In order to drive in Kentucky, students and scholars must have a valid driver’s license. According to Kentucky law, all non-U.S. citizens may drive in the state on their valid foreign license and International Permit for up to one year from the date of admission into the U.S. provided their home country is part of the Foreign License Reciprocity. If you are from a non-Foreign License Reciprocity Country, you must obtain a Kentucky license within 30 days to drive in Kentucky.
State Identification (ID) Card
Students, scholars and their dependents who do not plan to drive in Kentucky may apply for the State Identification (ID) Card. A State ID Card allows you to identify yourself without showing your passport. Therefore, by having a State ID card, you will not have to carry your passport around with you all the time. The State ID card is accepted at banks, stores,and other businesses where name and age identification is required.
You do not need to pass a driving test, as you will for a driver’s license, to receive this identification card but it holds equal value.
How to Apply for a Kentucky Driver’s License, Permit, or ID Card
To apply for a Kentucky driver’s license, permit or ID card, you must follow these steps:
Step 1: Gather and Obtain the Required Documents
A non U.S. citizen must present these immigration documents as well as other supporting documents to Driver Licensing Officials:
- USCIS School Compliance – Form TC 94-159 from EKU International Office and must be dated within the last 30 days
- Passport with Homeland Security Stamp and visa (unless you are from a visa exempt country like Canada)
- Latest I-94, Arrival/Departure Record available from Get Most Recent I-94
- Social Security Card if you have one or obtain “Ineligibility Letter” from the Social Security Administration Office located at: 1060 Gibson Bay Drive, Richmond, KY 40475, Phone: 800-772-1213, Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
- Form I-20 or DS-2019
- Proof of Address (Residency): Present at least two of these documents in your name and address issued within the last 30 days:
- Utility bill (phone, gas or electric bill etc.) or
- Housing agreement (lease) or
- Bank statement or any other bill that shows your current address or
- Postmarked envelope
- Non-U.S. Citizen Application – Form TC 94-152 available from here. If you don’t obtain and fill out the form in advance you will be given one to fill out during your visit at the Licensing Office
- $30.00 Application Fee in the form of money order only
- Foreign Driver’s License (if you have one) and a notarized translation of that license (if it is not in English)
Step 2: Obtain The “Blue Letter”
Go to the Driver Licensing Regional Field Office below with ALL the above mentioned original documents.
Madison Hall of Justice
351 W. Main Street, Room 316
Richmond, KY 40475
Phone Number: 859-624-2797
Hours: Tuesdays, 8:00 am -12:00 pm
After verifying your immigration documents, you will receive a “Blue Letter” in the mail several days after your visit.
Step 3: Apply For Your Driver’s License, Permit or ID Card
After receiving the “Blue Letter” take it along with all the documents you have gathered and obtained in Step 1 above to the Circuit Court Clerk’s office located at:
Courthouse Annex Building
135 West Irvine St., Suite 101
Richmond, KY 40475
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 am -4:00 pm
If this is your first time applying for a Kentucky Driver’s license or permit, you are required to take a written and road test to obtain a permanent Kentucky Driver’s license. A vision test may also be required. No test is required to obtain an ID card. Below are the hours and process to take necessary test and obtain the required document:
For Driver’s License or Permit and ID Card
- Written Tests Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm
- Road Tests: Tuesday – Friday, 8:30 am – 11:00 am (by appointment only). Road tests must be scheduled one week in advance by calling Kentucky State Police License Examiner at: (859) 624-4715, Tuesday – Friday, 12:30 pm – 4:00 pm for appointment
For ID Card
No test is required to obtain an ID card so you should be able to get it right away.