Student and Academic Life

What You Need to Know About Kentucky's REAL ID

Photo by Mark Cornelison | UKphoto
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

Update: The REAL ID deadline has been extended until May 3, 2023

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 30, 2021) — The Commonwealth of Kentucky is working to make REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses available statewide at regional locations as quickly and efficiently as possible. REAL ID enforcement goes into effect May 3, 2023. This means Kentucky driver’s licenses without a black star cannot be used at airport security checkpoints for U.S. commercial air travel or to visit military bases and federal facilities that require ID after May 3, 2023. 

Here is what you need to know:

  • New REAL ID driver's licenses, permits and identification cards may be requested at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Driver Licensing Regional Offices across the state.
  • Kentucky REAL IDs are for Kentucky residents.
  • To meet federal standards, applicants must provide (1) proof of identity, (1) proof of social security and (2) proofs of residency. Carefully review the full list of accepted documentation for a REAL ID you need to gather before applying.
  • REAL ID credentials are available in four or eight-year lifespans.
  • The new credentials contain nearly double the amount of security features than the current issued credentials. ​
  • REAL ID cards are optional and citizens do not have to obtain one before the deadline. Other federally approved documents, like a valid passport or passport card, are accepted for U.S. air travel and military base entry.
  • Non-U.S. citizens are not eligible to receive a REAL ID.

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