Kentucky Driver’s License Requirements (A Complete 2024 Guide)

Kentucky Driver’s License Requirements (A Complete Guide)

How do I get a driver’s license in Kentucky?

Does the application process take a long time?

If it’s your first time applying for a driver’s license, you’re probably excited, nervous, and anxious. 

Not to mention, you’re probably a bit confused about where or how to begin. 

We’re here to help. 

In this article, we’re going to give you a complete guide on the Kentucky driver’s license requirements. We’re going to detail all the steps, so you know exactly what to do during all the stages. 

Plus, we’ll even include an FAQ section to answer any of your questions. 

So let’s dive right in! 

How to Get a Driver’s License in Kentucky

In Kentucky, you can start your application for a driver’s license as early as 16 years old. 

If so, you will have to go through the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. This program consists of 3 stages, namely: 

  • Learner’s Permit
  • Intermediate License
  • Full Driver’s License

Just to set your expectations, you’re only allowed to apply for a full driver’s license if you’re 18 and above. So if you’re applying at 16 years old, then you might need to wait two years. 

But it’s always a good idea to prepare yourself for that. So let’s go through the steps of the GDL program. 

How to Get a Learner’s Permit in Kentucky

The learner’s permit is the first temporary license you have to get. Yes, this is required even if you’re 18 years old and applying for a full driver’s license. 

This permit allows you to drive supervised by someone who is at least 21 years old and has a valid driver’s license. 

However, you’re not allowed to drive from 12 midnight to 6 AM, even if you’re supervised. 

Now that you know what a learner’s permit is, let’s look at the steps to getting it:

  • Prepare these documents:
    • Original copy of your certified birth certificate
    • Social Security card. 
    • Proof of residence in Kentucky (can be a utility bill, mortgage documents, or letter with your current address)
    • School Compliance Verification Form (for those under 18). You can get the form from your school. 

Click here to see what counts as valid documents.  

  • Bring a parent or legal guardian to sign the application (for those under 18).
    • Parents and legal guardians should bring with them a valid ID. 
    • Legal guardians should bring a copy of their guardianship documents. 
  • Pay the $15 permit fee. 
  • Go to the Test Site on your scheduled date. 
  • Take and pass a vision test. 
  • Go back to the Driver’s Licensing Regional Office and get your learner’s permit. 

You can now practice your driving!

How to Get an Intermediate License in Kentucky

If you are still under 18 years old and have already held your learner’s permit for 180 days, you can upgrade it to an intermediate license. 

With this, you can now drive unsupervised. However, there are still restrictions, such as you’re not allowed to drive from 12 midnight to 6 AM (unless for an emergency, school, or work activities), and you cannot drive more than one passenger that is younger than 20 (unless it is part of your immediate family).

So you can get more freedom with this license. 

Now, here are the steps to getting an intermediate license in Kentucky: 

  • Complete 60 hours of driving, with 10 hours done at night. 
  • Go to the Test Site on your scheduled date. You must bring a parent or legal guardian. 
  • Present the following documents:
    • Original or certified birth cert
    • Social Security card
    • School Compliance Verification Form
    • Proof of vehicle registration and insurance 
    • Letter of eligibility 
    • Completed driving log proving you practiced driving for 60 hours, with 10 done at night. A parent or a legal guardian should sign it. 
  • Take and pass the driving skills test. 
  • Have the examiner put an “intermediate license” sticker on your permit. 

You’re almost there!

How to Get a Full Driver’s License in Kentucky

If you hold an intermediate license, you can get a full driver’s license if you have held the intermediate license for 180 days OR you turned 18 years old (whichever comes first). 

You must also complete an approved driver’s education course. 

If so, all you need to do is:

  • Submit these documents:
    • Proof of name and birth date
    • Proof of Social Security number 
    • Proof of Kentucky residency
    • Proof of driver’s education completion (some schools will be the ones to present this for you)
    • Your intermediate license
  • Pay the license fee:
    • 4-year validity: $21.50
    • 8-year validity: $43.00
  • Get your “under 21” distinctive license

You are now a fully licensed driver in Kentucky.


But wait…

What if you’re already over 18 years old and applying for your first license? 

Follow these steps:

  • Get a learner’s permit (see steps above).
  • Hold your learner’s permit for 180 days (if below 21) or 30 days (if older than 21).
  • While there, present these documents:
  • Take and pass the driving skills test. 
  • Submit these documents:
    • Proof of name and birth date
    • Proof of Social Security number 
    • Proof of Kentucky residency
    • Your learner’s permit 
  • Pay the license fee:
    • 4-year validity: $21.50
    • 8-year validity: $43.00
  • Get your full driver’s license. 

As easy as that!

Frequently Asked Questions

Got a few questions about the driver’s license application in Kentucky? Here are some FAQs that can help you. 

Can I get my license at 18 without a permit in Kentucky?

No. Even if you’re 18 (and above), you still need to get a learner’s permit before getting a full driver’s license. 

That said, if you are above 21 years old, you now only need to hold your permit for 30 days.

Can you get your permit at 15 in Kentucky? 

No. You have to be at least 16 years old to get your learner’s permit in Kentucky. 

How many questions are on the permit test in Kentucky?

There are 40 questions in the Kentucky written test. You need to get at least 80%, or 32 correct, to pass. 

What does the KY driver’s test consist of? 

The test usually takes 25-40 minutes. Here, you will show your examiner that you can work your vehicle. For example, you will have to show turn signals, working lights, etc. 

Then, you will need to go through the driving portion. 

After that, you need to also pass the driving maneuvers. These include reverse 2-point parking, observing the right of way, backing up, passing, etc. 

Is driver’s ed required in Kentucky?

Yes. If you were issued a learner’s permit before you turned 18 years old, you’re required to complete a state-approved driver’s ed course. You can choose between an online and a classroom-based course. 

If you got your learner’s permit at 18+, then you no longer need to study a driver’s ed. 

What counts as proof of residency in Kentucky?

Proof of residency can be these documents:

  • Mortgage documents
  • Rental contracts
  • Property ownership titles
  • Utility bills
  • Letter of correspondence showing your Kentucky address


So that was your complete guide to the Kentucky driver’s license requirements. 

Though the driver’s license application is long, it isn’t difficult. In fact, it’s pretty straightforward. 

And now that you know all the steps and requirements, what are you waiting for?

Apply for your learner’s permit today to get started.

Good luck!

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