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How to Apply for a New Driver's License in Kentucky

New drivers licenses in Kentucky are available to residents who meet the set requirements including passing the vision, written and road exams. Applicants for a license to drive must also show they are qualified by providing documents that prove their identity, Social Security Number and KY residency.

Did you know? 7 out of 10 drivers will fail the first time they take the written drivers test. Prepare yourself for success by utilizing a recognized study aid. Our driving practice test has been proven to increase a user's chances of passing the Kentucky written test on the first try.

How to Apply for a Kentucky Driver's License:

  • Be at least 16 years of age.
  • Visit a KY circuit court clerk office location.
  • Provide proof of identification documents.
  • Provide a completed School Compliance Verification form and have a parent sign application form if applicant is younger than 18 years of age.
  • Pass the vision and written tests at a Kentucky State Police driver testing branch.
  • Return to a circuit court clerk office location to obtain an instruction permit.
  • Schedule a driver's license road skills test after the allotted time has passed.
  • Pay the required fee to obtain your Kentucky license to drive.

For more information on drivers license services in Kentucky, continue reading below.

Types of Drivers Licenses in Kentucky

The Kentucky driver licensing department issues licenses for commercial motor vehicle operators and motorcyclists, in addition to noncommercial drivers. The following classes of driving licenses are available to applicants:

  • Class D operator's driving license - Issued to drivers of passenger vehicles including cars, utility vehicles and most panel trucks that weigh less than 26,000 pounds.
  • Class A, B and C commercial drivers license (CDL) - Issued to drivers who operate commercial vehicles.
  • Class M motorcycle license - Issued to drivers who operate motorcycles.
  • Class E moped license - Issued to drivers who operate mopeds.

First-Time Driver (Under 18) in Kentucky

Kentucky drivers license applicants between 16 and 18 years of age are subject to the requirements of the Graduated Driver Licensing Program (GDL). Teen beginner drivers must complete the three-phase process to gradually obtain full driving license privileges. New drivers license requirements include passing the written and driving exams and submitting various documents.

For more information, visit our Learner's Permit page.

Kentucky New Drivers (Over 18)

New drivers license applicants must first obtain an instruction permit for driving, regardless of age. Drivers permit holders younger than 21 years of age become eligible for a driving license after 180 days. Applicants 21 years of age and older can apply for drivers license privileges after 30 days of holding an instruction permit.

KY Driver's Study Guide and Driver's Practice Test

To obtain a KY DMV learners permit, beginner drivers will need to pass the written driving test. Our Kentucky driving permit practice test will get you off to a successful start, as it features questions and answers that closely mirror what appears on the actual KY Transportation Cabinet exam.

How to Apply for Drivers Licenses in KY

To get drivers licenses in Kentucky, potential motorists must first visit their local circuit court clerk's office. Once here, they must present the following documentation:

  • Proof of legal name and date of birth.
  • Proof of Social Security Number.
  • Proof of Kentucky residency.
  • School Compliance Verification form from their school district, if the applicant is younger than 18 years of age.

KY Drivers License Eligibility Requirements

Applicants for a Kentucky driving license must be at least 16 years of age. State drivers license applicants must also provide the required documents, proving that they meet the age, legal presence and residency qualifications. Residents applying for drivers licenses must have a valid instruction permit and be able to pass a vision test and a road skills test.

KY Written/Driving Test

The written knowledge test is the first step to obtaining a license to drive in Kentucky. This DMV license exam features questions on state traffic laws, signs and road regulations. By partaking in our practice permit test, you can get an accurate preview of what will appear on the official KY written exam.

KY Driving Test

After holding a learning permit for the specified amount of time, a drivers license applicant can then schedule a road test at a Kentucky State Police testing location. Applicants will be tested on common driving functions, such as:

  • Stopping, backing up and turning.
  • Stopping and starting on a hill.
  • Approaching an intersection.
  • Parallel parking.

Before the driving test commences, the examiner will inspect the applicant's vehicle and view his or her proof of auto insurance.

New Kentucky Resident

Drivers new to Kentucky will need to apply for a DMV drivers license within 30 days of establishing residency within the state. To apply, residents will need to present their current drivers license, Social Security card and proof of in-state residency at a circuit court clerk's office.

New residents bringing their vehicle from out of state will need to have their car inspected before it is eligible for a title transfer and state registration documents. Kentucky VIN inspections are conducted by the local sheriff's office.

Replace Driver's License in Kentucky

To get a duplicate drivers license, applicants must apply at a court clerk office in their county of residence. To find out which documents you will need to replace lost drivers licenses, click here.

Locate a DMV in Kentucky

Visit our Kentucky DMV locations page to discover driver license service stations near you. You will be able to easily gather contact details, such as telephone numbers and street addresses, on KY DMV offices including county clerk locations.

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