New Driver Licensing Regional Offices
Driver licensing services offered by the Office of Circuit Court Clerk in each county will gradually transfer to the Transportation Cabinet’s new network of Driver Licensing Regional Offices by June 30, 2022. The new licensing model offers more options and modern services, such as online appointments scheduling, your choice of a four or eight-year license, REAL ID licenses, and coming soon – online license renewal (for cardholders whose name and address hasn’t changed). Kentucky State Police will continue to oversee all written and road testing.
As of March 22, 2021, nearly all driver licensing services for residents of Franklin and Woodford counties will transfer from the circuit court clerks to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Driver Licensing Regional Offices.
To see if your local Circuit Clerk Office is still providing driver services, click here.
KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Offices are open to residents of ANY county. To schedule an appointment, click here.
REAL ID Act
In October 2021, 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.
Frequently Asked Questions from the Department of Homeland Security regarding the REAL ID Act have been made available.
Domestic Air Travel
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 If a driver is suspended in another state a license will not be issued until that suspension is no longer in effect.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)
- 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. Cick here to schedule testing.
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:
Don’t Forget!: 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 show legal proof of the changes (i.e. marriage licenses, court orders, divorce papers).
Important: Photocopies of items needed for proving an identity are not accepted as replacement for the actual items needed.
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.
Driver’s License Renewal
In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Administrative Office of the Courts is currently offering a remote license renewal program through June 30, 2021. Those seeking to renew or replace a standard-issue license or ID card can do so by visiting one of the Kentucky Transporation Cabinet Driver License Regional Offices (found here). Another option for citizens looking to renew can mail or drop-off with the circuit court clerk in the license holder’s county of residence (Fayette County residents can do so through the Lexington Driver Licensing Regional Office), provided there has been no change of name or address and the license holder does not require driver testing by Kentucky State Police. More information about the application process is available here.
Note:Commercial Driver Licenses and REAL IDs are not eligible for the remote renewal program. These license types must be renewed in person. New standard IDs without the Unbridled Spirit logo may only be renewed through the remote renewal program if you live in Fayette, Franklin or Woodford counties.
- A Driver’s License may be renewed through the Circuit Court Clerk’s office in the Kentucky county of residence, or any Driver Licensing Regional Office. Please call your Circuit Court Clerk’s office before you go, or check the status of your Circuit Clerk’s office here – some currently require appointments while others may not be open to the public at this time.
- A Kentucky operator’s license is valid for four (4) years or eight (8) years. (Eight year credentials are only available for new standard licenses and REAL IDs. Learn more here
- 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 standard class D operator license is $20.00 (offered at most Circuit Court Clerk offices). New standard operator licenses are available at Driver Licensing Regional Offices. For New standard license and REAl ID pricing, click here.
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 will be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of this country.
- You will 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.
- Kentucky Driver’s Licenses and Identification cards can be issued in the Circuit Court Clerk’s office in the Kentucky county of residence (Fayette County licensing is handled by KYTC only) as well as Driver Licensing Regional Offices across the Commonwealth.
- 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 will also need to provide either a valid passport or birth certificate at the time of transfer.
- If your out-of-state license is valid when you transfer to Kentucky, you will not be required to test. However, if it has expired, you will be required to take the written and vision tests.
- If your out-of-state license is expired one (1) year or more, you will 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 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.
Free Voter ID card
Qualifications To Receive A Free Voter ID:
- Must be eligible to vote
- Must be registered to vote or register to vote upon issuance
- Must not possess another state issued credential from Kentucky or another jurisdiction
- Must provide an identity document pursuant to KRS (birth certificate, social security card and proof of residency)
Lost Driver’s License, Permit, or ID Cards
When drivers physically lose their Driver’s License, permit or identification card; they need to visit the Circuit Court Clerk’s office in their county of residence or a Driver Licensing Regional Office to request issuance of a new card in person.
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 a Division of Driver Licensing Field Office (no cash accepted) 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
License Class Type
Class Code Class Description A CDL, Class A B CDL, Class B C CDL, Class C D 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. E Moped Only, Class E M Motorcycle, Class M
Class Code Class Description E CMV Auto Transmission K Intrastate Only L No Airbrakes M Except Class A Bus N Except Class A and B Bus O Except Tractor Trailer P No Passengers in Bus V Medical Variance W Farm Related Services X No Cargo- Tank Z No Full Airbrake 0 Valid KY Only 1 Corrective Lenses 2 Power Brakes 3 Automatic Transmission 4 Daylight Only 5 Power Steering 6 Hand Accelerator 7 Hand Brake 8 Other 9 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.
In case of emergency contact information for Kentucky drivers
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has teamed up with the Kentucky State Police and Department of Criminal Justice Training to launch a new online service that allows state license, permit, and ID holders to designate a preferred contact law enforcement can notify in the event the cardholder is involved in a vehicle crash or emergency situation. The service is free and citizens can take advantage online or by calling the Transportation Cabinet at (502) 564-1257.
Register your Emergency Contact Emergency Notice Fact Sheet