Kentucky residents must obtain valid drivers licenses in order to legally operate vehicles in the state. A variety of driving permits are available to applicants in different age groups. Eligibility standards are used to determine the most suitable license types for drivers. The process of obtaining a DMV license is established to ensure drivers are prepared to conduct safe practices on the road. Additionally, applicants are required to submit fee payments to receive valid certification.

Both eligibility requirements and application procedures for licenses vary for adult and teen residents. Drivers younger than 18 are provided with opportunities to receive education and hands-on instruction before testing for unrestricted permits. Furthermore, new residents must apply for Kentucky DMV drivers licenses to become legal drivers in the state. Discover important details about obtaining KY permits in the following sections.

How to Apply for a Drivers License in Kentucky as an Adult (18 or Older)

Specific methods to apply for Kentucky licenses are developed for residents age 18 or older. Drivers should be prepared to submit personal details and documents verifying their eligibility in order to receive licensure. Additionally, applicants must pay the necessary fees for different types of driving certifications available in the state.

Special eligibility rules for new driver licenses apply to Kentucky drivers who are 18 years of age or older. Residents who fail to meet these requirements are denied driving privileges. To qualify for a new DMV driving permit, applicants must:

  • Legally live in the United States.
  • Be Kentucky residents.
  • Provide required personal details, such as name, age and residency status when applying.
  • Meet medical requirements for new drivers.

KY residents who are ineligible to be granted permits include:

  • Anyone determined to be mentally incompetent in a court of law.
  • Teens under 16 years of age.
  • Drivers with suspended or revoked licenses that are not yet reinstated.
  • Anyone with a physical or mental impairment affecting their ability to drive safely.
  • Anyone who cannot comprehend English highway warnings or direction signs.

Documents Required to Get a New Drivers License in Kentucky (18 or Older)

To meet state eligibility requirements, certain information and official documents must be presented at the time of application. The following items are needed to verify the full legal names, birth dates, residency status and Social Security Numbers (SSN) of new drivers:

  1. Valid Social Security card or W-2 form
  2. Proof of identity, such as:
    • Official Birth Certificate
    • Passport
    • Permanent Resident Card
  3. Proof of residency, such as:
    • Recent utility bills
    • Property tax bill
    • Lease or rental agreement
    • Pay Slip
    • Mortgage documents
    • Letter stating the applicant’s name and residential address

To establish proof of residency, a physical address must be provided. P.O. Boxes are not acceptable for verification purposes. Furthermore, unofficial documents are not accepted. Examples of unacceptable verification forms include:

  • Documents submitted via a drivers license online portal or another electronic method
  • Faxed, laminated or copied documents

Non-U.S. citizens must submit different types of verification in order to receive Kentucky licenses. To meet drivers license requirements in the U.S., the following foreign documents are accepted:

  • Permanent Resident Card
  • Current foreign passport
  • Employment Authorization form

Applying for a New Drivers License in Kentucky (18 or Older)

Learning how to get a drivers license is necessary for applicants after evaluating their eligibility to receive permits in Kentucky. Residents should determine the nearest local Circuit Court Clerk’s office, where all state licenses are distributed. Drivers must then visit their county Circuit Court location and provide the necessary application and certification documents.

When this information is verified, a Police License Examiner administers a vision screening and written driving test. If both examinations are passed, an instruction permit is provided. Drivers must hold instruction permits for a designated period until they are eligible to take a road skills test. Applicants age 18 to 21 are required to wait 180 days, while those 21 and older must wait 30 days.

During the KY license road skills exam, a government official evaluates the basic driving abilities of applicants. Upon successful completion of the test, upgraded licenses are provided. Drivers age 18 to 21 are granted intermediate permits, while drivers age 21 and older earn unrestricted licenses.

Official certificates are delivered after applicants pay the necessary licensing and exam fees.

Getting a Kentucky Drivers License as a New Resident

New Kentucky residents have 30 days after moving to the state to apply for a new license.

To determine where to get a drivers license, drivers can simply locate the nearest Circuit Court Clerk office in their county. Upon visitation, the following documents must be provided:

  • Out-of-state license
  • Social Security Card
  • Proof of Kentucky residency
  • Current driving record or clearance letter from previous state of residency, if the out-of-state license is over a year expired
  • Licensing fee payment
  • Birth certificate, in certain cases

New residents with expired out-of-state licenses must pass the vision and written exams in Kentucky. However, new KY drivers with valid out-of-state licenses are not required to take any tests.

How to Apply for a Drivers License in Kentucky as a Teen (Younger Than 18)

For Kentucky residents younger than age 18, specific processes are established for becoming licensed drivers. The special state licensing program provides teens with additional instruction, supervision and practice driving time. For young adults, understanding relevant drivers license information is helpful when navigating the application process in the future.

What do you need to get your license as a teenaged resident of Kentucky? State eligibility rules for young drivers determine who is qualified to begin the application process. The following standards apply specifically to teen license applicants younger than age 18:

  • New drivers must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a permit or license.
  • All new applicants must complete the required written, vision and skills tests administered by the Kentucky State Police before obtaining a permit or license.
  • New drivers younger than age 18 must have consent from their parent or legal guardian to apply for a permit or license.
    • Parents or legal guardians must sign driving license application forms in front of a judge. To verify guardianship, a birth certificate or guardianship papers must be provided.
  • New drivers younger than age 18 must provide a School Compliance Verification form from their school district upon application.
  • Drivers age 16 and 17 must enroll in the graduated license program to receive permits.

Additionally, teen permit applicants must comply with regular residency, citizenship and age requirements in the state. The following documents must be presented when applying for certification through the graduated licensing program:

  • Social Security card
  • Birth Certificate
  • Proof of residency, such as:
    • Utility bills
    • Property tax bill
    • Lease or rental agreement
    • Letter stating the applicant’s name and residential address

Lastly, when submitting proof of residency, P.O. Boxes are not acceptable addresses. Only physical addresses will be considered.

Drivers Ed Requirements to Get a Drivers License in Kentucky

Drivers education courses are required for Kentucky residents younger than age 18. These classes provide instruction and practice to prepare teens for receiving an unrestricted permit in the future. There are various methods available for new drivers to enroll in instructional courses:

  • Free classroom courses are offered at local schools
  • Online drivers license service courses are available for a fee
  • Various high schools offer education courses to students
  • Private classes are offered at state-approved driver training schools

Steps to Get a New Drivers License in Kentucky as a Teen

Teen residents of Kentucky can apply for driving license privileges via completion of the graduated permit program. For each step of the process, applicants must obtain authorization from their parents or legal guardians. The phases of this program include:

  1. Issuance of a Learner’s Permit to a new driver after the required vision and written knowledge exams are passed. Permits must be held for 180 days. Drivers are required to complete at least 60 hours of driving practice and record the time in a Practice Driving Log. At least 10 of these hours should be accomplished at night.
  2. Issuance of an Intermediate License after successful completion of a driving skills exam at a local Circuit Clerk Office. Proof of driving practice hours completion must be presented by a parent or guardian at the time of application. Drivers may advance to an unrestricted Kentucky license when they turn 18 years old or after holding the Intermediate License for 180 days.
  3. Issuance of a Full Unrestricted License, after providing a Graduated Licensing Eligibility letter to the Circuit Clerk Office. Young drivers are given a special “Under 21” designation on their Unrestricted License.

In order to be issued each of the aforementioned certifications, applicants must pay all necessary exam and licensing fees.

Kentucky Drivers License Costs

Licensing costs vary depending on the type of permit requested. The cost of a Learner’s Permit is $15. This certification is valid for three years from the date of issuance. Additionally, a Class D drivers license costs $20 and is valid for four years from the date of issuance.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 3 2020.