MCCRACKEN COUNTY — Big changes are coming to what you need to travel, and Kentucky may not be prepared. The state is almost a year behind after announcing its roll out date for the new Real ID travel IDs.
Court clerks in Kentucky, who handle things like driver's licenses, still don't have a firm start date from the state for when you can get a Real ID.
The IDs are voluntary. They will allow you to travel domestically and have access to certain military bases starting late next year.
Zoe Moore and her dad, Murray Moore, went to the McCracken County Clerk's Office Wednesday to renew and change their driver licences. Zoe has big plans to take her family to travel to the Bahamas. "I'd like to take like a cruise down there and stay at like one of the resorts," she said.
Her father has never been on a plane, so they'll have to start in the United States first. They're thinking about the new voluntary IDs they'll need to travel domestically in about a year.
"If it's up to me and my mom we will have him get one," she said.
Signs and pamphlets are plastered everywhere promoting the IDs at the McCracken County office. The circuit clerk says they get a few dozen people asking about them every day. McCracken County does not have the IDs. Across the state, only two counties are taking part in a pilot program for the Real IDs.
The Marshall County office put up a sign explaining that they do not have a start date for the new ID yet, because so many people have been asking about them.
Luke Melcher visited the McCracken office Wednesday to renew his current ID. He travels by plane a few times a year with his family, and said he would like to get the new voluntary ID as soon as possible.
"I don't see no sense of waiting until you're getting ready to go out of town when you have to have it," Melcher said. "You know it's better to do things before you need it."
Once the IDs are available, McCracken County is expecting lines through the door.
McCracken County Circuit Clerk Kim Channell said in a statement: "We plan to have deputy clerks in the hallway making sure customers have the correct paperwork in order to receive the Real ID."
You can still travel with your current ID until October 2020. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said it still doesn't have a date set to tell circuit clerks. They've had multiple extensions granted by the Department of Homeland Security.
The transportation cabinet statement said, "By making system improvements now, Kentuckians will benefit from a quicker, more seamless experience when the roll out reaches their county."
Woodford County is one of the pilot Real ID counties. I called their circuit clerk, who said they have good days and bad with the system. The clerk did not have an exact count of how many Real IDs they've issued, but it's doubled the number of people it typically serves — from 25 people a day to 50.
You can use your current Kentucky ID for travel until October 2020.