real ID

As the Oct. 1 deadline looms for REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses, a Madisonville location is available for those interested in acquiring the identification that isn’t mandatory but will be required for certain situations.

When REAL ID enforcement goes into effect, Kentucky driver’s licenses without a black star cannot be used at airport security checkpoints for U.S. commercial air travel or to visit military bases and federal facilities that require ID.

Although there will be travel and access restrictions on the enforcement date, REAL ID cards are optional and citizens do not have to obtain one before the deadline. Other federally approved documents, like a valid passport or passport card, are accepted for U.S. air travel and military base entry.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is opening Driver Licensing Regional Offices to make the new card versions available. To save time and avoid repeat trips when applying for a REAL ID, citizens are urged to prepare now.

REAL IDs can be obtained at regional Kentucky Transportation Cabinet offices across the state. In Madisonville, the office is located at 56 Federal Street and operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. REAL IDs can be bought for a four-year or an eight-year version, and the offices are performing in person services.

“We strongly encourage people to make an appointment online on the website,” Naitore Djigbenou, the Director of the Office of Public Affairs for the KYTC, said. “We have 15 permanent locations now across the state.”

Appointments can be scheduled at

IDs can still be obtained after the federal enforcement date, according to Djigbenou.

Djigbenou said applicants have to present documentation in person, and that the website,, has an interactive quiz called the iDocument guide that walks applicants through a series of questions to help determine what documents they need to bring.

“In general, applicants will need to bring one form of identity, one proof of social security number and two proofs of their mailing address,” she said. “They have to choose from a list of acceptable documents.”

One detail that will require additional documentation are name changes.

“While you need to bring in those four documents, some people may need to bring in additional documents if their names don’t match,” Djigbenou said. “This is a common issue for women if you bring your birth certificate as your form of identity and then, for example, you got married, and your social security card and your two proofs of mail have your new married name. You need to bring another piece of documentation — what we call a bridging document — to explain that name change, that would be a marriage license in that instance.

Some people may have been adopted, changed their name or changed genders, you would need to bring a legal document to explain the name changes,” she said.

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