New regional issuance model offers ‘next-level’ services for Kentucky drivers
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 30, 2021) – Ten more Kentucky counties will make the transition in October 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 located across the state. Nineteen 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, online license renewal and, beginning in October, mail-in 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 October will be Barren, Carroll, Clay, Gallatin, Greenup, Leslie, Lewis, Lincoln, Ohio and Simpson counties. They bring to 67 the number of counties to have done so. The Office of Circuit Court Clerk in each of the 10 counties will cease driver licensing services on Oct. 25, 2021.
Residents of counties making the transition may renew or apply for a REAL ID or new standard card version of driver license, learner permit, commercial driver license (CDL) or ID card at any KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Office. Applicants are encouraged to make an appointment online, which can be done at drive.ky.gov | Regional Offices Map. Walk-in customers are welcomed on a first-come, first-served basis until available slots are filled.
To date, more than 30,000 Kentuckians needing to renew their current license have skipped a trip to an office by renewing online – a new service available to Kentuckians whose name and address have not changed. Visit www.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, Manchester, 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. Applicants who require testing by KSP for a permit, driver license or CDL may make an appointment online by visiting http://kentuckystatepolice.org/driver-testing/.
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. Nine counties – Bath, Carter, Crittenden, Cumberland, Jackson, Lawrence, Lyon, McLean and Warren – made the transition beginning this week. A full list of counties that have transferred services to regional offices is available at drive.ky.gov | Circuit Clerks.
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 | IDocument Guide.