's parent or guardian will need to sign the application and answer the U.S. Citizen question for the child. The cost of the card is $6.00, and it will expire in four (4) years.


      The card will be in the "vertical" format since it is issued to someone under 21. One noticeable difference on the Child ID is that the child's address will not appear on the face of the license. While stored in KDLIS, the address does not appear on the card's face to protect the child if the card is lost.


      Free Voter ID Card​

      • A free voter ID card can be obtained at any Driver Licensing Regional Office.

      • A Free Voter ID application must be submitted at the time of the issuance to ensure eligibility requirements are met.

      • Qualifications To Receive A Free Voter ID:

        • Must be eligible to vote

        • Must be registered to vote or register to vote upon issuance

        • Must not possess another state-issued credential from Kentucky or another jurisdiction

        • ​Must provide the required documents according to KRS contained in Kentucky Law (birth certificate, social security card, and proof of residency).​


      Homeless Identification Card

      • The ID card can be obtained at any Driver Licensing Regional office.

      • Per KRS 186.412(7). Per KRS 186.412 (7), "...the regional office shall issue a color photo personal identification card to any person who is a Kentucky resident and who resides in the county who complies with the provisions of this section and who applies in person."

      • It further states that "An application for a personal identification card shall be accompanied by the same information as is required for an operator license"..." except if a person does not have a fixed, permanent address, the person may use as proof of residency a signed letter from a homeless shelter, health care facility, or social service agency currently providing the person treatment or services and attesting that the person is a resident of Kentucky."



      ​KENTUCKY CREDENTIAL PRICING​
      Pricing of Kentucky Credentials

      ​​NATIONAL DRIVER REGISTER

      All states use the National Driver Register to determine if a driver's driving privilege is suspended in any other state before a license is issued. If a driver is suspended in another state, a license will not be issued until that suspension is no longer effective. Kentucky is a member of the Driver License Compact and the Nonresident Violator's Compact.​ For more information, click h​ere.

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