The Harrodsburg Post Office is hosting a Walk In Passport Fair on Saturday, Mar. 7, from 9–11:30 a.m. Passports are for customers who intend to travel internationally, but they can also be used in place of a REAL ID compliant license in order to board a plane for domestic travel beginning Oct. 1.
Mercer County residents who want to apply for a REAL ID have been advised to apply in Frankfort. There is still no word on when the licenses—which will be required to board flights, enter military bases or visit some federal buildings after Oct. 1—will be available locally.
Kentucky does not currently meet federal REAL ID standards. State officials are scrambling to get the licenses to citizens by the deadline.
While the state has added another office that can issue REAL IDs in Madisonville in Hopkins County, Mercer residents who want a REAL ID will have to go to Frankfort or apply for a passport at the post office.
At Saturday’s passport fair, customers will be served on a first come, first served basis. No appointments are needed, but there is a limited capacity for acceptance.
Those who can’t make it to the passport fair can schedule an appointment via the new USPS Retail Customer Appointment Scheduler tool (RCAS) at http://www.usps.com/scheduler. The RCAS tool provides customers with an easy, convenient way to schedule appointments to apply for a passport.
Here is more information about REAL IDs courtesy of federal government and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
What is a REAL ID?
Starting Oct. 1, 2020, Kentucky driver’s licenses, permits and identification cards displaying the Kentucky Unbridled Spirit logo or the language “NOT FOR REAL ID PURPOSES” will no longer be accepted to board U.S. commercial flights or access restricted federal buildings to comply with federal REAL ID law.
Kentucky is in the process of offering REAL ID-compliant licenses, permits and identification cards accepted at airport security checkpoints, military bases and federal buildings that require ID once federal enforcement begins.
In addition to REAL ID licenses, here is a list of common forms of identification Kentuckians may use to travel and enter federal buildings:
• Valid U.S. or foreign passport
• Valid U.S. Passport Card
• Voluntary Travel ID license, permit or identification card
• Military ID (issued by U.S. Department of Defense)
• Permanent resident card
• DHS Trusted Traveler Card
• Global Entry Card
A full list of documents accepted by the Transportation Security Administration is available at https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification. Kentuckians are encouraged to contact military bases and federal buildings, like the White House, to learn what other forms of identification are accepted.
Why you may need a REAL ID
• Beginning nationwide on Oct. 1, a form of REAL ID will be needed to:
• Pass through airport security checkpoints to board a U.S. commercial flight
• Visit a military base
• Visit a federal building or facility that requires ID (White House, nuclear power plant)
Where to get a REAL ID license, permit or identification card
The office nearest Mercer County that issues REAL IDs is located at 200 Mero Street in Frankfort. Applicants will receive a temporary 30-day document that serves as a driving credential until the permanent card arrives in the mail at the applicant’s residence.
Only debit and credit cards will be accepted (no cash or check). Regional offices are not equipped to serve applicants who require testing or re-testing. The cost of a four-year REAL ID license is $24 and $48 for an eight-year REAL ID license.
What you will need to apply for a REAL ID
Residents applying for a REAL ID license must present documentation from a list of specific, acceptable documents that meet federal guidelines, including:
• one (1) valid proof of identity (like a certified birth certificate or valid passport)
• one (1) valid proof of social security number (like a social security card or W2 statement) and
• two (2) valid proofs of residency ( like a Kentucky driver’s license with your current home address or a utility bill dated less than 61 days).
Additional documentation may be required if an applicant’s name or gender doesn’t match on the four proof documents (like a marriage certificate or divorce decree if your names don’t match due to marriage or divorce). Applicants may need to reorder documents before applying if the documents do not display legal names (like a nickname printed on a social security card). A detailed list of acceptable documents and examples of when additional documentation may be required is available on the Confident Kentucky website. The online IDocument Guide quiz provides a customized list of documents an applicant will need to present. Some acceptable documents have strict requirements (e., no photocopies of birth certificates, no expired documents, no laminated social security cards).
What if you want a REAL ID but aren’t within your renewal window
The renewal window is six months before the current card’s expiration date. Apply for a REAL ID license for $15, bring in the required documentation and the expiration date of your new license will stay the same.
Once you have a REAL lD license and are within your renewal window, visit a REAL ID regional licensing office to renew your card for four or eight years. You do not need to bring in documentation again unless your name or address has changed.
Kentuckians who have never had a Kentucky driving credential or those who require any form of testing or retesting must first visit the Circuit Court Clerk Office before visiting a regional licensing office if they would like a REAL ID license, permit or identification card.
The passport fair at the Harrodsburg Post Office (105 North Main Street) happens Saturday, March 7, from 9– 11:30 a.m.
To learn more about REAL ID compliant licenses, visit drive.ky.gov/confidentky.