OLYMPIA—Starting Sept. 1, 2015, anyone seeking a commercial driver license (CDL) or commercial learner permit (CLP) in Washington will be required to prove they are a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident.
This new law does not affect anyone’s ability to get or retain a regular driver license. Commercial drivers are not required to present this proof until their next CDL or CLP renewal or other transaction that requires a change to their record, including name, address, and endorsement changes.
Drivers with an enhanced personal driver license or enhanced commercial driver license issued in Washington before Sept. 1, 2015, are not required to again prove their lawful permanent residency or U.S. citizenship.
This new requirement is due to the state’s mandatory compliance with federal law and one aspect of a broad public safety effort around CDLs that brings Washington into line with the national standard.
Starting Sept. 1, commercial drivers must visit one of 28 designated offices to complete their CDL or CLP transaction because of the special resources needed to verify documents. The full list of designated office locations can be found at dol.wa.gov/cdlchanges.
Commercial drivers should have one of the six approved documents in their possession before arriving at a designated licensing office, including:
· Valid U.S. Passport or Passport Card issued by the U.S. Department of State;
· Birth certificate issued by a state or local government. A hospital-issued “Certificate of Live Birth” is not acceptable;
· Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State;
· Certificate of Naturalization issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
· Certificate of Citizenship issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
· Permanent Resident Card or “Green Card” issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Obtaining duplicate documents can take several weeks. Commercial drivers are encouraged to begin the process immediately if they do not currently have at least one in their possession. Photocopies will not be accepted. The Department of Licensing (DOL) will be unable to complete CDL or CLP transactions of those drivers who are unable to provide one of the approved documents.
Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency is not required to replace a lost, damaged, or stolen card.
More information is available online at dol.wa.gov/cdlchanges or by calling the Washington Department of Licensing Driver Customer Service line at 360-902-3900.