Confident Kentucky 

Frequently Asked Questions

A license is more than a pass to drive – it’s how you prove who you are. Driver’s licenses are used for everything from signing a lease to making age-restricted purchases. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is enhancing the security of the credential you rely on most while offering options to keep you on the move.

In October 2020, standard licenses will no longer meet federal REAL ID requirements for Kentuckians to board U.S. flights or enter select federal facilities and military bases. By producing identity credentials at one secure location, Kentucky can offer a federally compliant credential for citizens who prefer the convenience of using a single, secure credential for access to federal facilities and other uses.

A Voluntary Travel ID has all the security features and benefits of a standard license/permit/personal ID plus meets federal standards for use at airport security checkpoints to fly to any U.S. state or territory. This optional credential can also be used to enter restricted federal facilities, such as military bases or nuclear power plants, once federal enforcement begins October 1, 2020. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and military bases accept other documentation, such as a U.S. Passport. Visit www.tsa.gov for a complete list of acceptable air travel documentation and contact the military base you plan to visit to learn what other credentials they will accept.

As long as Kentucky has an extension from the Department of Homeland Security through October 2020, you can use your standard credential to fly or enter federal facilities. On October 1, 2020, a standard credential will no longer be accepted for these purposes.​

No. As long as Kentucky is under an extension from the Department of Homeland Security, a standard, unexpired driver’s license/personal ID card or new standard license can be used to board domestic commercial flights until enforcement begins October 1, 2020. Kentucky is presently under an extension and expects to obtain future extensions through October 2020. A Kentucky driver’s license or personal ID card is currently accepted by the Transportation Security Administration to board commercial flights to all 50 states and U.S. territories.​

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No. The Voluntary Travel ID is optional and serves as one of many acceptable forms of identification accepted by the Transportation Security Administration and military bases. It is a convenient and affordable alternative to getting a passport. A Voluntary Travel ID offers Kentuckians a single credential to use for multiple purposes, such as passing airport security checkpoints and verifying your identity for purchases. While Kentucky is under an extension from the Department of Homeland Security, a standard driver’s license offers the same benefits as a Voluntary Travel ID. Beginning October 1, 2020, a standard driver’s licenses will not be accepted to board domestic flights or to enter restricted federal facilities.​

Kentucky’s new credentials will become available starting in January 2019 at select Circuit Court Clerk offices and extend to all 120 counties by spring 2019. This phased rollout allows for new equipment to be installed at more than 140 county issuance locations that have unique needs. A schedule will be available in the fall of 2018. As long as Kentucky is under an extension from the Department of Homeland Security through October 2020, you can use your standard driver’s license for the same travel and access benefits as a Voluntary Travel ID. ​

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Standard credentials and Voluntary Travel IDs are acceptable to:

  • Enter federal facilities, such as museums or a post office, that do not require a person to present identification;
  • Apply for or receive federal benefits (includes Social Security office);
  • Access health or life preserving services (includes hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings);
  • Participate in law enforcement proceedings or investigations (includes federal courthouses);
  • Operate a vehicle;
  • Vote or register to vote.

A standard credential cannot be used to board a U.S. flight once federal enforcement begins October 1, 2020 and it cannot be used to access restricted federal facilities (such as military bases, nuclear power plants and the White House).

The new licensing system is a reset across the board for all identity verification documents. Applicants requesting a new Voluntary Travel ID or first-time standard driver’s license will need to present documentation proving identity (such as a certified birth certificate, U.S. passport or Permanent Resident Card), social security number (such as a social security card or W-2 form), and proof of residency (such as a utility bill or lease; two proofs required for a Voluntary Travel ID). To renew a standard driver’s license or personal ID, applicants will only need to surrender their current license and take a new photo. Personal identification cards require the same verification documents as a license.

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 present additional documentation, such as a marriage license or divorce decree. The Circuit Court Clerk​ will not keep any hard copies of the documents presented during the application process. View our list of acceptable documents. ​

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Many people change their names due to marriage, adoption, divorce or other reasons. In order to obtain a Voluntary Travel ID or standard credential, you must provide proof documents that show a direct link between your name changes. Those documents include a marriage certificate, divorce decree, legal name court order or valid U.S. Military ID card. If your name has changed due to marriage, you will need to request a new social security card that matches your current legal name before applying for a new credential.

For example, if your birth certificate displays your maiden name but your social security card displays your married name, you’ll need to bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate to link the documents. If you’ve lost your birth, marriage or divorce certificate, you will need to obtain a certified replacement copy. If you have a U.S. passport or passport card that matches your current legal name, you can use that document as proof of identity and legal presence, in place of a birth certificate.

If your present gender is different than what is listed on your identity document ( such as a birth certificate or passport), you will need to present a court order changing gender marker or a letter from the surgeon that completed the gender reassignment.

If the birth date on your current license is not correct, you will need to present a birth certificate to ensure your new credential reflects the correct date.

To find out what additional documents you may need to provide, view our list of acceptable documents.

All credentials will have new pricing to account for the longer shelf life and security improvements. A new eight-year standard driver’s license will be $43 and a new eight-year Voluntary Travel ID will be $48. Applicants who opt for four-year credentials during the first four years of implementation will pay half the cost. New pricing information is available.

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The standard Kentucky motorcycle license will cost $43 and be valid for eight (8) years. The Kentucky Voluntary Travel ID motorcycle license is $48 and will be valid for eight (8) years. A combination motorcycle and operator standard license is $53 and $58 for a combination Voluntary Travel ID. CDLs will be valid for 8 years and costs vary according to the type of CDL and different endorsement combinat​ions. Please contact the Division of Driver Licensing CDL section for more details at (502) 564-1257.

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Your will still visit your local Circuit Court Clerk's office will continue to serve as the location to make requests for standard licenses and IDs as well as the new​ Voluntary Travel ID. All licenses and IDs will be mailed to successful applicants and should be received within 5-10 business days. A temporary license or personal ID document will be issued on-site for use while you wait for your new credential to come in the mail.​ ​​​​​

The applicant should renew their license at the Circuit Court Clerk office in his or her county of residency prior to the expiration date. The applicant will surrender the existing license, pay $20, and will be issued a standard license that is valid for four years. If the applicant chooses to apply for a new Voluntary Travel ID before their new standard credential expires, they may do so by turning in their unexpired credential, bringing in the appropriate documentation and sitting for a new photo. The applicant will pay $15 to upgrade to a Voluntary Travel ID that maintains their current credential's expiration date. Once an applicant is within six (6) months of their expiration date, they can renew their Voluntary Travel credential. As long as Kentucky is under an extension from the Department of Homeland Security through October 1, 2020, a standard license can be used to board a U.S. flight and enter federal buildings and military bases. If you would like to use a license for these purposes, you will need to apply for a new Voluntary Travel ID prior to October 2020. ​

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We’re maximizing convenience by extending the renewal cycle of licenses and personal IDs from a four-year to an eight-year lifespan. For the first four years of the new issuance system, non-CDL applicants and those over the age of 21 can choose between a four- or eight-year credential. Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) credentials will be valid for eight (8) years. Permits are valid for three (3) years and licenses issued to applicants under the age of 21 expire 90 days after the cardholders 21st birthday. Beginning January 1, 2023, all applicants over 21 will receive an eight-year license.​

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Applicants will receive a 30-day temporary driver’s license document or personal ID card from their local Circuit Court Clerk that is valid until the requested license or ID arrives in the mail. The applicant's current credential will be altered and returned to the applicant. It can be used in conjunction with a temporary document to board U.S. flights until the requested card arrives in the mail. It is at the discretion of a business, such as a financial institution, to accept a temporary document. The temporary document can be used without the altered credential to vote and enter Ft. Knox and Ft. Campbell.

After a name or address change, the applicant shall apply for an updated license within 10 days. The duplicate fee is $15.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. The companion will need acceptable identification.​

The physical cards contain the same security features. The main difference is related to access and documentation. As long as Kentucky is operating under an extension from the Department of Homeland Security, standard licenses will have the same benefits of a Voluntary Travel ID to allow license holders access to board domestic flights and enter federal restricted facilities, such as military bases and nuclear power plants. On October 1, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security plans to stop issuing compliance extensions to states and the access a standard license provides will change.

Applicants requesting a Voluntary Travel ID license or personal ID must provide one additional proof of residency and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will retain their birth certificate or U.S. passport electronically.

Current credential holders may only request a new credential (new standard or Voluntary Travel ID) if they are within six months of their cards expiration date. If your expiration date is six months or more after the October 1, 2020 federal enforcement date, you can apply for a new Voluntary Travel ID and pay $15 to upgrade to one that maintains your current credential's expiration date. Once you're within six months of your expiratoin date, you can renew your Voluntary Travel ID. A new credential (new standard or Voluntary Travel ID) can be requested at any time once it is available at the Circuit Court Clerk's office in your county of residence. For a list of other credentials accepted at airport security checkpoints, visit www.tsa.gov.​

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If the applicant is under the age of 18, he or she must present the required documentation for a standard or Voluntary Travel ID (identity document, social security number, proof of residency*), plus the following documentation:

  • A parent or legal guardian form
  • A school compliance verification form
  • Cabinet for Health and Family Services Custody Verification Letter (only required for foster children)
  • *Proof of residency documents in the parent or legal guardian’s name are accepted if the applicant is under 18

If your requested credential has not arrived at the address on record after 10 business days, you may call the Division of Driver Licensing at (502) 564-1257.

Kentucky’s new credentials are 100% laser engraved. A precision laser creates a grayscale image and renders a high-quality, high-resolution portrait with fine features and excellent gradation between light and dark areas. This leads to high-quality portraits that clearly and definitively represent the cardholder without the distortion and distraction of color.​

No. Kentucky will maintain strict control over its driver’s license and personal ID card programs, and will only share information with law enforcement agencies for the specific purpose of criminal investigation.​

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Safer credentials begin with issuance. By verifying the identities of applicants and moving the production of credentials from over-the-counter to a central printing location, the overall security of our credentials is boosted. The new credentials contain nearly double the amount of security features than the current issue credentials. ​
Kentucky has been granted an extension from the Department of Homeland Security that allows current and new standard licenses, permits and IDs to be accepted through Aug. 1, 2019. The state expects to maintain extensions until REAL ID enforcement begins Oct. 1, 2020. At that time, Kentuckians will need a Voluntary Travel ID credential, or another federal form of identification, to board a domestic flight or enter a federally restricted building or military base.​