FRANKFORT, Ky. (KKT) – The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced on Friday that they have issued 50,000 REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards.
Officials say applicants are increasingly choosing the more secure credential ahead of an October 2021, federal deadline. REAL IDs will be needed for personal identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel, military bases and other federal facilities, such as the White House.
“Kentucky will continue to issue standard driver’s licenses and IDs,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “At no time will anyone be required to switch to a REAL ID license in order to drive. But the REAL ID is the state of the art in secure personal identification.”
Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray noted the 50,000 mark likely would have been reached sooner if not for the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our offices have been operating at reduced capacity because of the social distancing necessary for protecting the health of our customers and staff,” Gray said. “Fifty thousand is a milestone, but we believe that number will grow exponentially as Kentuckians learn of the advantages of REAL ID, and access increases.”
Transportation officials say Kentucky has about 3.6 million operator licenses and state ID cards in effect at any given time; and that about a third of that total, about 1.2 million, will eventually be REAL IDs.
REAL ID cards can only be obtained at regional driver licensing offices, which are currently open in eight Kentucky cities: Paducah, Madisonville, Elizabethtown, Frankfort, Lexington, Somerset, Morehead and Prestonsburg.
Two more regional offices are scheduled to open this month in Columbia and Jackson, while there are also temporary offices, offering limited services strictly by appointment only, in Owensboro, Bowling Green, Louisville, Florence and Catlettsburg.
The cabinet expects to eventually have a network of 20 or more offices around Kentucky.
All offices adhere to the Governor’s Healthy at Work guidelines, which include the wearing of masks and maintaining at least 6 feet of space between individuals. In addition, workstations and touch pads are sanitized before every customer’s use.
In addition to REAL ID cards, other federally approved documents, such as a valid passport or passport card, can be used for domestic air travel and to enter military bases.