Confident Kentucky 

What is changing?

In compliance with federal law, Kentucky is making Voluntary Travel IDs (REAL ID-compliant credentials) available statewide. The REAL ID Act required 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. When federal enforcement of the REAL ID Act begins on October 1, 2020, Kentucky’s current standard licenses 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.

To provide Kentuckians with options to best suit their needs, new Voluntary Travel ID credentials will be available at regional licensing offices across the state, while current standard credentials will continue to be available at Circuit Court Clerk offices. The new Voluntary Travel ID is a state-maintained, federally compliant credential that has meets REAL ID standards and serves as a state driver’s license, permit or ID. It has all the benefits of a standard credential, plus is accepted at airport security checkpoints for U.S. commercial air travel, military base entry and any federal building that requires identification.

While REAL ID enforcement takes effect October 1, 2020, Kentuckians are not required to obtain a Voluntary Travel ID by that date. Voluntary Travel IDs are 100% optional and are one of many federal documents accepted to maintain travel and access benefits starting October 1, 2020. Kentuckians who want a Voluntary Travel ID may apply for one any time after they are available at a regional issuance location.

Here’s what to expect when requesting a Voluntary Travel ID:

  • Present Documentation: To meet federal standards, applicants must provide (1) proof of identity, (1) proof of social security and (2) proofs of residency. Carefully review the full list of accepted documentation for a Voluntary Travel ID you need to gather before applying.
  • Arrive In The Mail: Residents will visit a regional licensing office to apply for a new credential. The requested credential will arrive in the mail at the address provided by the applicant 5-10 business days later.
  • Temporary Document: Applicants will leave the regional office with a 30-day temporary printed document and a hole-punched version of their current card to use until the requested credential arrives in the mail. The temporary document may be used to board U.S. commercial flights if shown with the altered card. While many businesses do accept temporary documents for general identification purposes, it is advised to check beforehand if you plan to use the document as a form of ID.
  • Extended Shelf-Life: Voluntary Travel ID credentials are available in four or eight-year lifespans.
  • New Pricing: The cost of Voluntary Travel ID credentials will account for the extended renewal cycle and additional security improvements.
  • New Look: All Voluntary Travel IDs will have a new look to house the latest, state-of-the-art security features that will make Kentucky cards among the most secure in the nation.
  • More Engagement, Upgraded Equipment: Expect a more interactive application experience at regional offices. Applicants will verify their personal information, such as their current address and the spelling of their names, using touchpads and all locations will receive modern equipment to quickly process required documentation.

Both 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;
  • Access health or life preserving services (including 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;
  • Operate a vehicle;
  • Vote or register to vote

Voluntary Travel IDs are acceptable to:

  • Pass through airport security checkpoints to board U.S. commercial flights;
  • Access federally restricted facilities, like military bases, nuclear power plants, federal agencies (like the FBI) and the White House

What’s staying the same?

  • Residents may continue to use standard licenses for domestic air travel and federal facility entry until federal enforcement begins October 1, 2020.
  • Residents will continue to visit Circuit Court Clerk’s offices to apply for standard credentials (driver’s license, permit, personal ID).
  • All driver’s license permits will remain valid for three years.
  • Applicants may only renew their current credential within six months of the expiration date.
  • 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.
  • Applicants can still donate to Trust for Life or register to be an organ and tissue donor when applying for a new credential.
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