Expired or expiring soon? Washington driver licenses further extended due to DOL office closures

May 29, 2020

DOL logoDue to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of state driver licensing offices, the Department of Licensing (DOL) is continuing to extend the expiration dates of valid Washington state driver licenses. These automatic extensions apply to personal driver licenses that expire on or after March 1, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020. This will allow drivers affected by DOL office closures to continue to drive without penalty or incurring late fees.

  • Driver licenses with an expiration date between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2020, already were extended for 90 days and will be extended for an additional 90 days (for a total of 180 days). This means these driver licenses will expire six months after the date shown on the license.
  • Driver licenses with an expiration date between July 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2020, will be extended for 90 days. This means these driver licenses will expire three months after the date shown on the license.

The new expiration date will show up on a driver’s record if it is pulled up by law enforcement. New cards will not be issued. DOL recommends printing and carrying this notice and presenting it with an expired license if requested by law enforcement or others who need to verify identity.

Drivers are encouraged to renew online during this extension period. Almost all Washington residents — including those under age 24 and over 70 — are currently eligible to renew their driver licenses, identification cards, or vehicle registrations online. The requirement to visit a licensing office every other renewal has also been suspended.

Drivers or businesses that need to validate an expiration date can check status online.

DOL is unable to issue first-time driver licenses and ID cards, including enhanced driver licenses (EDLs) and enhanced IDs (EIDs), while driver licensing offices are closed. The REAL ID enforcement date was extended to Oct. 1, 2021, so residents who want a compliant document have plenty of time. Pre-apply online.

Many vehicle licensing offices (VLOs) remain open and are able to process in-person, online, and mail-in transactions. Among the services VLOs offer are vehicle registration/tabs (including temporary registration permits for new residents), boat decals, license plates, reports of vehicle sale or transfer of ownership, trip permits, original and replacement titles, and disabled parking placards.

Motorcycle Permits and Endorsements Now Available Online

Eligible Washington residents can now add motorcycle permits and endorsements to their driver license via DOL’s online services.

This means residents are no longer required to visit a licensing office for these needs. Instead, they can log in to License eXpress or select “Renew your license or ID card” without logging in to complete their transaction. A License eXpress account is not required to add a motorcycle permit or endorsement.

Contact Us

The DOL call center is open during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; Thursday hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Please be patient, as call volume is high.

  • Driver licensing: 360-902-3900
  • Vehicle licensing: 360-902-3770
  • Email: CustomerCare@dol.wa.gov

Important updates about title transfers, first-time registrations, and dealer permits

April 17, 2020

Many vehicle/vessel licensing offices are still providing services in person, online, and by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most registrations can be renewed online or by mail. Those unable to renew online or by mail can still renew in person.

Here are some important notices regarding title transfers, first-time Washington registrations, and temporary dealer permits:

  • Title transfers: In-person title transfers can still be done. Customers should call ahead to find an office to assist them. If someone is unable to transfer a title within 15 days for COVID-19-related reasons, the late fee will be waived.
  • First-time registrations: People registering their vehicle for the first time in Washington state are required to have an unexpired Washington driver license. Because driver licensing offices are closed, people who are new to the state or need a first-time license are unable to get one. Until driver licensing offices reopen, customers can call or visit a vehicle/vessel licensing office to request a temporary registration permit allowing them to legally drive.
  • Dealer permits: Customers with expiring temporary dealer permits can request a temporary registration permit from a vehicle licensing office. Customers may need to request these permits multiple times depending on how long offices are closed.

We’ve been able to continue providing many essential services while following the governor’s directives during the pandemic. To do so, we’ve had to make some operational changes that may be less convenient for customers. We appreciate the feedback we’ve received as we help Washington residents live, work, drive, and thrive during this challenging time.


Ahoy! Vessel registration renewals are due by June 30

April 16, 2020

It’s that time again, boaters: To stay valid, boat registrations are due to be renewed by June 30 each year in Washington state.

Registration decals are good for the period of July 1 through June 30 of each year. If your boat is currently registered, go online to renew for the coming year. You can also visit a vehicle/vessel licensing office, many of which remain open during the “stay home, stay healthy” order. Mail-in renewal may also be an option.

If your registration is expired:

  • You can renew online for the current registration year only (before June 30).
  • You can renew online for the coming registration year only after you’ve renewed for the current year.
  • If you have not registered for the current year and wish to renew for the coming year, visit a vehicle/vessel licensing office after July 1.

If you are purchasing a boat or bringing one in from out of state, you must register it within 15 days.

Want to receive reminders by email? Sign up at the dol.wa.gov — just scroll to the bottom and click on “Get or update email reminders.” It takes less than a minute.

If you need further assistance, please call 360-902-3770 or email CustomerCare@dol.wa.gov.


Driver license expiration dates extended 90 days

April 4, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee has taken action to allow the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) to temporarily extend the expiration dates of driver licenses.

The DOL will send letters to persons whose driver licenses expired after March 1, 2020, and have not been renewed, and to those whose licenses will expire through June 30, 2020. These card holders’ expiration dates will be extended for 90 days.

The new expiration date will show up on a person’s driver record if it is pulled up by law enforcement. New cards will not be issued.

Please renew online, if possible.

Important Information for CDL Holders

In line with temporary extensions granted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), all commercial driver licenses (CDLs) expiring on or after March 1 have been extended to June 30, 2020. Letters will be sent to impacted Washington state CDL holders, including those with non-domiciled CDLs and CDLs with a hazmat endorsement.

Also, certain statutory barriers for renewing or extending CDLs and commercial learner permits (CLPs) have been temporarily waived:

  • Through May 14, 2020, DOL will not downgrade any CDL holder that had a valid medical certification that was issued for a period of 90 days or longer that expired on or after March 1. DOL will update the records of drivers with a downgraded status that meet these requirements as soon as possible. Note: FMCSA waived federal medical certificate requirements through June 30. However, the governor may waive statutes for only 30 days at a time during an emergency. DOL plans to seek the proclamation extensions necessary to give CDL drivers the full benefit of the federal waiver.
  • All valid CLPs that expired on or after March 1 have been extended to June 30, 2020. This includes non-domiciled CLPs.
  • Through May 14, any valid CLP holder that has evidence of successfully passing their CDL skills test in their possession may operate that specific type of vehicle without a CDL holder in the front seat of the vehicle, provided the CDL holder is somewhere in the cab.
  • Through May 14, drivers with a valid CLP are not required to wait 14 days after the CLP issuance to take a skills test.

DOL Offices Temporarily Closed; Use Expanded Online Renewal Services

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DOL driver licensing offices are temporarily closed to the public. However, most Washington residents are now eligible to renew their driver licenses, identification cards, or vehicle registrations online.

Persons under age 24 and over 70 may renew online for a limited time. Additionally, DOL is suspending the requirement to visit a licensing office every other renewal.

Mail-in options are available for a number of transactions, such as vehicle registrationoriginal title transactions, and driver license renewal.

Vehicle Titling and Registration Online and By Mail

Vehicle licensing offices (VLOs) are contracted through county auditors and may be open. VLOs handle vehicle tabs, boat decals, and new license plates, reports of vehicle sale or transfer of ownership, vehicle/boat registrations, trip permits, replacement titles, and disabled parking placards or tabs. It is a good idea to check a VLO’s status and call ahead.

REAL ID Enforcement Date Extended

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced that the REAL ID enforcement date has been extended to Oct. 1, 2021. Customers who want a REAL ID-compliant document will have an opportunity to apply at a later date.

Contact Us

The DOL call center is open during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; Thursday hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Please be patient, as call volume is high.

  • Driver licensing: 360-902-3900
  • Vehicle licensing: 360-902-3770
  • Email: CustomerCare@dol.wa.gov

All driver licensing offices will temporarily close to the public beginning Tuesday, March 31, 2020

March 30, 2020

DOL logoThe Department of Licensing (DOL) is temporarily closing all driver licensing lobbies beginning Tuesday, March 31, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All appointments are being canceled at this time and no appointments will be made going forward.

“The safety and health of both employees and customers is paramount. Sanitation products continue to be difficult to purchase and ensuring appropriate social distancing during in person transactions is difficult” said Teresa Berntsen, Department of Licensing director. “We appreciate patience and understanding as the Department of Licensing does its part to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Expanded Online Renewals

Most Washington residents are now eligible to renew their licenses, identification cards, or vehicle registrations online. We strongly encourage everyone to take advantage of those services if possible.

Many rules have been relaxed to accommodate online services. Persons under age 24 and over 70 may renew online for a limited time. Additionally, DOL is also suspending the requirement to visit a licensing office every other renewal.

Mail-in options are also available for a number of transactions, such as vehicle registrationoriginal title transactions, and driver license renewal.

REAL ID Enforcement Date Extended

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that the REAL ID enforcement date has been extended to Oct. 1, 2021. Residents who want a REAL ID-compliant document will have an opportunity to apply at a later date.

Vehicle Titling and Registration Online and By Mail

Vehicle licensing offices (VLOs) are contracted through county auditors and may be open. VLOs handle vehicle tabs, boat decals, and new license plates, reports of vehicle sale or transfer of ownership, vehicle/boat registrations, trip permits, replacement titles, and disabled parking placards or tabs. It’s a good idea to check a VLO’s status and call ahead.

Contact Us

The DOL call center is open during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; Thursday hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Please be patient, as call volume is high.

  • Driver licensing: 360-902-3900
  • Vehicle licensing: 360-902-3770
  • Email: CustomerCare@dol.wa.gov

Governor Inslee issues additional guidance on funerals

March 28, 2020

DOL logoGov. Jay Inslee today provided guidelines through Proclamation 20-25 to allow for funeral services that keep our families safe and ensure social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

All licensed funeral homes and cemeteries may conduct funeral services in a funeral home or graveside under the following conditions:

  • Funerals are attended only by immediate family members of the deceased.
  • The family members in attendance must maintain proper social distancing, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as staying 6 feet apart.

Read DOL’s full letter to funeral homes and cemeteries.

For additional updates and resources to help you navigate the COVID-19 outbreak, visit:


REAL ID enforcement date postponed indefinitely due to coronavirus pandemic

March 24, 2020

Child at airportPresident Trump announced Monday that enforcement of the REAL ID Act has been postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic. This decision is expected to promote social distancing in the months ahead by reducing the number of people visiting driver licensing offices to obtain compliant identification.

Passed by Congress in 2005 in an effort to strengthen security standards after 9/11, the REAL ID Act had been scheduled to take effect Oct. 1, 2020. A new deadline has not been set.

When enforcement of the REAL ID Act begins, every air traveler 18 years of age or older will need a compliant form of ID in order to fly within the United States or access certain federal buildings, including military bases. There are many options.

Washington state issues two types of REAL ID-compliant documents: enhanced driver licenses (EDLs) and enhanced ID cards (EIDs). These can be obtained only by visiting a driver licensing service office. With the enforcement date pushed back, residents seeking an ID upgrade can rest a little easier and avoid our offices for a while.

Residents with standard driver licenses and IDs who will eventually want an enhanced version can renew online now and upgrade later for only the difference in cost ($4 per year).

About one-third of Americans have a REAL ID-compliant document, according to the Department of Homeland Security.