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No NKY offices can help with Real ID switch as October deadline approaches

Florence Real ID office set to open in summer
Posted at 4:59 PM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 17:21:07-05

With just seven months before the Oct. 1 deadline to switch to Real IDs, the closest place for Northern Kentuckians to get them is the state capital.

Those without a Real ID after the deadline could be stopped on domestic flights, even if they have a ticket.

Cold Spring resident Justine O’Brien, who has been trying since the end of last year to get a Real ID, says she’s "extremely frustrated" after getting no information at motor vehicle departments in Newport and Alexandria.

“Blank stares. They couldn’t give me any information,” O’Brien said.

That’s because the closest office offering Real IDs is an hour and a half drive from O’Brien's home.

“That’s a long drive. I’d either have to take my husband with me, or I’d have to pay a couple of hundred dollars to find a caregiver to come in and sit with him while I take care of my ID,” she said.

To bring the Real IDs closer to Northern Kentuckians, transportation officials are looking to open an office in Florence early this summer. No location for that office has been determined yet.

“There’s going to be an uptick in foot traffic, so folks should anticipate longer lines when they come in to get a Real ID,” said Naitore Djigbenou, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s executive director of public affairs.

But Kentucky isn't the only state having issues making the Real ID switch, as just 27% of Americans have the required new ID, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Until the office in Florence opens, Northern Kentuckians can still use their passport or passport cards for flights in the U.S.

“There are a lot of people who have passports or passport cards, so they can continue to use that as a means to fly domestically, so they don’t have to rush to get one of these Real IDs once the locations are open,” Djigbenou said.

Otherwise, you can make the drive to Frankfort at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet building, located at 200 Mero St., Frankfort KY 40622.

To see other Real ID offices around the state, click here.