Kentuckians Encouraged to Be “REAL ID Ready” As One Year Mark to Federal Enforcement Approaches

FRANKFORT, KY – Will your license fly? That’s the question state officials urge Kentuckians to ask themselves as only one year remains before federal REAL ID Act enforcement starts May 7, 2025. After that date, a REAL ID state-issued driving or identity credential or another federally accepted form of REAL ID, like a passport, will be required for air travel checkpoints or access to military bases or federal buildings that require identification.

Governor Andy Beshear 185“We want Kentuckians to be able to board a domestic flight or visit a loved one stationed on a military base without any snags in their plans, and taking the time now to make sure you have a form of REAL ID to ensure you can get to where you need to go,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “With many acceptable forms of REAL ID available, like a REAL ID driver’s license, military ID or passport, Kentuckians have several options to travel.”

State-issued REAL ID driving and identity credentials must be requested in person at any Driver Licensing Regional Office operated by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC). One million Kentuckians have already opted for a REAL ID license or ID cardState REAL ID credentials are not the only forms of approved ID that federal authorities will accept. A valid passport or passport card, military ID or Department of Defense ID are other common forms of acceptable ID. The full list of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved credentials can be found here. A Kentucky REAL ID is not valid for international travel.

Kentucky offers two versions of all driving and ID cards: a standard or REAL ID. A Kentucky REAL ID displays a black cutout star. A standard version displays the Kentucky Unbridled Spirit logo or the words “NOT FOR REAL ID PURPOSES.” To find more information on the differences, click here.

“We don’t want anyone to get grounded by having the wrong ID and miss that important flight to a wedding or access onto a base to watch your child’s football game,” Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said. “Applying for a REAL ID at one of our regional offices requires documentation so now is the perfect time to start gathering those before visiting an office. REAL ID driver’s licenses can be requested whether or not you are due to renew.”  

Kentuckians can renew a driver’s license up to six months before the printed expiration date. Cardholders who are not within their renewal window but want a REAL ID may upgrade their standard card for $15. The new card will keep the same expiration date.

A standard-issue license can still be used after the enforcement date for driving and as proof of identity, age, and residence for purposes of voting and age-restricted purchases, such as buying alcohol. It will also still be good for accessing federal facilities such as Social Security offices and Veterans Administration hospitals.

A four-year REAL ID-compliant driver’s license is $24 and $48 for an eight-year credential. A standard, non-compliant four-year license is $21.50, while an eight-year license costs $43.

Click here for a listing of regional offices or to make an appointment. Take our IDocument Guide Quiz or view or list of valid documents to arrive prepared and avoid a repeat trip.

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