New to Kentucky

SUMMARY: New Kentucky Residents

If you're new to Kentucky, there are a number of things you'll need to take care of with the Transportation Cabinet once you become a resident. You'll need to register your vehicle, obtain a KY driver's license, and register to vote. Make sure to obtain car insurance for your new state. If you're a member of the military now stationed in Kentucky, you may have exemptions from certain registration and licensing requirements because of your active duty status.

State Departments in KY

In Kentucky, the Driver Licensing Division (DLD), Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing (MVL) of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), Kentucky court system, and State Board of Elections provide various necessary services for the public, including driver's licensing, vehicle registration, and voter registration.

Division of Driver Licensing

The Kentucky Driver Licensing Division is responsible for the following driver's licensing services:

  • Driver's licenses for:
    • Adult drivers.
    • Teen drivers.
  • Driver's license renewal.
  • Non-driver photo IDs.
  • Commercial driver's licenses (CDL).

Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing

The Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing provides the following motor vehicle services:

  • Vehicle registration and titling.
  • Registration renewal.
  • License plates and placards.
  • Boat registration.

Traffic Tickets

While traffic violations can lead to driver's license suspensions, it is actually the Kentucky court system that handles traffic tickets written within the state. The procedures and fines for a traffic ticket depend on the county where your ticket was written.

Just Moved?

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

Voter Registration

Although you can obtain a voter registration card at your county clerk's office, it is actually the Kentucky State Board of Elections that oversees voter registration within the state.

Car Registration in Kentucky

Once you move to Kentucky, you have 15 days to register your vehicle with the KY Transportation Cabinet. If you fail to register your car in the state during this time, you risk receiving a fine. Visit our Vehicle Registration guide for details on how to register.

Register a Special Vehicle

If you own a unique vehicle such as a recreational vehicle (RV), moped, or all-terrain vehicle (ATV), the registration process may differ. For registration requirements, check out our Special Vehicles in Kentucky page.

Car Insurance Requirements

Before you can have your car registered with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, you'll need to have appropriate insurance coverage. Changing states is a great time to assess your current car insurance policy and compare quotes to make sure you're getting the best deal for your situation.

KY Driver's Licenses & ID Cards

You have 30 days to transfer your out-of-state driver's license to the state once you've become a Kentucky resident. If your out-of-state driver's license has expired, you'll need to pass the written and road tests at the KY DMV office.

For instructions on how to obtain a Kentucky driver's license, visit our Applying for a New License page.

If you're a teenager with an out-of-state learner's permit or instructional permit, you may be eligible to transfer it to Kentucky as long as you meet the state's graduated driver's licensing (GDL) requirements. See our Applying for a New Teen License page for more information.

NOTE: If you need a KY commercial driver's license (CDL), visit our Applying for a New CDL page.

Identification Cards

If you don't plan on driving in Kentucky, but need some form of identification, you can apply for an ID card from the Kentucky DMV. ID cards can be used in place of your driver's license to prove your age, identity, and address.

See our Identification Cards in Kentucky page for more information.

Voter & Organ Donor Registration

When you become a resident of Kentucky, don't forget to update your voter registration and organ donation information.

Voter Registration

One of the things often overlooked when moving to a new state is updating your voter registration. If any upcoming elections are important to you, you'll want to make sure you're registered to vote in Kentucky, otherwise you may be turned away at the polling booth. For more information, visit our Voter Registration page.

Organ Donor Registration

Were you a registered organ donor in your previous state? If you were, and you'd like to continue to be one, you'll need to re-register as a donor with Kentucky's registry. You can also register when applying for a Kentucky driver's license.

If you aren't a registered organ donor, you can read about it more on our Organ Donation page. You can find out just how many lives you could potentially save from donating your organs and read real stories about people who have benefitted from this selfless act.

Military Stationed in Kentucky

If you're a military member from another state temporarily in KY fulfilling your military obligations, you may be exempt from many of Kentucky's licensing and registration requirements.

To find out more please visit our Military Drivers in Kentucky page.

DMV Office Locations & Resources

Once you're ready to visit the Kentucky DMV, use your handy Office Finder to locate your closest office.

Before you start driving on the state's roads, it's a good idea to read the Transportation Cabinet's driver manuals and make sure you don't disobey any road rules:

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