Kentucky Says Its Residents Need a REAL ID Driver's License by May 7, 2025, to Fly on Planes or Enter Federal Buildings

Mark Hake

The Kentucky REAL ID website now says that when REAL ID enforcement goes into effect on May 7, 2025, Kentucky driver’s licenses, permits, or identification cards without a black star cannot be used at airport security checkpoints for U.S. commercial air travel.

They also cannot be used to visit federal facilities that require ID (like the White House or military bases).

Here is what the Kentucky REAL ID driver's license looks like:
Kentucky REAL ID driver's license.Photo byDrive.Ky.Gov

This shows a black star (actually a white star in a black circle) near the upper right-hand corner of the REAL ID KY license.

The REAL ID Act of 2005 begins on May 7, 2025. Then Kentucky's current standard license will no longer be accepted to board U.S. flights.

They will also not be accepted to allow one to enter restricted federal facilities, like military bases, nuclear power plants, or the White House. (Note this does not include post offices).

How to Get a REAL ID License

Kentuckians who want a REAL ID may apply for one at any Driver Licensing Regional Office location. To get the REAL ID license they will need to bring original documents that prove:

1. Proof of Identity - such as a birth certificate, valid passport or passport card, etc.

2. Proof of a Social Security Number (SSN) - SSN card or a paystub with the SSN on it

3. Proof of Residency - 2 documents, such as a utility statement, bank statement, lease, etc.

In addition, if the KY resident has had a name change from marriage, divorce, adoption, etc., bring the documents that prove the name change.

Why the Extension?

The Biden Administration extended the deadline to get a REAL ID from May 3, 2023, to May 7, 2025, on Dec. 5, 2022. They said the reason was due to Covid-19 and to give states more time to get their residents signed up.

But others have speculated that the Biden Administration may have had other policy-related reasons. For example, the U.S. now essentially allows anyone to enter the U.S., and while they are waiting to have their asylum request decided, they can get permission to work and fly on planes.

I discussed this in a recent article on the Texas REAL ID documents. It shows that anyone can enter the U.S. and immediately seek asylum, whether they have a real claim on this or not. One of the documents they can get is an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) - all while waiting for their asylum hearing, etc. That EAD document, once received, will allow them to board planes and get past TSA.

The point is that after the REAL ID extension to May 7, 2025, goes into effect, it is not clear if those EAD documents will still be accepted by the TSA to board planes. That could potentially be one reason why the DHS extended the deadline - to allow asylum seekers the ability to continue to fly around the U.S.

The bottom line is that Kentucky residents have until May 7, 2025, to get a REAL driver's license, in order to board planes in the U.S. or enter secure federal facilities.


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Mark R. Hake, CFA, writes articles on national and local news, stocks, and market events at,,, and as well as TalkMarkets.

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Mark Hake is a financial analyst, investor, and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He writes about US and foreign stocks as well as cryptos, hedge funds, and private equity. He previously ran his own hedge fund, investment research firm, and acted as CFO for a fintech startup. He focuses on finding value, arbitrage, and hidden asset opportunities.

Phoenix, AZ

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