Confident Kentucky 

Under 21

Under 21 Driver's License 
Under 21 Instruction Permit 

The REAL ID Act requires changes to state standards, procedures, and requirements for the issuance of driver's licenses and identification cards accepted by select federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration. Starting May 3, 2023, Kentucky’s standard credentials will no longer be accepted to board U.S. flights or enter restricted federal facilities, like military bases, nuclear power plants or the White House. Kentuckians under the age of 18 do not need to present identification at airport security checkpoints to board U.S. commercial flights or to visit military bases.

To provide Kentuckians with options to best suit their needs, all identity credentials will be available in one of two versions: a new standard credential or a new REAL ID credential. Identity credentials refer to driver’s licenses (including commercial and motorcycle licenses), permits, and personal IDs. Kentuckians may request one credential in either the standard or REAL ID version.


  • Applicants under the age of 18 requesting a permit or license must present the required documentation for a standard credential or REAL ID (to prove identity, the applicant's Social Security Number, and residency*), plus the following:
    • A parent or legal guardian form
    • A school compliance verification form
    • A Cabinet for Health and Family Services Custody Verification Letter (only required for foster children)
  • An unlicensed driver wishing to obtain a driver’s license should follow the steps of our Graduated Driver Licensing Program.
  • Drivers under the age of 21 will not have the option to choose a 4- or 8-year lifespan when they apply for a new credential. Permits are valid for three years and licenses issued to applicants under the age of 21 expire 90 days after the cardholder's 21st birthday.

*Proof of residency documents may be in the parent or guardian's name if the applicant is under 18. Two proofs of residency are required for a REAL ID.

U.S. Flights

  • Kentuckians under 18 are not required to provide identification when flying in the U.S. with a companion who has a valid travel credential.

Entrance into restricted federal facilities

  • Minors visiting military bases and other restricted federal facilities – like nuclear power plants or the White House – should contact their destination to confirm if identification will be required.


  • License holders (under 21):
    • REAL ID driver’s license: $18
    • Standard driver’s license: $15
  • Permits:
    • REAL ID driver’s license: $18
    • Standard driver’s license: $15
 Note: The cost of each permit version is the same, regardless of the applicant’s age at the time of issuance.