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Guide to the Kentucky DMV

kentucky dmv guide

If you’re planning to move to Kentucky or purchase a vehicle in the state, you may be wondering how to register your car and update your license.

New Registration

After arriving in Kentucky, you will register your vehicle at the county clerk’s office within 15 days. To register, submit the following documents at the county clerk’s office:

  • A certified vehicle inspection by a sheriff from your new county of residence
  • A completed Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title/Registration (Form TC 96-182).
  • The original title and registration from your prior state
  • Proof of Kentucky auto insurance
  • Driver’s license / Photo ID
  • Proof of payment for all taxes from your prior state
  • Payment of all Kentucky registration fees and taxes

Kentucky has fixed fees for registration of your car, but you should contact your county clerk to deduce the exact registration fees. The following fees may apply: $21 yearly car registration fee, $22 title lien statement fee, notary fee (varied), $5 vehicle inspection fee, 6% usage tax of the cost of the vehicle.

Vehicle Inspections

Kentucky does not require smog or emissions testing for any vehicles.

Registration Renewal

You will get a renewal notice at least 45 days prior to the end of your vehicle’s registration. To renew it, simply go to your county’s office  your license plate number and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) handy, and payment. You may also renew by mail or online, using the Motor Vehicle Licensing System. It costs $21 to renew a standard non-commercial vehicle.


When you buy a car from a dealer, the dealer will generally submit the titling and vehicle registration paperwork for you. They will also collect your registration fees. Your title fee will be $9, $25 for a speed title to get your title the next day, and a $17 transfer fee if you are transferring an out of state title.

Driver’s License

You will be able to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license once you arrive in Kentucky; the state gives you a window of thirty days from when you move to do so. You will have to surrender your out-of-state license. To obtain your license, you will need:

  • A  completed State of Kentucky  Driver License – ID Card Application (Form TC 94-30).
  • Proof of your Kentucky residential address (utility bill, rental agreement, property tax bill, etc.)
  • Your birth certificate
  • Your Social Security card
  • Proof of name change, where applicable
  • Your driving record or clearance record from your prior state
  • Money for the required fees (contact the Kentucky Division of Driver Licensing for specifics)

You will need to pass written and vision tests if your driver’s license has expired, or if you are a first-time driver.

Auto Insurance Requirements

Kentucky requires that all drivers must obtain liability insurance to operate a vehicle. If you’re new to the state, you need to purchase this insurance within 15 days of establishing residency. You must meet the following minimum coverage limits:

  • $25,000 per person
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury per accident
  • $10,000 per accident for property damage