Community News

REAL ID licenses available at new regional licensing office in Madisonville

REAL ID licenses available at new regional licensing office in Madisonville

Bill Stephens

March 3rd, 2020


Office will serve all Kentucky residents

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 2, 2020) – Western Kentucky residents now have one more option to maintain U.S. air travel and military base entry thanks to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) expansion of REAL ID-compliant card access at a new Madisonville issuance location.

The Hopkins County REAL ID Regional Driver’s Licensing office in Madisonville launched today serving all Kentuckians regardless of where they live. Any U.S. citizen or permanent resident who has a driver’s license, permit or identification card may apply for a Kentucky’s REAL ID-compliant version at the new regional office in Madisonville if they want to use a state-issued credential to meet upcoming REAL ID requirements that go into effect Oct. 1, 2020.

“After years of repeated changes and uncertainty surrounding REAL ID in Kentucky, my administration is working tirelessly and has made quick progress to make REAL IDs available as soon as possible,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “The deadline to comply is quickly approaching and we must continue to improve this service while encouraging Kentuckians to take action to ensure they have an accepted form of identification by October.”

Residents who already have a valid form of REAL ID, like a passport or military ID, can use that instead of the new REAL ID license if they want to visit military bases and fly within the U.S. starting this October. Current driver’s licenses will continue to remain valid for driving, voting and general identification purposes.

Like Madisonville, the REAL ID office in Frankfort serves as a regional application site welcoming applicants from any county to apply. Offices in Paducah, Bowling Green, and Somerset are best scaled to serve residents in the county they are located in and will serve the region once workstation capacity expands.



Starting Oct. 1, 2020, Kentucky driver’s licenses, permits and identification cards displaying the Kentucky Unbridled Spirit logo or the language “NOT FOR REAL ID PURPOSES” will no longer be accepted to board U.S. commercial flights or access restricted federal buildings to comply with federal REAL ID law.

Kentucky is in the process of offering REAL ID-compliant licenses, permits and identification cards accepted at airport security checkpoints, military bases and federal buildings that require ID once federal enforcement begins.

REAL ID licenses serve as one of several forms of REAL ID. Below is a list of common forms of REAL ID Kentuckians may use to maintain air travel and select federal building access:   

  • Valid U.S. or foreign passport
  • Valid U.S. Passport Card
  • Voluntary Travel ID license, permit or identification card
  • Military ID (issued by U.S. Department of Defense)
  • Permanent resident card
  • DHS- Trusted Traveler Card
  • Global Entry Card

A full list of documents accepted by the Transportation Security Administration is available at Kentuckians are encouraged to contact military bases and federal buildings, like the White House, to learn what other forms of identification are accepted.


Beginning nationwide on Oct. 1, 2020, a form of REAL ID will be needed to:

  • Pass through airport security checkpoints to board a U.S. commercial flight
  • Visit a military base
  • Visit a federal building or facility that requires ID (White House, nuclear power plant)


Kentucky residents may visit the KYTC REAL ID Regional Driver’s Licensing Office office located at 56 Federal Place in Madisonville. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Applicants will receive a temporary 30-day document that serves as a driving credential until the permanent card arrives in the mail at the applicant’s residence.

Only debit and credit cards will be accepted (no cash or check). Regional offices are not equipped to serve applicants who require testing or re-testing. The cost of a four-year REAL ID license is $24 and $48 for an eight-year REAL ID license.


Residents applying for a REAL ID license must present documentation from a list of specific, acceptable documents that meet federal guidelines, including: 

  • one (1) valid proof of identity (like a certified birth certificate or valid passport)
  • one (1) valid proof of social security number ( like a social security card or W2 statement) and
  • two (2) valid proofs of residency ( like a Kentucky driver’s license with your current home address or a utility bill dated less than 61 days).
  • Additional documentation may be required if an applicant’s name or gender doesn’t match on the four proof documents (like a marriage certificate or divorce decree if your names don’t match due to marriage or divorce). Applicants may need to reorder documents before applying if the documents do not display legal names (like a nickname printed on a social security card). A detailed list of acceptable documents and examples of when additional documentation may be required is available on the Confident Kentucky website. The online IDocument Guide quiz provides a customized list of documents an applicant will need to present. Some acceptable documents have strict requirements (e., no photocopies of birth certificates, no expired documents, no laminated social security cards).

WHAT IF YOU WANT A REAL ID BUT AREN’T WITHIN YOUR RENEWAL WINDOW ( six months before the current card’s expiration date)?

  • Apply for a REAL ID license for $15, bring in the required documentation and the expiration date of your new license will stay the same
  • Once you have a REAL lD license and are within your renewal window, visit a REAL ID regional licensing office to renew your card for four or eight years. You do not need to bring in documentation again unless your name or address has changed.


The Hopkins County Circuit Court Clerk office will continue to serve as the application site for standard, non-REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses, permits and identification cards. A standard driver’s license is $20.

Kentuckians who have never had a Kentucky driving credential or those who require any form of testing or retesting must first visit the Circuit Court Clerk Office before visiting a regional licensing office if they would like a REAL ID license, permit or identification card. 


About the REAL ID Initiative

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is spearheading a statewide effort to improve the security of the issuance and production of state-issued driver’s licenses, permits and IDs to meet federal REAL ID standards. When REAL ID enforcement goes into effect Oct. 1, 2020, Kentucky driving and ID credentials without a star cutout in a black circle in the upper-right corner cannot be used at airport security checkpoints for U.S. commercial air travel or to visit military bases and federal facilities that require ID (like the White House). Kentuckians 18 years of age or older will need a REAL ID-compliant license/permit/identification card or another acceptable form of REAL ID (like an unexpired passport, passport card, permanent resident card) to fly within the U.S. or access restricted federal locations. Passports are still required for international travel. REAL ID licenses are optional and will continue to be offered after Oct. 1, 2020. Circuit Court Clerk offices will serve as the application site for standard, non-compliant cards and KYTC regional office locations will accept requests for REAL IDs*. All REAL ID licenses, permits and identification cards will arrive in the mail, are available in four or eight-year lifespans, feature new pricing and require documentation when applying. To learn more and to prepare, visit

*Franklin County and Woodford County Circuit Court Clerk office locations participated in the pilot program and continue to offer REAL IDs and new standard driver’s licenses to residents.

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