New pre-screening times for EDL applicants

July 17, 2009

(Updated July 20 at 10:36am, PST)

DOL is adapting to surges in demand for Enhanced Driver Licenses, and demand remains high after the June 1 WHTI deadline.  So far, nearly 80-thousand Washingtonians are enjoying the convenience EDL offers to land and sea border travelers.

To help get more customers served, the busiest DOL offices that issue Enhanced Driver Licenses have been pre-screening EDL applicants waiting outside beginning at 7:15 am. The are 9 offices that issue EDL’s that are conducting pre-screening activities prior to the office opening. They are Kennewick, Lacey, Mt Vernon, Parkland, Renton, Seattle West, Smokey Point, Spokane, Wenatchee. Pre-screening times vary from office to office, see specific start times below.

Outside prescreening begins at 8 am in:

  • Wenatchee
  • Spokane
  • Parkland

Outside prescreening begins at 7:45 am in:

  • Smokey Point
  • Mt Vernon
  • Kennewick

Outside prescreening begins at 7:15 in:

  • West Seattle
  • Renton
  • Lacey

There is no early prescreening in North Vancouver because volumes there remain reasonable.

EDLs remain available by appointment only in Bothell, Seattle Downtown, Port Angeles, and Bellingham (Bellingham will accept walk in EDL applicants beginning July 28, 2009).

As a reminder: You must bring proof of identity, U.S. citizenship, and WA residency to apply for EDL. Please visit dol.wa.gov for a list of acceptable documents, and remember to BRING ORIGINALS.  No EDL applications will be accepted after 2pm on weekdays or noon on Saturdays.

Summer is typically the busiest time of year in Licensing Service Offices, so come early and come prepared.  Also, you can do many DOL services online, so log onto dol.wa.gov to see if you can skip the trip!


This just in: Latest wait times at DOL offices during EDL crunch

July 9, 2009

Early indications are starting to show that demand for Washington’s Enhanced Driver License is returning to normal levels following the large upward spike that followed the June 1 implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

That’s not say that some offices aren’t experiencing unusually long wait times.  They are.  In short, a lot of people are opting for the convenience and affordability of an EDL instead of a passport.

Now, here’s a look at the latest average wait time numbers.  These figures represent average wait times at DOL offices on July 7, 2009:

  • Bellingham:  58 minutes
  • Bothell:  1 hour, 4 minutes
  • Everett:  46 minutes
  • Kennewick:  57 minutes
  • Lacey:  1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Lynnwood:  39 minutes
  • Mt. Vernon:  60 minutes
  • Parkland:  1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Renton:  3 hours, 2 minutes
  • Seattle (west):  53 minutes
  • Seattle (east):  2 hours, 4 minutes
  • Smokey Point:  1 hour, 3 minutes
  • Spokane:  45 minutes
  • Vancouver (north): 41 minutes
  • Wenatchee:  48 minutes

 
EDL SCREENINGS UNDERWAY BEFORE DOORS OPEN

In a July 6 news release,  DOL announced immediate actions to reduce wait times at several locations.  Those actions included, “Screening applicants waiting outside beginning at 7:15 am.”

Since that news release went out,  we’ve learned some customers thought DOL would open office doors at 7:15am.  That’s not the case.  The screenings are taking place outside and prior to regularly-scheduled business hours.

The outside screenings are taking place at DOL offices in:

  • Lacey
  • Kennewick
  • Mount Vernon
  • Parkland
  • Renton
  • Smokey Point
  • Spokane
  • West Seattle

Due to low volume, the DOL’s Wenatchee office is no longer offering screenings prior to normal business hours.


ADVISORY: Increased Demand for Enhanced Driver License

July 6, 2009

 

Customers at several DOL offices are experiencing longer than usual wait-times since new rules affecting international travel were implemented on June 1, 2009. Those rules are part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (“WHTI”). Many people in Washington state are responding to the new rules by applying for the convenient Enhanced Driver License. The “EDL” is also a cost-friendly alternative to a passport.

This video aims to assist Washingtonians by providing useful information that can help make obtaining an EDL as smooth as possible. Thank you for your interest. And happy traveling!


The Enhanced Driver License: A Dream Realized

July 1, 2009

VIDEO

Perhaps you already know that Washington was the first state in the nation to offer an Enhanced Driver License or “EDL.” This video reveals the uphill and determined battle that state, federal and private partners overcame in their quest to make the EDL dream come true. All involved were well-aware of the looming June 2009 implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

This video features interviews with more than a dozen people, including two travelers we found at the Blaine, Washington border crossing; each shared why he is happy to have an EDL. Maybe the EDL is a good idea for you, too.

Remember, the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver are fast-approaching!


High demand for new Enhanced Driver Licenses creating long waits in the Kennewick driver licensing office

June 22, 2009

KENNEWICK—Officials at the Kennewick Licensing Service Office (LSO) urge customers to come prepared when applying for the new Enhanced Driver License (EDL) or Identification Card.  Staff in this office are sending many people back home for additional documentation when applying for these new cards.

The new enhanced licenses and ID cards meet new federal travel requirements under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which requires travelers crossing the U.S. border at a land or sea border crossing station to have a U.S. Passport or other WHTI compliant document. WHTI went into effect June 1, 2009.

“Summertime is always the busiest time of the year with people moving and teens getting permits and new licenses, but the additional rush of people applying for EDLs has made the Kennewick office unusually busy.” said DOL District Manager Pamela Byrd. “We’re helping everyone as quickly as possible, but they can also help themselves by making sure they have all of the documents they need before they come in.”

To apply for an EDL/ID, people must bring proof of… (Read more)


International travelers need approved documentation beginning June 1, 2009

May 26, 2009

OLYMPIA — The Department of Licensing reminds travelers the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) deadline goes into effect June 1, 2009. All travelers will be required to present a passport or alternative citizenship document when entering the U.S. from Canada by land or by sea.

Washington residents that are U.S. citizens have the option of getting an Enhanced Driver License/Identification Card (EDL/ID). The EDL/ID is a driver license/ID card that is WHTI approved for land or sea border crossings to Canada or Mexico.

If you haven’t already obtained your EDL/ID, and aren’t traveling the first part of June, we recommend you delay visiting our office until after the deadline passes to avoid the rush.

“Some offices are seeing extremely high volumes in response to the upcoming WHTI deadline,” said Liz Luce, Department of Licensing Director. “We expect those volumes to recede shortly after June 1.”

Read more

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PODCAST: Liz Luce discusses Enhanced Driver License and Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

May 26, 2009

(download)

Liz_Luce_edl_2The Washington State Department of Licensing now has a new podcast!  Licensing Express debuts today with two timely topics that share some common ground (and water):  The Enhanced Driver License and the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

In a nearly 17-minute interview, Liz Luce shares her thoughts on these two important issues that are destined to impact—whether directly or indirectly—many of us living in Washington State.

Luce is the Director of the Washington State Department of Licensing. The podcast is hosted by DOL New Media Coordinator Mark Horner.

To hear the podcast, simply click the “play” button beneath the headline at the top of this post.  Not familiar with the player?  Feel free to experiment with it.  You can easily rewind and forward to different parts of the interview.  You’ll see, once you’ve clicked play, just scroll forward and backwards within the the progress bar.

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