NewsCovering Kentucky


Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Unveils New License Design

Posted at 10:45 AM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 18:43:52-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) – We now know what the new driver’s licenses will look like!

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet unveiled the design of the 2019 driver’s licenses, permits and personal IDs today and walked through the evolution of credentials at a press event at the Louisville International Airport. Kentucky’s new issuance system and updated identity credentials, known as Confident Kentucky, offer increased counterfeit protection and showcase a new, modern look that gives a nod to the state’s iconic images.

“We’re taking a holistic approach to enhance the security of the state’s most trusted identity credentials,” said Department of Vehicle Regulation Commissioner Matt Henderson. “By moving production to a secure facility, improving the identity verification process and upgrading card features, our entire system is more secure against fraudulent use and the reproduction of credentials.

Through a phased rollout beginning in early 2019, Kentuckians renewing existing driver’s licenses, permits or personal IDs, or those applying for the first time, may request their card in one of two versions: a new standard credential or a Voluntary Travel ID credential. All credentials will be produced at a single, secure location and offer the same security improvements.

“The Confident Kentucky initiative is all about enhancing security and offering Kentuckians choices so they can choose the credential that works best for them,” said Henderson.

The new licenses and IDs represent a leap forward in safeguarding credentials. The revamped look supports improvements that make cards harder to reproduce, and citizens will enjoy a more durable card that will withstand wear and tear for the doubled eight-year lifespan of credentials.

A noticeable change of the new credentials is the shift from color to grayscale portraits. Photos images are laser engraved on the card and clearly display precise facial features that allow law enforcement officials and retailers to view the photos without the distortion and distraction of color. Laser engraving images on the new, higher quality card material is virtually tamper-proof compared to photo printing on traditional cards.

The new background includes artistic renditions of Kentucky symbols, like the state seal and goldenrod state flower, using intricate repetitive patterns in colors that are difficult to counterfeit. The image of the Capitol has a 3D appearance and the duplicate photograph over the gold look-through window turns clear when backlit. Duplicate photos and information can be found on both sides of the card.

Voluntary Travel ID credentials will display a clear star with a black seal indicating it is REAL ID compliant for domestic air travel and entry into restricted federal facilities. New standard credentials will display the text “Not For REAL ID Purposes” – a Department of Homeland Security requirement since standard credentials will not be accepted to board a domestic flight or access restricted federal facilities, including military bases, once nationwide enforcement begins Oct. 1, 2020.

Credentials will remain oriented horizontally for cardholders 21 and older and vertically for those under 21.

Revamping the state’s credential issuance system

At the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, the REAL ID Act of 2005 set new requirements nationwide for identification that federal agencies, such as the Transportation Security Administration, may accept for domestic air travel and entrance to certain federal facilities, including military bases. KYTC is spearheading the Confident Kentucky initiative that introduces a new state-maintained, federally accepted Voluntary Travel ID credential that also doubles as a license, permit or personal ID.

As long as Kentucky is under an extension from the Department of Homeland Security, a standard driver’s license, permit or personal ID card can be used to board U.S. commercial flights until REAL ID enforcement begins Oct. 1, 2020. Kentucky is one of 22 states and U.S. territories currently under extension, and expects to maintain that status until enforcement begins in 2020. At that point, travelers will need a new Voluntary Travel ID, or another acceptable form of identification, to pass through airport security checkpoints for flights within the country. Minors do not need a Voluntary Travel ID if they are accompanied by an adult with acceptable documentation. A passport is still required for international travel and is an acceptable form of identification for domestic travel.

All of Kentucky’s new credentials will be received in the mail 5-10 business days after residents apply at their local Circuit Court Clerk office. New pricing will be in place to account for the doubled renewal cycle and improved security. During the first four years of the issuance system, non-CDL applicants and those 21 and older may request a four-year or eight-year credential. An eight-year standard driver’s license will be $43, and an eight-year Voluntary Travel ID license will be $48. Four-year licenses are half the cost. Non-U.S. citizens (excluding permanent residents) seeking a new standard credential will visit any Division of Driver Licensing Regional Field Office, pay a $30 application fee to cover federal verification charges and processing and receive an approval letter to request the credential at their local Circuit Court Clerk office.

Applicants will receive a 30-day temporary document until the requested card arrives in the mail, and an altered version of their existing card will be returned to them. The temporary credential alone can be used for driving and voting purposes and is accepted to enter Fort Campbell and Fort Knox. When used in conjunction with the altered credential, it will be accepted to board domestic flights.

Driver’s licenses, permits and personal ID cards issued prior to implementation of the new credentials will remain valid until their expiration date and do not need to be replaced unless the applicant desires a Voluntary Travel ID, it is time to renew their current credential or there is a change to their personal information (e.g. a change in name or address).

Those renewing a current license, permit or personal ID for the new standard version will present their current license to their Circuit Court Clerk and do not need to submit documentation if no personal information has changed. All first-time applicants or those requesting a new Voluntary Travel ID credential will need to present documentation verifying identity (e.g. a certified birth certificate, passport or Permanent Resident Card), social security number (e.g. a social security card or W2 form) and proof of residency (e.g. a utility bill or lease; two proofs required for a Voluntary Travel ID). Kentuckians are urged to prepare now by gathering and updating documentation to reflect their current name. A full list of required documentation, as well as more about the Confident Kentucky initiative, is available at