Driver Clearance/State ID

Are you interested in either acquiring a driver’s license or a state ID?

If the answer is yes, then you need to do KENTUCKY CLEARANCE! All non-citizens (F-1, J-1, and H1B visa holders, refugees, etc.) must apply for clearance prior to obtaining a Kentucky driver’s license or a Kentucky state identification card. The application process is handled by the Center for International Education. This step is required by the state of Kentucky so that they can verify that you have entered the country legally.


1)     Arrange for a driver to take you to Richmond or Lexington.

Times you can see the officer are:

    • Tuesdays: 9 AM-12 PM, Hall of Justice in Richmond (351 W Main, Room 316, Richmond, KY 40475). If you choose to go on a Tuesday to Richmond, then you will need to make your CIE appointment (see #2) at least 10 days before you plan to go to Richmond.
    • Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays: 8 AM-2:45 PM, Circuit Court Office in Lexington (162 E Main Street, Room 230, Lexington, KY 40507)

2)      Contact Alexandria Gaston ( to set up an appointment at the CIE. At your appointment, Alexandria will assist you with filling out your paperwork. Documents to bring to your appointment:

    • I-20 (for F-1 visa students), or DS-2019 (for J-1 exchange visitors)
    • Passport
    • Social Security card
    • Student ID card
    • Previous driver’s license or permit, if applicable, from your home country
    • I-94 card (if you have not left the country before April 2013)

3.     At your appointment you will complete a USCIS Compliance Application which can be found at: is then signed by Susan Melnichuk, DSO, and Wanda Burch, Registrar).

The other application that needs to be completed is the Non-U.S. Citizen Application at (You need to know your height in feet and inches. If not, we’ll measure you!).

4.   After this appointment we will fax your requested appointment time to the officer if you are going on a Tuesday to Richmond. One week notice is required for the officer. No appointment is needed to go to Lexington.

5. The officer will check your documents and give you the Non-US Citizen Document Verification (aka, blue form).

5. After you have received the approval from the officer, then you will need to follow the steps to obtain a State I.D. or Driver’s license. This approval form expires within 90 days, so don’t wait too long!

**Please be aware that you must provide your own transportation to the appointment with the hearing officer and must have made this arrangement prior to the CIE requesting an appointment for you.  During the fall semester we will have the officer come to campus.

Post-Clearance Information

You may apply as soon as you receive the Non-US Citizen Document Verification (aka, blue form) but have only 90 days until the blue form expires. Then you have to complete the process all over again. (See #1 above!)

Make sure to take all original documents listed above, PLUS a proof of address. Proof of address can be something that has been mailed to you and contains a postmark that is not more than 60 days old.

General Information:

Especially for Non-Citizens:

Driver’s Manual:

Practice Exam Link:

Costs: The permit costs $12 cash, the license costs $20 cash.

Richmond Location: 135 West Irvine Street, Richmond (Court Annex Building).  Phone: 859-623-1099

Berea Location: 304 Chestnut Street (Berea Municipal Building & Police Station). Phone: 859-623-1099 or 859-986-4212

IMPORTANT: The Center for International cannot provide rides to testing, driving lessons or a vehicle for practicing.