FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Andy Beshear announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the REAL ID Act enforcement date by two years, offering Kentuckians, and residents of other states, more time to request a compliant driving or identity credential that maintains air travel access and military base entry.
The new enforcement date of May 7, 2025, replaces the previous date of May 3, 2023.
“We’ve made great strides in the past two years to increase REAL ID access for Kentuckians who prefer to use a driver’s license or ID card to maintain travel and access benefits,” Gov. Beshear said. “Kentuckians who have a REAL ID can rest easy they’ll be prepared when the time comes. The grace period is welcome news, especially for those still recovering from back-to-back natural disasters, who have more time to gather and replace needed documents if they choose to apply for a REAL ID.”
“DHS continues to work closely with U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories to meet REAL ID requirements,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said. “This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card. DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible. We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely.”
The REAL ID Act is a federal law that sets standards for all U.S. states and territories regarding the issuance of state-issued credentials. Once the enforcement date takes effect, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, or a federally-compliant form of identification, to pass through airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel, enter military bases, or enter federal buildings that require identification. Currently, 17% of Kentuckians with state-issued driving and identification credentials have a REAL ID version (displays a star icon in the top right corner of the card). In Kentucky, residents have the option to choose between a standard or REAL ID compliant version of their driver’s license, permit or identification card.
“All Driver Licensing Regional Offices are equipped to serve any Kentuckian who’d like to apply for a REAL ID version of their driving credential or ID card,” Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Gray said. “Most REAL ID cardholders can skip a trip when they’re due to renew by doing it online or by mail.”
While the KYTC now offers convenient online and mail-in renewal options, first-time REAL ID applicants must apply in person by presenting required documents. A list of acceptable documents, as well as the IDocument Guide personalized document quiz, is available at realidky.com.
“I encourage Kentuckians to make a REAL ID plan now by gathering the necessary application documents,” Gray said. “If you plan to use another federally-accepted document, like a passport, to travel within the US, be sure to check the expiration date to ensure it will still be valid come May 7, 2025.”
A valid passport is still needed for international travel after REAL ID enforcement. More information about REAL ID can be found at realidky.com.
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