ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — The coronavirus pandemic came at a weird time for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

What You Need To Know

  • Pandemic pauses some drivers license, REAL ID services

  • Some offices offer in-person services, but the wait may be long

  • The wait for Lexington and Frankfort's offices are already at one month

  • Computer issues have also caused delays

“We are on the front end of a two year transition,” KYTC spokesman Chuck Wolfe said.

The state is shifting responsibility from county circuit clerks to the KYTC to issue driver’s licenses or the new REAL IDs, which you will need for airports and some other federal buildings starting October 2021. The enforcement deadline was pushed back again due to the coronavirus.

The pandemic paused that process, but some offices have been able to help people in-person. 

In Frankfort and Lexington, though, you’ll have to wait a least a month. 

“The appointments really filled up,” Wolfe said.

A few regional offices opened this week, including one in Elizabethtown, but computer issues have caused some long waits.

Wolfe said the system to check driving records was down Wednesday and Thursday, a problem affecting the entire country -- not just Kentucky.

Gov. Andy Beshear issued a 90-day extension to some expiring license holders in March, but that only applies to licenses expiring through July 6. He says he hasn’t thought much about updating the order lately but it might be needed.

“We also need to make it easier to renew your driver’s license,” Beshear said. “I know that we’ve had a mail option and we can consider extending that deadline like we have before.”

He said the state is also trying to expand testing for those who need it to get a license. 

“There’s a lot of 16- and 17-year-olds out there that are really angry because they want a little bit of freedom that they have to use responsibly when they do it, wear a mask when they do it, and not go see more than ten people.”

More regional offices to get a REAL ID will open next week. If you only want to get a new driver’s license that isn’t a REAL ID, you can still go to your county circuit clerk’s office or the DMV. You can also mail in a renewal application until September 30. Wolfe said to check with your local county circuit clerk for the best way to do that, and the application can be found here.

The list of KYTC regional offices and how to sign up for an appointment to get a REAL ID can be found here.