Governor Andy Beshear announced on April 28 that Kentucky and other states have been advised by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that full enforcement of the REAL ID Act is being extended by 19 months.
According to a press release, the extension gives license issuance agencies time to recover operating capacity that was restricted to abide by health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new enforcement date is May 3, 2023. Before the announced extension, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and its counterparts in other states were preparing for enforcement to begin Oct. 1, 2021 — just under five months from now.
As of the new enforcement date, every air traveler 18 years of age and older is required a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel.
KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said Kentucky’s issuance of REAL ID licenses and IDs will continue, as will the transition of all driver licensing services — standard-issue licenses and permits as well as REAL ID-compliant credentials — to KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Offices and away from the Office of Circuit Court Clerk in each county.
Simpson Circuit Court Clerk Beth Fiss said the REAL ID was created after 9/11 (The Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S.) by Homeland Security.
“It was an effort to make all state issued credentials more secure,” Fiss said. “The new REAL IDs that will be required are not laminated like our current driver’s license are. But instead, they are engraved and they contain a holograph that is difficult to duplicate as a false ID.”
Though the requirement to have a REAL ID has been extended, Fiss said Simpson County residents can now get a REAL ID at any regional KYTC office.
The closest regional office to Simpson County is the Warren County Regional Office in Bowling Green. The office is in the HitCents building next to Bowling Green Ballpark. The office currently services both walk-ins and appointments.
Fiss said currently Simpson County residents can still get a Kentucky Driver’s License, which remains valid for four years and costs $20, at the Simpson Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.
However, she said once issuing driver’s licenses is removed from the circuit clerk’s office, Simpson County residents are required to get a REAL ID, which will also serve as a driver’s license and remains valid for eight years at the cost of $40, from the Bowling Green regional office.
“So basically soon, everybody will have a REAL ID because its going to serve as your driver’s license,” Fiss said.
Fiss said she does not expect the change to the Bowling Green office for issuing driver’s licenses for Simpson County to happen until this fall.
She said by law KYTC must have issuing of driver’s licenses removed from all county clerk’s offices by June 2022. “Either way it’s going to be by June of next year,” she also said.
Circuit court clerks are receiving about one month to six-week advance notice of when issuing of driver’s licenses are be removed from their offices.
Fiss said no driver’s licenses will be issued in Simpson County for any reason once the move to the Bowling Green regional office is made.
She said no written or road driver’s tests will be given in Simpson County once driver’s licenses are no longer issued in Simpson County. Driver’s testing will also be conducted in Warren County but for now, is still being conducted in Simpson County.
Fiss said having KYTC offices issue REAL ID/driver’s licenses and conduct driver’s testing will “streamline the process.”
She said equipment to issue a driver’s license does not work for issuing a REAL ID and it is more cost effective to have the transportation cabinet do both.
“It might be good for them, but I don’t think its going to be so good for the citizens of Simpson County, or any other county for that matter, because you are either going to have to make an appointment or you are going to have wait in line, and you are going to have to travel to another county,” Fiss said. “Fortunately for us we have Warren County that does have the regional office. Some parts of the state aren’t so fortunate and must drive two and three counties away to reach the closest regional office.”
She said once KYTC begins issuing drivers license/REAL ID a birth certificate and Social Security Card will be required every time a driver’s license/REAL ID is renewed, even if the person is already in the system.
Fiss said anyone with a name change must also provide a document proving their name change, such as a marriage certificate, for women who changed their last name when they were married.
Individuals who need a copy of their birth certificate should contact the office of vital statistics in the state they were born to obtain a copy.
Fiss said the Simpson Circuit Clerk’s Office in the Simpson County Justice Center went back to its previous hours of operation of 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. weekdays.
She said the public is still not allowed in the circuit clerk’s office. Individuals who are in need of renewing their driver’s license during May can go to the Justice Center door, fill out the form, then put the payment and form in the drop box. A new license will then be sent by mail.
Fiss added that she is not sure how the licenses will be issued through her office beginning in June, until the transition to the regional KYTC office in Bowling Green.
Individuals seeking more information should call the circuit clerk’s office at 270-586-4241.
Those who need to schedule a driver’s test appointment should go on line to KentuckyStatePolice.org and choose written test or road test. Appointments are not being made by the circuit clerk’s office. The phone number for the Warren County Regional Office for driver’s license is 270-746-7493.
More information about REAL ID is available on line at drive.ky.gov.