Driver licensing shifting from circuit clerks to Transportation Cabinet for Franklin, Woodford

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) Secretary Jim Gray announced nearly all driver licensing services for residents of Franklin and Woodford counties will be transferred from the circuit court clerks in the Judicial Branch to the KYTC as of Monday, March 22.

It is the next step in a phased, county-by-county transition of the process by which Kentuckians obtain operator licenses, learner permits and state identification cards. Services historically performed by the Office of Circuit Court Clerk in every Kentucky county will shift to a network of KYTC driver licensing regional offices across the Commonwealth.

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“Over the years our circuit court clerks have done great work to get Kentuckians properly licensed,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is ushering in a new model to obtain a Kentucky driving or state identification card through a network of offices exclusively dedicated to licensing services.”

Franklin and Woodford county residents may renew or apply for a REAL ID or new standard card version of driver licenses, permits, commercial driver licenses (CDLs) and ID cards at any Transportation Cabinet Driver Licensing Regional Office. The Office of Circuit Court Clerk in these two counties will no longer serve as in-person application sites for driving credentials. Applicants are encouraged to make an appointment online at drive.ky.gov. Walk-in customers are also welcome.

One exception temporarily remains: Until June 30, 2021, circuit clerks in every county but Fayette will continue to process remotely submitted applications for renewal or replacement of standard-issue credentials, provided the card expires by that date and the applicant has not had a change of address or change of name and does not require testing performed by the Kentucky State Police. Remote renewal was a temporary, emergency measure directed by Gov. Beshear to safeguard public health by limiting person-to-person contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, KYTC has driver licensing regional offices around the state. They are located in Paducah, Madisonville, Bowling Green, Owensboro, Louisville/Hurstbourne, Elizabethtown, Frankfort, Lexington, Burlington, Richmond, Columbia, Somerset, Jackson, Morehead and Prestonsburg. There also are smaller, temporary field offices at Louisville/Bowman Field and Catlettsburg.

Kentucky State Police will continue to oversee all permit and license testing. Franklin County and Woodford County residents may make an appointment online for written or road testing by visiting kentuckystatepolice.org/driver-testing. KSP will honor all existing scheduled appointments at the dates, times, and locations offered when scheduled initially.

Franklin County Residents: Testing takes place at the Frankfort Driver Licensing Regional Office 200 Mero Street. Written and road tests continue to be offered by appointment on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Woodford County Residents: Starting March 23, testing will take place at the Lexington Driver Licensing Regional Office at 141 Leestown Center Way.  Appointments for the new testing location will be released on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. Road tests will continue to be offered on Tuesdays only and written tests are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Transition of licensing services was officially launched with passage of House Bill 453 during the 2020 Kentucky General Assembly. Last July, the Fayette County Office of Circuit Court Clerk became the first to hand off in-person and mail-in driver license issuance, renewal and replacement to a new KYTC regional office in Lexington.

“Customer service is our highest priority and circuit court clerks will continue to help the Transportation Cabinet make this transition go as smoothly as possible,” said Douglas Ray Hall, Floyd County circuit court clerk and president of the Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Clerks. “It has been our pleasure to provide driver’s license services to Kentuckians for many years, and we appreciate Secretary Gray and his staff for their hard work in moving to this new model.”

Next Level Licensing

Through a phased transition ending June 30, 2022, all Kentuckians will eventually visit Driver Licensing Regional Offices in targeted zones across the state to apply for or renew an operator  license, permit or ID card instead of visiting the Office of Circuit Court Clerk in their county of residence. The gradual shift is more than a change in locations. It represents a new licensing model that provides Kentuckians with modern services that offer more choices in how they want to be served.

“It’s a new era for licensing as more and more counties will be making the same transition in the months ahead,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said. “When the transition is completed, license issuance will be entirely within the Transportation Cabinet. With a single agency at the helm of processing credential requests, we’ll be able to offer consistent, innovative advancements that take licensing to the next level in Kentucky.”

Transportation Cabinet management of all licensing will offer the following advancements:

– Online appointment scheduling. Walk-in customers are still welcome.

– Coming soon: online license renewal for REAL ID or standard version cardholders who have not had a change in name or address.

– A choice between a REAL ID or new standard card version. Both feature security upgrades and are available in either a four-year or eight-year card lifespan, potentially doubling the renewal time period. Commercial driver’s licenses are only available as eight-year credentials.

– Residents can visit ANY regional office, regardless of where they live in Kentucky.

– Periodic “Popup Driver Licensing” visits to counties without a regional office to offer on-site application and renewal services.

– Applicants will receive a temporary identification document at the end of the transaction until the permanent card arrives at their home address. This reduces the wait time for a card to be printed and boosts security in the card issuance process by eliminating in-office card production machinery.

REAL ID

While Kentucky will continue offering the option of a standard driver’s license, a REAL ID or other form of federally approved identification, such as a passport or military ID, will be needed as of Oct. 1, 2021, for passing through airport security checkpoints to board a U.S. commercial flight, visiting a military base or accessing a federal building or facility that requires identification. More information is available at realidky.com. Obtaining a REAL ID for the first time requires applicants to apply in-person at a Driver Licensing Regional office and present specific, required documentation. A list of acceptable documentation and a link to take an interactive quiz that populates a personalized list of documents is available here.