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