Obtaining a travel ID version of the driver’s license is voluntary. | Courtesy of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

Residents of Jefferson County will be able to obtain REAL ID-compliant licenses, permits or identification cards in late March, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced Monday.

According to a preliminary rollout schedule, the Circuit Court Clerk offices will begin issuing the new IDs to Louisville residents sometime around March 19-22. The state will set a specific date for the rollout in Jefferson County at least two weeks prior.

“It’s important we maintain some flexibility right now as we continue to prepare for a massive statewide redesign of the license program. Our focus is to make the transition as smooth as possible,” KYTC Secretary Greg Thomas said in a news release.

The new identification is compliant with the federal REAL ID Act, which laid out requirements for how state-issued license and other IDs should look. Kentucky received a waiver, good until Aug. 1, 2019, while it worked to introduce the new compliaint design, but state officials plan to apply for further extensions until enforcement of the REAL ID Act starts.

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, at the latest, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will not accept IDs that do not meet the federal standards as a valid of identification. Travelers will be unable to board airplanes or visit U.S. military bases without a REAL ID-compliant identification.

With a rollout, a few things will change: Rather than obtaining a new driver’s license or other ID on the same day, cards will arrive in the mail anywhere from five to 10 days after a resident applies for a new ID at the local Circuit Court Clerk Office. Residents also can obtain cards that are valid for eight years, rather than four.

Residents can still opt for a standard ID, which does not comply with the REAL ID Act, but will have to use a passport or other federally accepted form of identification at airport security checkpoints, military bases or restricted federal buildings. The standard ID is $21.50 for four years, while the new identification is $24 for four years; those valid for eight years are double the cost.

In the news release, Department of Vehicle Regulation Commissioner Matt Henderson encouraged residents to wait to upgrade their identification until around the time of its expiration date.

“Those seeking a Voluntary Travel ID but whose renewal window doesn’t allow them to renew before the October 2020 deadline can visit a Circuit Court Clerk office and pay $15 to upgrade their current credential to a Voluntary Travel ID that maintains their current card’s expiration date,” Henderson said in the release.

KYTC has updated its document guide to let people know what documents they should bring in order to obtain a new identification card.

For a list of Circuit Court Clerk offices in Jefferson County and updates on th rollout, check the KYTC website.

Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]