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Non-U.S. citizens can get a valid Kentucky drivers license

According to ABC News, roads in the United States have plenty of unlicensed drivers operating vehicles on them. The reason may be that the penalty when convicted of doing so is often fairly benign, such as a small fine, at least for a first offense. This leniency may encourage some to not bother with the license or to drive even if they cannot secure a license legally.

However, many non-U.S. citizens believe it is important to follow the licensing laws in Kentucky while they are here, particularly if they plan on becoming U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the future. The Commonwealth of Kentucky states that residents or visitors to Kentucky who are not U.S. citizens nor legal permanent residents, who wish to drive, have opportunity to do so.

Foreign License Reciprocity

Of note, non-citizens whose home countries are part of the Foreign License Reciprocity have the benefit of being able to legally drive in the U.S. on their valid foreign license for up to a year from the date they arrived in the U.S. Those from other nations must obtain the Kentucky license within 30 days of residing in the state.

Where to apply for a license

Applicants for licenses, as well as permits and identification cards appear at a regional field office of the Division of Driver Licensing. The document presentation by the applicants will depend on their particular legal status. The state warns that a person showing fake documentation with regard to immigration status, citizenship or residency will be criminally charged as well as denied a license or suspended.

Three tests

If the applicants are applying for a drivers license for the first time, they must take certain tests, including the following:

  • Vision
  • Written
  • Road

The written test is available in a variety of languages.

Where to retrieve the approved license

Once a proper application receives approval from the field office, the person then goes to his or her county’s Circuit Court Clerk’s office who then issues the actual drivers license. Generally, the license shares an expiration date identical the expiration date of the person’s immigration documents, with some limited exceptions.

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