Learn more about changes to Kentucky licenses in 2019 by visiting Confident Kentucky
Location of Issuance
All Kentucky Driver's Licenses and Identification cards are issued in the Circuit Court Clerk's office in the Kentucky county of residence.
National Driver Register
All states use the National Driver Register to determine if a driver's driving privilege is suspended in any other state prior to a license being issued. If a driver is suspended in another state a license will not be issued until that suspension is no longer in effect. Kentucky is a member of the Driver License Compact and the Nonresident Violator's Compact.
Out-of-State Permit Holders
- A valid permit holder from another state must be at least 16 years of age to drive in Kentucky
- Must be accompanied by a licensed adult at least 21 years of age
- Driving is restricted between 12:00am (midnight) and 6:00am for those drivers who are under age 18
- 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
Requirements for Obtaining a Permit / License
- An individual must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a permit/license
- All new applicants must complete the required written, vision and skills tests administered by the Kentucky State Police before obtaining a permit/license
- If the applicant is under the age of 18, a parent or legal guardian must sign the Driver's License/Identification Card application form
- If the applicant is under the age of 18, a School Compliance Verification form from the student's school district must be presented. (reference: No Pass/No Drive Law)
What do I need to apply for a Driver's License?
Kentucky state law requires an application for a Driver's License to contain the following:
Important: Photocopies of items needed for proving an identity are not accepted as replacement for the actual items needed.
REAL ID Act
In October 2020, 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.
Kentucky has been working to come into compliance with the federal requirements, and in response, will begin offering two new versions of all identity credentials beginning in 2019. A phased, statewide rollout of the new credentials will start in early 2019 and end by spring. To learn more about the initiative, visit Confident Kentucky.
Frequently Asked Questions from the Department of Homeland Security regarding the REAL ID Act have been made available
Domestic Air Travel
TSA Security Screening Checklist
Requirements for Social Security number and Birth Certificate Verification
- The name on your Driver's License should be your legal name, if not you will need to take a copy of your birth certificate or a legal document showing your name change to the Circuit Court Clerk's office to have your Driver's License information corrected.
- If your Social Security card does not contain your legal name you will need to go to your local Social Security Administration field office to have your information updated in the Federal Social Security Administration database.
- If your Driver's License has your new married name, but your Social Security card does not, you will need to go to your local Social Security Administration field office to have a Social Security card issued with your new last name.
Requirements for Non-U.S. Citizens
Non-U.S. Citizens can apply for a Kentucky Driver's License by following instruction detailed in our Non-U.S. Citizens area.
- New drivers must pass a vision, written and skills test to be issued a Driver's License
- No tests are required for persons transferring to Kentucky with valid driving privileges, except persons transferring from foreign countries
- No testing is required for persons suspended less than one (1) year
- Eye and written tests are required for drivers suspended for more than one (1) year
- Any driver suspended or expired for more than five (5) years will start as a new driver
- All driver testing is performed by KSP on scheduled days at Circuit Court Clerk's offices (Call for an appointment)
Available Testing Languages for Written Permit Test
Driver's License Renewal
- A Driver's License must be renewed in the Circuit Court Clerk's office in the Kentucky county of residence
- A Kentucky operator's license is valid for four (4) years
- Age 21 and older, the license expires 31 days after the birth date
- Under age 21, the license expires 90 days after the 21st birthday
- Age 21 and over may renew a valid Driver's License up to six months prior to the expiration date
- If the license is expired for more than one (1) year, a vision and written test will be required
- The renewal fee for a regular class D operator license is $20.00
Renewal or Duplicate by mail
Kentucky Law permits only military personnel to be issued a Class D Driver's License by mail. All other drivers must appear in the Circuit Court Clerk's office for license issuance.
Military Personnel Only
- Kentucky residents currently serving in the United States military who are stationed or assigned to a base or other location outside the boundaries of the Commonwealth may renew a Class D operator's license by mail. Contact the Circuit Court Clerk's office in the Kentucky county of residence for an application and instructions.
- If a Kentucky resident has been serving in the United States military and has allowed their operator's license to expire, they shall, within 90 days of returning to the Commonwealth, be permitted to renew their license without having to take a written test or road test.
- A Kentucky resident serving in the United States military who does not renew their expired license within 90 days of returning to the Commonwealth shall be required to comply with all procedures of renewing a license that has expired.
Out-of-State Drivers Transferring to Kentucky (excluding non-US citizens)
- Persons moving into Kentucky have 30 days to obtain a Kentucky Driver's License.
- To obtain a Kentucky Driver's License you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of this country.
- You must be at least 16 years of age to transfer your driving permit or license to Kentucky.
- If under age 18, 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.
- All Kentucky Driver's Licenses are issued in the Circuit Court Clerk's office in the Kentucky county of residence.
- Proof of residency in Kentucky is required. For more information regarding acceptable proof, please contact the Circuit Court Clerk's office in the Kentucky county of residence.
- Your valid out-of-state license and Social Security card (photocopies are not accepted) must be presented to the Circuit Court Clerk. You may also be required to present a birth certificate (original or certified, photocopies are not accepted). If the name on your valid out of state license does not match the name on your birth certificate, you may be required to present a marriage certificate or a court ordered name change.
- If your out-of-state license is valid when you transfer to Kentucky, you will not be required to test. If your out of state license has expired, you will be required to take the written and eye tests.
- If your out-of-state license is expired one (1) year or more, you must provide a current driving record or clearance letter from the state you are transferring from.
- 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.
- The type of license you apply for will determine the cost.
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 at all times when driving in Kentucky.
Name or Address Change
- Anytime you change a name or address you must get a duplicate license at your Circuit Court Clerk's office within 10 days.
- The cost of a duplicate is $12.00.
- Proof of residency in Kentucky is required. For more information regarding acceptable proof please contact your local Circuit Court Clerk's office.
- Proof of a name change is required. (Birth Certificate, Name Change Court Order, Marriage License, Divorce Decree, or other legal document)
- Social Security card is not acceptable as proof of name or address change. However, you must provide a new Social Security card with your new name to prove you have updated your name with the Social Security Administration.
Identification Card ( ID )
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 new Amber Alert System in the event of a missing child.
To obtain an ID for your child please visit the Circuit Court Clerk's office in your home county. To obtain a Child ID, the Circuit Court Clerk 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 just like other applicants for an Identification Card or License. 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 $4.00 and it will expire in four (4) years.
The card will be in the “vertical” format since it is issued to someone under age 21. One noticeable difference on the Child ID is that the child’s address and signature will not appear on the face of the license. The address, while stored in KDLIS, does not appear on the face of the card to protect the child in case the card is lost.
Lost Driver's License, Permit, or ID Cards
When drivers physically lose their Driver's License, permit or identification card; they need to report to the Circuit Court Clerk's office in their county of residence to request issuance of a new card.
Drivers may be required to provide the following documents to confirm their identity:
Driver's License Reinstatement
License Reinstatement Fee
- $40.00 reinstatement/re-licensing fee may be required any time your driving privilege is suspended.
- The fee may be paid at the Circuit Court Clerk's office, any Division of Driver Licensing Regional Field Office, or online.
- A certified check or money order must be made payable to the "Kentucky State Treasurer".
- Please refer to your suspension notice from the Division of Driver Licensing to see if a reinstatement fee will be required.
Pay Reinstatement Fee Online
In order to pay a reinstatement fee online, you will need to have the following information about the Driver:
- Full Name (As it appears on Driver's License.)
- Driver's License Number (Number can be found on the letter from the Division of Driver Licensing)
- Date of Birth
Online payment can be made with one of the following credit cards or debit cards:
American Express Discover Mastercard VISA
Visit Kentucky Driver's License Reinstatement System Online
License Class Type
- Class Code
- Class Description
- CDL, Class A
- CDL, Class B
- CDL, Class C
- Operators, Class D*
*This class of license includes passenger cars, station wagons, pickup trucks, utility vehicles, and most panel trucks. This type and class of license is valid for any single motor vehicle, and a trailer, with weights not greater than 26,000 pounds, designed to carry less than 16 passengers (including the driver) and not placarded for the purpose of transporting hazardous materials.
- Moped Only, Class E
- Motorcycle, Class M
- Class Code
- Class Description
- CMV Auto Transmission
- Intrastate Only
- No Airbrakes
- Except Class A Bus
- Except Class A and B Bus
- Except Tractor Trailer
- No Passengers in Bus
- Medical Variance
- Farm Related Services
- No Cargo- Tank
- No Full Airbrake
- Valid KY Only
- Corrective Lenses
- Power Brakes
- Automatic Transmission
- Daylight Only
- Power Steering
- Hand Accelerator
- Hand Brake
- Ignition Interlock
Child Restraint Law
Kentucky's "child restraint law" requires every child less than 40 inches in height to be secured in a federally approved car seat. This is a primary law.
Seat Belt Law
Kentucky has adopted a seat belt law. All persons in the vehicle must be secured in a seat belt. A violation of this law is a "primary offense" and could be fined for each violation in the vehicle.