Driver's License Examination
All examinations are conducted by the State Police and are held in the county in which the applicant resides.
The examination includes a vision test (requires 20/40 visual acuity), a test of the applicant’s knowledge of traffic signs, signals, and traffic laws, and a roadside demonstration test.
Non-residents need not take the examinations provided they hold a valid license from a state that affords a reciprocal exemption to a Kentucky resident.
Graduated Driver's Licensing
Kentucky has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.
At age 16, individuals are eligible for a learner’s permit.
- During this stage, individuals may not drive unless supervised by a person 21 years of age or older, or a driving instructor on a driver training range.
- Learner’s permit holders may not drive between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. and may only have 1 unrelated passenger under 20 years of age.
At age 16 and 6 months, drivers who have held a permit for at least 6 months, accumulated 60 hours (10 at night) of parental/guardian certified driving are eligible to apply for an intermediate license.
- Intermediate license holders may not drive between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. unless they can demonstrate “good cause” for driving such as emergencies or participation in school or work-related activities.
- Permit and intermediate license holders must complete a mandatory 4 hour graduated license safety class.
- During the intermediate state, drivers are permitted only 1 unrelated passenger under 20 years of age (secondarily enforced).
At age 17, after holding an intermediate license for 6 months, drivers are eligible for an unrestricted license.
Under state law, 16-and 17-year olds who are identified for academic deficiency, have 9 or more unexcused absences from school, or who have dropped out will not be eligible to receive a learner’s permit or intermediate license. Drivers who already hold a permit or intermediate license can have it revoked for the same reasons.
Driver education is required for all license applicants under age 18.
Driver's License Issuance/Application
All licenses are issued by the Transportation Cabinet.
Only persons with legal CIS status are issued Kentucky licenses or I.D.’s.
Application for original or renewal licenses are made at the office of the circuit clerk in the county wherein the applicant resides.
The application must contain the person’s full name, signature, date of birth, social security number, sex, address, voter application information, and a brief physical description. All licenses bear a color photograph of the applicant.
An application for a driver’s license, motorcycle license, or instruction permit by a person under the age of 18 must be accompanied by the signature of the applicant’s parent or legal guardian.
Non-residents that are at least 16 years old and are licensed in another state may operate a vehicle in Kentucky without obtaining a Kentucky learner’s permit or operator’s license as long as his or her home state accords similar privileges to licensed residents of Kentucky. If the non-resident’s home state does not afford such privileges to licensed residents of Kentucky, the non-resident may operate a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or moped for not more than 30 days in any 1 year without obtaining a Kentucky license.
Whenever a licensee’s address or name is changed from that which appears on a license, the licensee must apply for a corrected license within 10 days of the change.
License normally includes a color photograph.
Social security number not displayed on license.
Non-citizens who are non-residents of Kentucky may drive for 1 year on the license issued by their home country.
Licenses of non-citizens are linked to the expiration dates of the person’s visa.
Driver's License Renewal
An application for renewal must be made every 4 years within 30 days after the birth date of the applicant.
An applicant under the age of 21 will be issued a license that is valid until the applicant attains the age of 21 and the applicant must apply for a renewal within 30 days of his or her 21st birthday.
Military personnel on active duty out of the state and their dependents may renew their driver’s licenses by mail.
Types of Driver's Licenses
Licenses are categorized by class and are distinguished as being commercial or non-commercial.
Class A: Any combination of vehicles with a GVW rating of 26,001 lbs. or more.
Class B: Any single vehicle with a GVW rating of 26,001 lbs. or more and any vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 lbs.
Class C: Any single vehicle with a GVW rating of less than 26,001 lbs. transporting hazardous materials.
Class D: All vehicles not listed in any other class including passenger cars.
Class E: Mopeds only.
Class M: Motorcycles and mopeds.