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Dept. of Homeland Security grants REAL ID extension for air travel

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security granted the commonwealth a REAL ID extension to allow Kentuckians to use their current state driver’s license to board domestic flights and visit military bases.

A Kentucky driver’s license, permit or identification card in the current and upcoming standard version will continue to be accepted by federal agencies through Aug. 1, 2019. Kentucky expects to maintain further extensions until REAL ID enforcement begins Oct. 1, 2020.

“Our reoccurring check-ins with DHS gave every indication our extension request would be granted due to the significant progress the state is making to introduce new credentials in 2019,” said Department of Vehicle Regulation Commissioner Matt Henderson. “This extension will allow travelers to book flights for the upcoming holiday season and into 2019. Now is a great time to check your expiration date to ensure your license is valid before traveling and to know when it is time for renewal.

At the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, the REAL ID Act of 2005 set new requirements nationwide for identification that federal agencies, such as the Transportation Security Administration, may accept for domestic air travel and entrance to certain federal facilities, including military bases. In August, KYTC launched the Confident Kentucky Initiative to oversee a phased rollout of new credentials statewide.  Beginning in early 2019, Kentuckians renewing existing driver’s licenses, permits or personal IDs, or those applying for the first time, may request a card in one of two versions: a new standard credential or a Voluntary Travel ID credential.

Standard driver’s licenses and permits will remain acceptable to drive, vote, access federal and social benefit services (such as VA hospitals, Social Security offices, and federal courthouses) and for general identification purposes (such as signing a lease or purchasing age-restricted goods).  A Voluntary Travel ID credential offers the benefits of a standard credential and is compliant with the requirement of the REAL ID Act, meaning that the credential will be accepted to board U.S. flights and access restricted federal facilities. The new credentials will be among the most secure in the nation due to card enhancements and improvements to the issuance and production process.

Applicants requesting a new Voluntary Travel ID or those applying for a license, permit or personal ID for the first time must present documentation verifying identity, social security number and residency. Kentuckians are urged to prepare now by gathering documentation and making any necessary updates, such as a name change. A full list of required documentation, as well as more about the Confident Kentucky initiative, is available at drive.ky.gov/confidentky.