Apply for a License (Drivers 18+) in Kentucky

SUMMARY: How to Apply for a Kentucky Driver's License

You must apply for a KY driver's license in person at a circuit clerk's office. You will need to first hold a driver's permit before you can apply for a driver's license. You will need to pass a vision test and road test, and pay the required licensing fee.

This page will give you all the information you need to obtain your first Kentucky driver's license from the Division of Driver Licensing (DDL).

NOTE: If you're younger than 18 years old, you will need to complete the graduated licensing program.

New to Kentucky?

Just Moved?

Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.

If you have a driver's license from your previous state, you have 30 days from when you become a resident to transfer it over to Kentucky. If you're younger than 18 years old, follow the instructions on our Teen License page.

NOTE: You must be at least 16 years old and a U.S. citizen (or permanent resident) to apply.

To obtain a KY driver's license, visit your local Kentucky DDL office and:

  • Submit a completed Driver License ID Card Application  (available at DDL office).
  • Submit proof of your Kentucky residential address, such as your:
    • Utility bill.
    • Rental agreement.
    • Property tax bill.
  • Surrender your out-of-state driver's license.
  • Provide your birth certificate.
    • If your current name is different than your birth certificate, you'll need to present proof of the legal name change (e.g. marriage certificate).
  • Provide your Social Security card.
  • Provide proof of your name change, if applicable.
  • Pass the written and vision tests, if your driver's license has expired.
  • Provide your driving record or clearance record from your previous state, if your driver's license has been expired for 1 year or longer.
  • Pay the required fee (contact the KY DDL for more information).

NOTE: If your driver's license is from another country, you will need to pass the vision, written, and driving tests.

To help you prepare for the written test the DDL suggests studying the Kentucky Driver Manual. If you're really serious about passing the exam on your first attempt, try an online practice test from our certified partner. They guarantee your success.

Types of Driver's Licenses in KY

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet issues various types of driver's licenses depending on the type of vehicle you will be operating.

Your driver's license will also display any restrictions you may have, such as:

  • Corrective lenses.
  • Daylight only.
  • Ignition interlock.
  • Farm related services.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a Kentucky driver's license, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Have held a driver's permit for at least:
    • 180 days, if you're younger than 21 years old.
    • 30 days, if you're 21 years old or older.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Be a resident of Kentucky.
  • Not currently be suspended from driving in any other state.

Apply for a KY Driver's License

To apply for a driver's license in Kentucky, first make sure you meet all of the eligibility requirements. Then, visit your local circuit clerk's office and:

  • Submit a completed Driver License ID Card Application (available at DDL office).
  • Provide proof of your:
  • Pass the vision exam.
  • Pass the driving test.
  • Pay the required fee (contact the Kentucky DDL for information).

Road Test

For your driving test, you will need to provide:

  • A registered vehicle.
  • Proof of your insurance.

Check with your local KY circuit clerk for driving test schedules and to make an appointment.

You will need to demonstrate your ability to driving in traffic and obey all road rules and signs. You will be asked to perform maneuvers, such as:

  • Backing.
  • Hill starts.
  • Parallel parking.
  • Proper use of lanes.

You will need a score of 80% on your test in order to pass. If you are involved in a collision or commit any type of traffic violation, you will receive an automatic fail.

If you fail your road test, you will need to wait 7 days before you can attempt it again. 

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