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Driver licensing services moving out of clerk’s office

SALYERSVILLE – Later this month the driver licensing services will be moving out of the local circuit clerk’s office and to a regional office, operated by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, meaning Magoffin Countians will have to drive to Prestonsburg for the nearest location offering licensing services.

The decision for the move has been years in the making, none of which occurred at the local level. As far as changes to the license itself, the REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005, enacting the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government set minimum security standards for issuing licenses. IDs meeting the minimum standards will be required to enter federal facilities or nuclear power plants, as well as to board a federally-regulated commercial aircraft under this act. Kentucky has received several extensions, but as it stands, currently, Kentuckians will be required to have a REAL-ID-compliant identification to board domestic flights starting May 3, 2023.

Since that date was set for last October, circuit clerks had already started getting training on REAL-IDs, with even the Magoffin County Circuit Court Clerk Tonya Ward trained on the necessary changes to driver licensing services.

While it looked like the clerk’s office would be keeping these services and prepared for the upcoming changes, last year House Bill 453 passed, transferring responsibilities to the Transportation Cabinet, which had been supported by larger counties, who needed the help with the added responsibilities, but the local office was not as happy about the change.

Ward told the Independent, “It’s just awful. Drivers’ licensing is my favorite part of this office. You get to be a part of this positive moment in people’s lives. Since the change will not be completed statewide until 2022, I begged them to let me keep the services here, at least until closer to the final date, but July 26 is our last day.”

In response to comments opposing the change, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet posted on Facebook the HB 453-mandated transfer “shifts the state from a decentralized issuance model to a centralized model that offers more uniformity and opportunities for modernization in offices solely focused on licensing.”

KYTC also posted, “Driver Licensing Regional Offices provide Kentuckians with more service options. The transfer of licensing services from Circuit Court Clerks to the Transportation Cabinet allows the process to be modernized by offering online appointment scheduling, online driver licensing renewal, and the option between a REAL ID or standard card version. For counties that don’t have a regional office, pop-up driver licensing will be offered periodically throughout the year for citizens to request a credential within their home county. Additionally, we’ve doubled the lifespan of cards so Kentuckians can now choose a card valid for four or eight years- reducing the number of visits needed to a regional office. More office locations will continue to open. You can learn more about this transition here:…/Pages/Regional-Offices.aspx.”

Ward’s office in the justice center is committed to helping Magoffin Countians with the transition, offering much-needed information (seen on page A2), as well as helping people apply for the online services or make appointments on the public access computer at their office. Additionally, the county has been promised one portable unit, which she said she has already talked to the county judge-executive’s office and plans to have the unit in the circuit clerk’s office, as well.

“We’re still here to help you,” Ward explained.

After July 26, renewing drivers’ licenses will have to be taken care of at a regional office, but people can renew at any of the regional offices in the state. The nearest is located in Prestonsburg, with other offices in Hazard, Jackson, Morehead, and Frankfort, just to name a few.

Appointments can be made for these offices by visiting, but walk-ins are also accepted.

Kentucky State Police, which already took over the driving tests, will continue to be over the driving and written portion of drivers licensing services, with appointments available at multiple times and days of the week by going to

Though people can renew at any regional office, Magoffin Countians are required to do their testing through the Prestonsburg office.

If you need to renew your license and don’t need to change anything, you can renew by mail, as well as online at, with Ward telling the Independent her office will continue to help people with those processes if they do not have internet or need help.

Ward also said they can renew licenses 180 days out, so anyone whose license is set to expire this year can go ahead and renew by July 26 to avoid the new process a little longer.

With the updates to the licensing services, the regional offices will offer regular 4-year licenses for $21.50 and 8-year licenses for $43, and with those you will not have to take anything with you to the office.

For the Real-ID, they will offer 4-year licenses for $24 and $48 for the 8-year licenses, though you will need to take quite a few documents with you, including your unlaminated social security card, unlaminated official birth certificate, two proofs of physical address and one proof of PO Box. If your name is different than your birth certificate, you will also have to take a certified copy of your marriage license or name change order.

“I’m so very sad to be losing these services,” Ward said. “I am heart broken. I love doing drivers’ licenses.”

Ward also noted that she had checked with the regional office regarding the routes of the driving test, and was told there are three different routes, though she wasn’t given the locations of the routes.

For more information, people can call the Magoffin County Circuit Clerk’s Office at 606-349-2215 or 606-349-4050. The Prestonsburg KYTC Regional Office is available at 606-263-6137 and KSP at 502-782-2014.

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