How to Get Your Kentucky Driver’s License: Step-by-Step

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Getting your Kentucky driver’s license is the last part of the state’s graduated licensing program. The program is overseen and managed by the Kentucky Division of Driver Licensing (DDL). The GDL’s purpose is to give first-time drivers knowledge and experience before unrestricted driving privileges.  The program begins with the learner’s permit and phases in full driving privileges over time for teens.

To get your driver’s license, you must meet certain age and residency requirements, complete a written exam about Kentucky traffic laws and pass on-road tests of your basic driving skills. You must also demonstrate full knowledge of Kentucky’s rules of the road.

You will visit a KY DMV with each application type.

The GDL program begins at age 16, beginning with a learner’s permit. The program’s following stage is receiving an intermediate (provisional) license. Finally, an unrestricted license becomes available.

The guide below shares how you can apply for a driver’s license in Kentucky.

Applying for a Kentucky Driver’s License

Requirements for getting your unrestricted license include:

  • Completed a driver’s education course
  • Be at least 17 years old
  • Have your provisional license through the GDL program

Otherwise, those over 21 can get and hold a learner’s permit for 30 days before jumping ahead into the licensing steps.

When ready, complete the following:

  1. Find and visit a DDL office
  2. File for the license
    1. Graduated licensing letter, school compliance form, and driver’s ed certificate
    2. Or: Driver License ID Card Application (TC 94-30)
  3. Provide proof of identification and residency
    1. Plus: Birth certificate and social security card
  4. Pass your applicable tests:
    1. Vision
    2. Driving
    3. Knowledge
  5. Pay the licensing fee

Your driving test, using your insured vehicle, takes place at a KY circuit clerk or third-party testing site if applicable. The knowledge test, for applicable drivers, is a recap of road signs and rules. Complete these and the following steps and you’ll have an unrestricted license!

Out-of-State Drivers

Licensed drivers coming from out-of-state will apply within 30-days of residency.

The state expects you to surrender your old license and show proof of your driving record.

You will then:

  1. Submit proof of ID and residency
    1. Plus: Birth certificate and social security card
  2. Submit a Driver License ID Card Application
  3. Pass a written test and vision exam
  4. Provide your driving record
  5. Pay the licensing fees

Those from out-of-state under 18 will need to get a provisional license (see above).

Congratulations! You Earned a Kentucky Driver’s License!

Following the graduated program or appropriate sections will have earned you a permit, provisional, or unrestricted license. Continue practicing safe driving and enjoy your time on the roads.

Complete a vehicle registration when ready to get your own set of wheels!