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New secure driver’s license rollout begins in March

Start preparing now for new REAL ID law

The rollout of the state’s new identity credentials will become available gradually in counties beginning in March, with completion planned in May, as part of the “Confident Kentucky” initiative, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

This is part of the new federal requirements of the REAL ID Act, which mandates new IDs to board U.S. domestic flights and access restricted federal buildings and military bases. October 1, 2020, is the federal date after which the current driver’s license will no longer be accepted.

Once counties begin offering two new credential versions—a standard or Voluntary Travel ID—applicants will choose the credential they prefer the next time they are due to renew their existing card.

When and where to apply

Kentuckians do not need to replace their current credential unless they are within six months of their card’s expiration date; if they need to update their card due to a name, address or gender change; or if their current card expires after October 1, 2020, and they would like a Voluntary Travel ID.

Citizens may apply only at the office of Circuit Court Clerk in their county of residence. Cards will be mailed to applicants five to 10 business days later. The specific date the new cards will become available in each county will be announced at least two weeks prior to the effective date. Check the Rollout Schedule.

“Current Kentucky licenses, permits and IDs will remain valid until their expiration date, so cardholders should wait to request one of the new card versions until they are within their renewal period,” says Department of Vehicle Regulation Commissioner Matt Henderson. “Those seeking a Voluntary Travel ID but whose renewal window doesn’t allow them to renew before the October 1, 2020, deadline can visit their county’s Circuit Court Clerk office and pay $15 to upgrade their current credential to a Voluntary Travel ID that maintains their current card’s expiration date.”

Collect your documents now

Applicants requesting a new Voluntary Travel ID or those applying for a license, permit or personal ID for the first time must present specific documents that verify identify, social security number and residency. Kentuckians are urged to prepare now by gathering documentation and making any necessary updates.

“Gathering, replacing and updating required documents can spare applicants from repeat trips to Circuit Court Clerk offices,” says Kentucky Association of Circuit Clerks President Greg Helton. “Now is the time to collect documents like a certified birth certificate or request a social security card that reflects your current legal name. An online document guide interactive tool makes it easy to create a personalized list of documents applicants will need to bring so they’re confident they’ll arrive with the right documents in hand.” 

More information

The renewal cycle of licenses and personal IDs will be moving from a four-year to an eight-year lifespan. For the first four years of the new issuance system, non-CDL (commercial drivers) applicants will get to choose between a four- or eight-year license. From year five and on, all applicants will receive an eight-year license. 

The helpful IDocument Guide offers citizens the option to create a customized list of documents needed to take with them when they apply.

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