New regional issuance model offers ‘next-level’ services for Kentucky drivers
FRANKFORT – Nine more Kentucky counties will make the transition in August to a new, secure driver-licensing model, administered by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), that gives Kentuckians more choices and modern services.
The traditional issuance system of licenses and permits initiated at the Office of Circuit Court Clerk in each county is being phased out. It is being replaced by a network of KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Offices intentionally located across the state. Eighteen regional offices have been opened statewide to date, with more to come. KYTC and Kentucky’s circuit court clerks are working together to smoothly complete the transition statewide by June 30, 2022.
“It’s a new era of driver licensing in Kentucky,” Gov. Andy Beshear said “We are using technology to offer more service options than ever before, such as online appointment scheduling and, for the first time, online license renewal. After many years of issuing driver licenses, circuit court clerks will be able to focus solely on court business and driver licensing will be executed at new regional offices whose only business is licensing.”
Making the transition in August will be Bath, Carter, Crittenden, Cumberland, Jackson, Lawrence, Lyon, McLean and Warren counties. The Office of Circuit Court Clerk in each of those counties will cease in-person driver licensing services on Aug. 23, 2021 and licensing services will instead be performed at KYTC’s regional offices.
With the August transition, 49 of Kentucky’s 120 counties will have made the transfer of services.
Residents of counties making the transition may renew or apply for a REAL ID or new standard card version of driver license, learner permits, commercial driver licenses (CDL) and ID cards at any KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Office. Applicants are encouraged to make an appointment online, which can be done at drive.ky.gov. Walk-in customers are welcomed on a first-come, first-served basis until available slots are filled.
For the first time in Kentucky, license holders who want to renew their current license version, and whose name and address have not changed, now can do so online. Visit dlrenewal.ky.gov for more information.
KYTC regional offices – the only place where Kentuckians can get a REAL ID – are currently operating in Bowling Green, Burlington, Catlettsburg, Columbia, Elizabethtown, Frankfort, Jackson, Lexington, Louisville/Bowman Field (appointment only), Louisville/Dixie Highway (appointment only), Louisville/Hurstbourne, Madisonville, Morehead, Owensboro, Paducah, Prestonsburg, Richmond and Somerset, with more offices planned.
Kentucky State Police will continue to administer all permit and license testing. Testing services are offered Monday through Friday by appointment only. Applicants who require testing by KSP for a permit, driver license or commercial driver license may make an appointment online by visiting KSP’s website, selecting written or road testing and then locating the schedule associated with their county of residence.
Next Level Licensing
The transition to a new model for license issuance is more than a change of office locations. “Our regional offices also offer a more secure issuance process and upgraded card security features to curb fraud,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said.
Driver Licensing Regional Offices will offer the following:
Online appointment scheduling. Walk-in customers are still welcome.
A choice between a REAL ID and a new standard card version. Both feature security upgrades and are available with a choice of four-year or eight-year expiration. (Eight years for all CDLs.)
Service at ANY regional office, regardless of customer’s county of residence.
Periodic “Pop-up Driver Licensing” visits to counties without a regional office to offer on-site application and renewal services.
License applicants receive a temporary identification document at the end of the transaction for use until the permanent card arrives by mail at their home address. This reduces the wait time for printing credentials during visits and improves security by eliminating in-office card production machinery.
Transition of licensing services was launched with passage of House Bill 453 during the 2020 Kentucky General Assembly. Counties having already made the transition are Adair, Ballard, Breathitt, Caldwell, Carlisle, Casey, Elliott, Fayette, Fleming, Floyd, Franklin, Fulton, Garrard, Green, Hancock, Hardin, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Knott, Lee, Livingston, Madison, Magoffin, Martin, McCracken, McCreary, Menifee, Metcalfe, Morgan, Muhlenberg, Owen, Owsley, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Webster, Wolfe and Woodford.
Kentucky will continue offering the option of a standard driver’s license, but a REAL ID or other form of federally approved identification, such as a passport or military ID, eventually will be needed by people 18 and older for boarding commercial flights and accessing military bases and federal buildings that currently require identification. Enforcement is scheduled to begin May 3, 2023.
First-time application for a REAL ID must be made in person at a Driver Licensing Regional office. Specific documentation is required. A list of acceptable documentation and a link to take an interactive quiz that populates a personalized list of documents is available at drive.ky.gov.