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  • Drivers Permits in Kentucky

    Kentucky Driver’s Permits

    In Kentucky, the Transportation Cabinet’s Division of Driver Licensing (DDL) requires all teenagers to complete the graduated driver licensing (GDL) program in order to obtain a driver’s license.

    The first step of the GDL program is to obtain your learner’s permit. While you have your permit, you can begin supervised driving practice, but you must follow certain restrictions.

    This page includes information on how to apply for your learner’s permit, what restrictions you must observe, and how to move on to your full KY driver’s license.

    New to Kentucky?

    If you’ve recently moved to Kentucky, you have 30 days to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license or learner's permit.

    You must visit your local Kentucky DDL office and:

    • Submit a School Compliance Verification Form (from your school), if you’re under 18 years old.
    • Submit a completed Driver License – ID Card Application (Form TC 94-30).
    • Prove your:
      • Kentucky residency.
      • Social Security number.
      • Full name.
      • Date of birth.
    • Surrender your out-of-state driver’s permit/license.
    • Pass the written and eye tests, if your out-of-state driver’s permit is not valid.
    • Present a current driving record, if your out-of-state driver’s permit has been expired for 1 year or longer.
    • Pay the fee (contact the KY DMV for more information).

    NOTE: You must be at least 16 years old to obtain a driving permit in Kentucky. Any restrictions from your previous state will be transferred, and you will have to complete a driver’s education course if you have not done so previously.

    Kentucky Learner’s Permit Requirements

    To get your driver's permit in the state of Kentucky, you must be at least 16 years old, and you’ll need to provide the following to a Circuit Clerk’s office near you:

    • A completed Driver License – ID Card Application (Form TC 94-30).
    • Proof of your:
      • Kentucky residency (e.g. mobile phone bill).
      • Social Security number (e.g. Social Security card).
      • Full name and date of birth (e.g. birth certificate).

    If you’re under 18 years old:

    • Your parent must give consent by signing your application form.
    • You must also submit a School Compliance Verification form issued by your school.

    Driver’s Education in Kentucky

    If you’re younger than 18 years old, you must complete a driver’s education program once you obtain your learner’s permit. This program can be one of the following:

    • Graduated License Course lasting 4 hours. (This is a free course provided by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet in your county.)
    • High school Driver’s Ed course or a similar course provided by a KY community college, job corps or vocational school.
    • Private driver training course provided by an approved driver’s training school.

    For more information, please refer to our Driver’s Ed in Kentucky page.

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    Taking the Written Permit Test

    To obtain your Kentucky learner’s permit, you will need to pass a written exam. You will be tested on your knowledge about traffic laws, road signs, and safe driving techniques.

    The questions on the exam are based on information taken from the Kentucky Driver Manual. In order to pass the test, you’ll need to answer at least 80% of the questions correctly.

    If you do not pass the permit test, you may retake it the next available testing day. You are allowed to take the written test a total of 6 times without penalty. If you fail all 6 times, you must wait 6 months before attempting the test again.

    Kentucky Learner's Permit Driving Restrictions

    While you have your learner’s permit, you must adhere to the following driving restrictions:

    • No driving between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. unless it’s for an emergency, or school or work-related issue, if you’re younger than 18 years old.
    • You must not have more than 1 person, who is unrelated, under 20 years old as a passenger, if you’re under 18 years old.
    • You can ONLY drive while accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old. They must be seated next to you.
    • All occupants in the vehicle you’re operating must wear seat belts at all times.

    Behind-the-Wheel Requirements in Kentucky

    Before you can move on to your intermediate driver’s license, you must practice supervised driving with a licensed adult who is at least 21 years old.

    If you’re under 18 years old, you must complete a minimum of 60 hours of practice driving, with 10 hours at night. You’ll need to keep track of these hours using a Practice Driving Log.

    Next Step: Getting Your Intermediate Driver's License

    You are ready to apply for your intermediate Kentucky driver’s license once you:

    • Have held your learner’s permit for at least 180 days.
    • Have completed your behind-the-wheel driving requirements (see above).
    • Have successfully completed a Driver’s Ed course.

    You must not have committed any serious moving violations or have had your Kentucky learner’s permit suspended.

    For more information please refer to our Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) page.