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Kentucky Announces Driver's License Changes To Comply With Federal Law

kentucky driver's license
State of Kentucky
An example of what the voluntary travel ID may look like. It differs by having a star surrounded by a gold cirlce in the top right corner.

Kentuckians will have a new option the next time they go to get their driver's licenses renewed. The state announced Monday how it plans to follow the federal Real ID act of 2005, which Congress passed in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. 

Naitore Djigbenou with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says beginning in January, the state will offer a standard license or a voluntary travel ID. Residents may only have one of these forms of ID.

Standard licenses can be used to drive, vote and apply for federal benefits. A voluntary travel ID can be used for those things too, but will be required for traveling by plane within the United States, or entering military bases or other federally restricted areas.

"You don't need one if you already have another federally accepted credential, for example a U.S. passport," says Djigbenou. "If you don't mind to use a U.S. passport for domestic travel, then you don't have to get a voluntary travel ID."

Djigbenou says Kentuckians will also have more say over when their licenses expire. 

"For the first four years of this system, they can pick between a four-year credential or an eight-year credential," she explains. "We're offering a four-year credential to people that only have to pay half of the cost of the eight-year credential."

The eight-year travel ID will cost $48 and the standard license will cost $43. 

A standard ID will be able to get Kentucky travelers on domestic flights until Oct. 2020. At that time, a standard ID will no longer be allowed as identification for such travel. Instead, a voluntary travel ID, U.S. passport or other form of federal identification must be used.

Designs for the new IDs are expected to be released in September.