Will your driver’s license fly?: Six months until enforcement of federal REAL ID Act begins

Published 12:07 pm Friday, April 2, 2021

Do you have a license that will fly?

In six months – Oct. 1, 2021 – federal enforcement of the REAL ID Act is scheduled to begin, and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) encourages Kentuckians to be aware of changes that will bring.

One of the most important changes will occur at airports, where an ordinary driver’s license or identification card for persons 18 and older will no longer be accepted for boarding a U.S. commercial flight. Nor will it be accepted for entry to restricted federal installations, such as military bases, nuclear plants and the White House.

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“After such a difficult year fighting COVID-19 and being separated from our loved ones, I know many Kentuckians will be excited to travel or visit service members when it is safe,” said Gov. Beshear. “I want all Kentuckians to know about REAL ID requirements so a long-awaited trip doesn’t get delayed or canceled just because someone had the wrong form of ID.”

“It’s an important change, and we want to help our fellow Kentuckians avoid an unsettling surprise in October,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said. “Upgrading to a REAL ID license or ID card is a secure, convenient way to ensure continued full access.”

Once REAL ID enforcement begins, a standard-issue license will still be good for driving, and as proof of identity, age and residence for purposes of voting and making age-restricted purchases, such as buying alcohol. It also will still be good for accessing such federal facilities as Social Security offices and Veterans Administration hospitals.

It’s important to know the difference. A Kentucky REAL ID bears a black cutout star; a standard driver’s license features the Kentucky Unbridled Spirit logo. Find more information here.

REAL ID credentials are not the only forms of federally approved ID that authorities will accept beginning Oct. 1. Others include a valid, unexpired passport or passport card, military ID or Department of Defense ID. Get the full list here. Note that a REAL ID is not a substitute for a passport or passport card for international travel.

In Kentucky, REAL ID licenses and IDs are issued at KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Offices in select counties. Click here for a listing of offices and an appointment scheduler. In addition, documentation requirements are strict. Guard against having to make a return trip by ensuring you arrive with the proper documents. Use the IDocument Guide here or access the website at www.realidky.com.

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