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Kentucky Transportation Cabinet unveils new license design

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has unveiled the design of the 2019 driver’s licenses, permits and personal IDs and claims a new issuance system and updated identity credentials, known as Confident Kentucky, offer increased counterfeit protection.

The new, modern look also gives a nod to the state’s iconic images.

“We’re taking a holistic approach to enhance the security of the state’s most trusted identity credentials,” said Department of Vehicle Regulation Commissioner Matt Henderson. “By moving production to a secure facility, improving the identity verification process and upgrading card features, our entire system is more secure against fraudulent use and the reproduction of credentials.

Through a phased rollout beginning in early 2019, Kentuckians renewing existing driver’s licenses, permits or personal IDs, or those applying for the first time, may request their card in one of two versions: a new standard credential or a Voluntary Travel ID credential. All credentials will be produced at a single, secure location and offer the same security improvements.

According to the cabinet, the new licenses and IDs will better safeguard credentials, while the revamped look will make cards harder to reproduce and produce a more durable card for their doubled eight-year lifespan.

A noticeable change of the new credentials is the shift from color to grayscale portraits, with images laser engraved and clearly displaying precise facial features that allow law enforcement officials and retailers to view the photos without the distortion and distraction of color. Laser engraving images on the new, higher quality card material is virtually tamper-proof compared to photo printing on traditional cards.

The new background includes artistic renditions of Kentucky symbols, like the state seal and goldenrod state flower, using intricate repetitive patterns in colors that are difficult to counterfeit.

Voluntary Travel ID credentials will display a clear star with a black seal indicating it is REAL ID compliant for domestic air travel and entry into restricted federal facilities. New standard credentials will display the text “Not For REAL ID Purposes” – a Department of Homeland Security requirement since standard credentials will not be accepted to board a domestic flight or access restricted federal facilities, including military bases, once nationwide enforcement begins Oct. 1, 2020.

Revamping the state’s credential issuance system

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. KYTC is spearheading the Confident Kentucky initiative that introduces a new state-maintained, federally accepted Voluntary Travel ID credential that also doubles as a license, permit or personal ID.

As long as Kentucky is under an extension from the Department of Homeland Security, a standard driver’s license, permit or personal ID card can be used to board U.S. commercial flights until REAL ID enforcement begins Oct. 1, 2020. Kentucky is one of 22 states and U.S. territories currently under extension, and expects to maintain that status until enforcement begins in 2020. At that point, travelers will need a new Voluntary Travel ID, or another acceptable form of identification, to pass through airport security checkpoints for flights within the country. Minors do not need a Voluntary Travel ID if they are accompanied by an adult with acceptable documentation. A passport is still required for international travel and is an acceptable form of identification for domestic travel.

All of Kentucky’s new credentials will be received in the mail five to 10 business days after residents apply at their local Circuit Court Clerk office. During the first four years of the issuance system, non-CDL applicants and those 21 and older may request a four-year or eight-year credential. An eight-year standard driver’s license will be $43, and an eight-year Voluntary Travel ID license will be $48. Four-year licenses are half the cost. Non-U.S. citizens (excluding permanent residents) seeking a new standard credential can visit any Division of Driver Licensing Regional Field Office, pay a $30 application fee to cover federal verification charges and processing and receive an approval letter to request the credential at their local Circuit Court Clerk office.

Applicants will receive a 30-day temporary document until the requested card arrives in the mail, and an altered version of their existing card will be returned to them. The temporary credential alone can be used for driving and voting purposes.

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