How can I obtain a Permit and a License in Kentucky?

All drivers in the Commonwealth of Kentucky must be licensed in order to operate a motor vehicle. Special rules apply to drivers under the age of 18. Drivers under the age of 18 must first pass the Graduate Licensing Program (GLP). The GLP consists of three phases.

The Permit Phase

In this phase, the driver must meet the following requirements:

  • Be over the age of 16 to apply with parent/guardian signature;
  • Complete a 180-day instruction period after receiving the permit;
  • Drive with a licensed driver over the age of 21;
  • May not drive between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m. absent good cause;
  • Complete 60 hours of practice driving (10 of which are at night);
  • Complete documentation forms in the back of the Kentucky Driver’s Manual;
  • Drive with no more than one unrelated person under age 20;
  • Must not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or while suspended;
  • Must not accumulate 7 points if under 18, or 12 points if over 18; and
  • Have no serious moving violations (180-day waiting period resets if violation occurs.)

The Intermediate Phase

Once the driver completes the permit phase, the intermediate phase begins:

  • The Driver must pass driving skills test after 180-day permit period;
  • Kentucky State Police License Examiner will place the intermediate sticker on the permit once the skills test is passed;
  • May not drive between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m. absent good cause (if under 18);
  • Drive with no more than one unrelated person under age 20;
  • Must not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or while suspended (7 points or more);
  • Have no serious moving violations (180-day waiting period resets if violation occurs);
  • Must complete a four-hour safety class before getting a full license (High School Driver’s Ed Course may suffice for this requirement);

If all of the above criteria are met, a Kentucky Driver’s License will be issued to the driver.

Note that Kentucky has an under-21 DUI statute in place. Please read the relevant section for more information.

For more information on the GLP, call the Graduated Licensing Office at (502) 564-1257, or (859) 622-2446.

The Licensing Phase

In order to apply for a Kentucky Driver’s License, the driver must be 16, and must not have had their driving privilege withdrawn in this or any other state. You can begin the process in the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office in your county of residence. Please bring the following items when you apply:

  • Social Security Card;
  • Birth Certificate;
  • If under 18, signature/Social Security Number of parent/legal guardian must be on application;
  • Completed No Pass/No Drive Form (found on page 3 of the Kentucky Driver’s Manual); and
  • Proof of Kentucky residency.

After the application is completed, the test will be administered by the Kentucky State Police License Examiner. If you fail the written test, you may return the next day that tests are given in your county. Applicants may take the written test a total of six times. If you fail the written test six times, you must wait six months before trying again.

You will then complete the road test. Note that a road test is not required for a moped license. After passing the required tests, you will return to the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office where you will be issued an instruction permit. This permit is valid for three years and may be renewed. If the permit is not renewed within one year of the expiration date of the previous permit, the written and vision tests must be repeated.

Here is a link to an Driver’s Permit Practice Test and Another Driver’s Permit Practice Test, as well as a Third Permit Practice Test.

You can also practice for your Motorcycle Permit’s Test and CDL Permit Test.

You may apply for the road skills test 180 days from the issue date of the first permit, if you are under the age of 21. Permit holders ages 16 and 17, must meet the Graduated Driver License Program requirements before a road test will be administered. If you are age 21 or over, you must hold your permit 30 days before being eligible to take the road test. Please check with the local Examiner or Circuit Court Clerk for the testing availability in your county.

If you fail the road test, you are required by law to wait seven days before another test can be administered. If you fail the road test six times, you must wait six months before another test will be given. You will then have only two attempts to pass the test.

Once you have passed the road skills test, the Examiner will record the results and send you back to the Circuit Clerk’s Office for your license to be issued. Drivers under age 18 will receive intermediate status after successful completion of the road test.

Click here to take a FREE practice test!


If you need help with the licensing process, or if your license has been revoked because of a DUI or some other reason, please give the GUI Guy a call. He can help. (502) 931-6788.


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Forman & Associates
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Louisville, KY 40203

(T) (844) 4-DUI-GUY
(O) (502) 931-6788
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Email: larry@larryformanlaw.com