A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Second Driver Licensing office in Kenton County to open in Independence; renewals also available online

Kenton County will make the transition this week to a new, secure regional driver licensing model giving Kentuckians more choices and modern services.

The two Kenton County Office of Circuit Court Clerk locations will become Driver Licensing Regional Offices operated by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The Circuit Court Clerk will cease licensing services starting today, May 19, and a new Driver Licensing Regional office in Independence will open to the public Monday, May 23. A regional office opened in Covington in April.

“A driver’s licenses or state ID is one of the most valuable items in a wallet, and the expansion of regional offices gives Kentuckians more secure card options to drive, verify identity and eventually to fly,” Gov. Beshear said. “With new versions valid for up to eight years, Kentuckians can go twice as long before they are due to renew.”

The traditional issuance system of licenses and permits initiated at the Office of Circuit Court Clerk in each county is being phased out. It is being replaced by a network of KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Offices located across the state. The Independence Office will be the 26th office to open, with plans to open five more offices statewide this summer.

The Independence and Covington regional offices are temporary spaces with plans to move to permanent locations within the city in the future.

Residents from any Kentucky county – regardless of where they live – may visit any regional office to request, replace or renew a driving credential. While Kentucky State Police (KSP) will continue to oversee driver testing, some testing sites are housed inside Driver Licensing Regional Offices. Applicants requiring written or skills testing must schedule an appointment online at assigned locations by visiting DRIVER TESTING – kentuckystatepolice.org.

More than 160,000 Kentuckians have skipped a trip to a regional office entirely by renewing online or through the mail. More information on the services offered through each renewal method is available here.

Kentuckians can visit drive.ky.gov to schedule an appointment online. Walk-in customers are offered on a first-come, first-served basis at most locations and guests are encouraged to visit this page to check the status of walk-in services before visiting an office. Periodic Popup Driver Licensing visits will be made to counties without a Driver Licensing Regional Office.

First-time REAL ID applicants must visit a KYTC regional office in person, with proof of identity, residence and social security. For a personalized list of required documents to bring when applying, visit drive.ky.gov/Real ID.

For years, circuit court clerks provided driver’s licenses and state identification card services in each county, but a majority of clerks asked KYTC to take over issuing REAL IDs. Legislation was passed in 2020 that transitioned REAL ID services, along with other driver license and state ID services, to KYTC.

The migration of services will be completed by June 30 and 106 counties have transferred services to date. In addition, a “popup” licensing office continues to operate in Mayfield, providing licensing services for the community ravaged by a tornado in December.

Next level licensing

The statewide shift is more than a change in locations. It represents a new licensing model that provides Kentuckians with modern services and choices to take care of their licensing needs. Some features include:

• Online appointment scheduling to better plan your day.
• Cards offered in REAL ID or standard card version.
• Optional online renewal.
• Optional license renewal, replacement or address update by mail.
• Service at any regional office, regardless of where an applicant lives.
• Option of an eight-year license, not just four-year.

Licensing is the office’s only business. The focus is on providing an excellent, uniform experience across the network of offices. New card versions and production locations offer state-of-the-art security to better protect your information.

There is no more waiting for your card to be printed after taking your photo. You’ll get a temporary document at the end of your transaction and the permanent card will be sent to you in the mail. This change improves security in the card issuance process


Kentucky will continue offering the option of a standard driver’s license, but a REAL ID or other form of federally approved identification, such as a passport or Department of Defense-issued military ID, eventually will be needed by people 18 and older for boarding commercial flights and accessing military bases and federal buildings that currently require identification. Enforcement is scheduled to begin May 3, 2023.


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