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.

Current card versions and standard card versions may be used for domestic air travel and restricted federal facility entry until REAL ID enforcement begins Oct. 1, 2020.

No. An unexpired Kentucky driver’s license or personal ID card is accepted by the Transportation Security Administration to board commercial flights to all 50 states and U.S. territories until REAL ID enforcement begins October 1, 2020.

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. 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.​

Here is a list of IDs that fly:

  • Any Kentucky Voluntary Travel ID driver’s license, permit or ID
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler card (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential (TWIC®)
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

Check the Rollout Schedule is page for updates on when the new cards will be available in regional locationsto Kentuckians. While we do our part, the most important thing you can do to save time and avoid repeat trips when applying for a Voluntary Travel ID is to get prepared. To learn what required documents you need to update and gather now, take the IDocument Guide quiz or review a list of acceptable documents.

Voluntary Travel IDs are available to Franklin and Woodford County residents at their local Circuit Court Clerk office due to the initial pilot county-by-county model the Cabinet used.​

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).

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 at their local Circuit Court Clerk’s office. Personal identification cards require the same verification documents as a license. If you wish to obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate, contact the vital statistics agency in the state of your birth. Those born in Kentucky may contact the Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics. To request a replacement Social Security card, visit the Social Security Administration's website.

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. No hard copies of the documents presented during the application process will be kept. View our list of acceptable documents.​​

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 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, permits, and IDs will be mailed to successful applicants and should be received within 5-10 business days. A 30-day temporary document will be issued on-site for use while you wait for your new credential to come in the mail.​​​​​​

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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 tha​t 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. A standard license can be used to board a U.S. flight and enter federal buildings and military bases until federal enforcement begins October 1, 2020. 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 cardholder's 21st birthday.

Applicants will receive a 30-day temporary credential document 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 with a hole punch over the ghost portrait in the lower right corner, and returned to the applicant. TSA will accept the altered credential in conjunction with the temporary document, for official purposes until the requested card arrives in the mail. Fort Knox, Fort Campbell, Bluegrass Army Depot and the Kentucky Secretary of State will accept the temporary document without an altered credential for voting and entering the bases. It is at the discretion of a business, such as a financial institution, to accept a temporary document.

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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 Sept. 30, 2020. Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, Kentuckians will need a Voluntary Travel ID credential, or another federal form of identification (i.e. passport, passport card, permanent resident card), to board a domestic flight or enter a federally restricted building or military base. ​​
The Kentucky General Assembly passed House Bill 410 in the spring of 2017 allowing the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to issue REAL ID-compliant cards in 2019. Previous legislation prevented Kentucky from implementing the federal REAL ID Act. Offering REAL IDs is a lengthy process that typically takes two years to implement. A pilot program began in two counties in the summer of 2019 to monitor the performance of the new system. Due to workload and staffing concerns in Circuit Court Clerk offices, Kentucky has shifted from a county-by-county rollout model to a regional model where REAL ID compliant Voluntary Travel IDs will be issued by Kentucky Transportation Cabinet employees in offices in select counties. KYTC is finalizing details regarding where and when the new cards will be available. ​