Drivers Permits in Kentucky
If you're ready to apply for your Kentucky instruction permit, congratulations! It's the first step toward obtaining your license, you know. Read on for details on how to apply and how to handle additional instruction permit-related situations.
Basically, the only requirements for obtaining your Kentucky instruction permit are that you must be at least 16 years old years old and you must pass both the written and vision tests. (The KY Division of Driver Licensing, or DDL, provides a sample vision test online.)
You must also present your birth certificate, Social Security card, and a parent or legal guardian if you're under the age of 18. KY instruction permits cost $12.
This is all handled at your local Circuit Court Clerk's office.
Although you don't have to practice for a driving exam, you should practice, i.e., study, for your written test. Take advantage of available resources. The KY State Police provide an online version of the Kentucky Drivers Manual, and we here at DMV.org offer various practice tests you can take at your convenience.
If you fail the written test, you can retake it the next testing day. You can retake the test up to six times, but if you fail the written test each time you must wait six months before trying again.
However, if you pass...
Permits for Applicants Under 21
Those folks who are under the age of 21 and hold a Kentucky instruction permit must keep it for 180 days before they can apply for their driver's license. You'll also be allowed to drive only when accompanied by an adult 21 years of age or older; the adult must be sitting in the front passenger seat at all times.
Those who are under 18 must participate in the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. This means a few more restrictions:
- Allowed driving hours are 6 a.m. to midnight only, unless you're able to show proof of emergency or other activities related to school or work.
- You must practice driving for 60 hours, 10 of which should be at night. You'll need to log your hours and have them certified by your parent or guardian.
- You're not allowed to drive with more than one passenger under the age of 20, unless they are direct family members.
Permits for Applicants Over 21
Residents who are over the age of 21 and hold a Kentucky instruction permit only have to keep it for 30 days before applying for their driver's license. Participation in the GDL program isn't required.
Visit our Applying for a New License section for full licensing details.
If you lose your KY instruction permit, you'll need to head back down to your local Circuit Court Clerk's office for a replacement. You may be charged a $12 duplicate fee.
Instruction permits in Kentucky are valid for one year; however, if you let your permit expire before obtaining a regular license, you'll be required to take both the vision and the written tests again.
Other Topics in This Section
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- Drivers Training Requirements: Do You Have to Enroll in Drivers Training?
- How to Choose a Drivers Training Program
- Who’s Required to Take Drivers Training
- Transferring a Learner Permit to a New State
- Teen Driver Safety: Seat Belt Use
- Graduating From a Drivers Permit to a Restricted Drivers License
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