Department of Licensing to launch a series of community visits in April

April 17, 2018

UPDATE (April 24, 2018): DOL regrets that due to scheduling conflicts, we have canceled our Community Visits in April. We are very excited to connect with residents across the State and will be releasing information about these opportunities very soon. Please check back here for updates.

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Director Pat Kohler and the agency’s new outreach director to share information about the agency’s efforts to protect personal information and provide enhanced customer care and services

Olympia, WA – This month, officials from the Department of Licensing will begin traveling the state to share the agency’s work to better protect the personal information of all Washington residents.

In January, a Seattle Times article pointed out deficiencies in DOL’s compliance with an executive order issued by Gov. Jay Inslee that reiterated Washington’s commitment to its policies on services to immigrants and outlined actions to ensure state agencies are clear on their expected roles and responsibilities with respect to law enforcement and data collection.

Following the Times report, DOL Director Pat Kohler pulled together a team of subject matter experts from across the agency and has been meeting with community leaders to review how data is collected, managed and shared.

“Public safety and consumer protection is at the heart of our mission. We have invested considerable time improving our policies to ensure we’re protecting the information of our customers while continuing to support our partners in law enforcement,” said Kohler. “We welcome the opportunity to talk with our customers throughout the state to hear how we can make sure they feel confident and secure when applying for a license or ID card.”

DOL’s work includes new processes for law enforcement requests, improved auditing of contracts and systems, and an expanded commitment to community education, outreach and customer service. Highlights include:

  1. An improved and more thorough review of law enforcement requests to ensure that all requests to DOL’s License Integrity Unit are properly processed and tracked.
  2. Additional review of all immigration-related requests, which DOL will now only process if accompanied by a court order. See attached LIU summary graph for details.
  3. Increased security related to access to DOL’s Driver and Plate Search (DAPS) system and sharing of Social Security Numbers.
  4. Elimination of the collection of place of birth for standard drivers’ licenses and identification cards.
  5. Creation of a new Office of Community Engagement to help educate and provide support for the public and to expand our accessibility and efforts related to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Civil Rights compliance.
  6. Establishment of a hotline, 360.359.4454, where concerned residents can check to see if their data was shared with ICE.

“Though this list is not complete, it does provide some insight about the policy and process changes that are helping us protect customer information, support law enforcement and assist residents who have questions about the information we share with federal immigration agencies. More details about our EO Compliance project are available on our website, and we will continue to update the site in the days and weeks ahead as more work is completed,” said Krista Carlson, Director of DOL Communications and Education.

Rafael Estevez recently joined DOL as the agency’s new Director of Community Engagement. His initial work has focused on meeting with stakeholders and consulates to identify the barriers and challenges that exist for vulnerable populations and residents who are having difficulties accessing services.

Estevez and director Kohler will participate in the community visits, which begin in central Washington next week. The pair plans to make initial stops in Lake Chelan, Wenatchee, Granger and Yakima.

“These improvements to our services and processes are important,” Kohler said. “We are hopeful these community visits will help us spot new challenges and, ultimately, provide better service for all of our customers.”

View this blog post in Spanish:

View the travel itinerary in Spanish:

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Skip a Trip — Go Online. The Department of Licensing has a wide variety of consumer services available online. Please visit our website at dol.wa.gov.


Owners for 32,749 vehicles in Washington to receive a DOL notice about unpaid $15 fee

March 26, 2018

Correction and update / April 2, 2018:  Last month, 749 snow mobile owners were mistakenly sent letters stating that they owed the $15 Out of State Check fee.  However, this fee does not apply to Out of State snow mobiles. DOL regrets this error and has sent out a subsequent letter to these snow mobile owners apologizing for our error.  Because Out of State snow mobiles are not subject to this fee, the revised total number of residents owing the Out of State Vehicle Check fee is 32,000.

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OLYMPIA— Beginning last week, owners for 32,749 vehicles in Washington started receiving a letter from the Department of Licensing asking them to pay a $15 fee that wasn’t collected due to a processing error.

These owners brought their vehicles to Washington from out of state between December 2016 and August 2017, and should have been assessed a $15 Out of State Vehicle Check fee (RCW 46.17.120) at the time they titled their vehicle in Washington State.  The error resulted in approximately $491,000 in uncollected fees, which are required by law to help fund highway safety programs.

Customers will need to pay this outstanding balance prior to their next renewal, and can pay in-person at a vehicle licensing office or online at dol.wa.gov

View this blog post in other languages:

 

Skip a Trip — Go Online. The Department of Licensing has a wide variety of consumer services available online. Please visit our website at dol.wa.gov.


Nearly 7,000 Voters to Receive Late Election Ballots

February 6, 2018


Software error prevented transmission of some licensing information to election officials

OLYMPIA — Nearly 7,000 voters will receive ballots this week for the February special election via first class mail due to a software error in the Department of Licensing’s (DOL) driver licensing database system that caused information to not be transmitted to the Office of the Secretary of State’s (OSOS) Voter Registration Division under Washington’s Motor Voter law.

Both OSOS and DOL have been working to ensure voters receive their ballots in time for the February Special Election. The data error was discovered in late January. Working with OSOS, the DOL Information Services team learned that when some customers changed their name (with or without an address change), and were assigned a new driver license number, those changes were made in DOL’s system but were not transmitted to OSOS’s system. Once the error was identified, the DOL team worked over the weekend of January 26 to develop and test a fix to the 30-year-old driver database system. The software fix was released into production on the evening of January 30.

DOL and OSOS worked together to match the voter data in the two systems. They determined the number of impacted voters is 6,969 statewide. These voters will receive special processing to receive ballots this week for the February 2018 election.

“We worked closely with the Office of the Secretary of State to identify and resolve this issue quickly,” said Pat Kohler, DOL Director. “We regret these errors occurred and we have put in place new controls that monitor daily transmitted voter information to the Secretary of State to ensure it is complete and accurate. This error underscores the importance of replacing our decades-old driver licensing database system, which is scheduled to occur this September.”

Kohler said DOL appreciates the partnership of the OSOS in this situation, and their willingness to work toward a solution. DOL will also reimburse County Auditors for the cost of mailing ballots to affected voters that didn’t receive ballots.

Voters can verify their address, name and registration information at http://myvote.wa.gov. Questions or concerns about voter status can be directed to county auditors. A full list of county auditors is available here: https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/viewauditors.aspx.

Read this news release in the following languages:

 

For more information about the Department of Licensing, please visit our website at dol.wa.gov.


WA DOL issues Emergency Rule

January 26, 2018

(Olympia, WA)  Washington residents who apply for a standard driver license, instruction permit and ID card will no longer be asked to provide their place of birth as part of the application process.

On January 19, 2018 the Department of Licensing (DOL) filed emergency rule making to immediately end the collection of information that isn’t required by state or federal statute. This change takes effect today.

During the 120 day period the emergency rule is in effect, DOL will pursue rule changes in order to permanently eliminate place of birth as a requirement to apply for a driver license or ID card.

After 30 days, DOL will file proposed rule language altering WAC 308‐104‐014. DOL is required to hold a public hearing at least 20 days following submission of text. The rule becomes permanent 31 days from the date DOL files the exact text of the rule and the agency’s response to any written or verbal testimony.

DOL is taking these actions to ensure the agency is safeguarding personal information that can be used to determine immigration status and to uphold the intent of Governor Inslee’s Executive Order 17-01, Reaffirming Washington’s Commitment to Tolerance, Diversity, and Inclusiveness.

For more information, visit http://www.dol.wa.gov/informationdisclosure.html.


Watch out for non-DOL websites

October 31, 2017
Example of a website that is NOT affiliated with the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Example of a website that is NOT affiliated with the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Be careful when considering any licensing or vehicle registration transaction on non-DOL websites.

While many websites offer online services, there is only one official website for the Washington State Department of Licensing:  dol.wa.gov.

Unofficial websites typically charge additional fees.  They may even charge for services that are free at dol.wa.gov.

Worse yet, unofficial websites might never deliver the service you paid to receive.

For a safe, secure transaction without additional fees, please visit dol.wa.gov.

VIDEO


Life Hack: Renew your license or ID card online at dol.wa.gov

September 14, 2017

It’s that time again…you get a notice in the mail and now all you have to do is decide when you have time to renew your driver license. If the mere thought of that task feels a little traumatizing, you’re not alone. But we have good news, times have changed and now by visiting DOL.WA.GOV  you can securely renew your license or ID card ONLINE, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer! That means no line, no sacrificed lunch hour and no need to touch up your roots for a new photo.

It’s true that not everyone’s eligible to use our online services every time they need to renew. If you’re a Washington State resident you can only renew online every other time your license or ID expires. But did you know that in the past two years over 400,000 eligible people statewide waited IN-line to renew instead of going ONline? That’s a pretty significant number and it averages out to about 1,700 people per month.  If all of those people had renewed online, it would have made the in-office experience faster and more pleasant for the lady who was there for an eye exam, or the guy who just moved from California. So it’s an option worth checking into if your expiration date is coming up.

Here are the details:

Time to Renew! You have 3 options:

  1. License eXpress
  2. Online (without a License eXpress account)
  3. At a driver licensing office. Be prepared to wait in line. See Tips for visiting an office: Driver licensing offices.

 

Who can’t renew online?

  • You’ll need to visit an office if you:

◦Are under 24 or over 70 years old

◦Need to pass the vision screening

◦Need a new photo taken

 

Not you? Then congratulations, you’re eligible to renew online. You’ll need:

  • A device that allows you to access the internet
  • Your driver license or ID card number
  • Your Social Security number – last 4 digits
  • Visa, MasterCard, or American Express
  • Email address and/or printer

 

Hmmm…What else?….

Will my card have a new photo?

We use the last photo we took. If you want a new photo, you’ll need to visit a driver licensing office.

When will I get my new card?

You should receive it in 2-4 weeks. If you don’t get it within 30 days, please contact us at CustomerCare@dol.wa.gov.

Do I have to download an app?

No.

More questions?

Click here.

Help us spread the word to friends, coworkers, family and everyone else on social media. Don’t be shy, if you have a friend or family member who is new to online services or their electronic device, offer to assist them by sharing  this video and explaining the process.


Permanent registration available for some intermittent-use trailers

September 13, 2017

Have an infrequently used personal trailer weighing 2,000 pounds or less?

Then you might be interested to know about new Washington state law that took effect this year.

That law opened the door for permanent registration options for some vehicles with “intermittent-use” trailer plates.

FAST FACTS

Vehicles with intermittent-use trailer plates:

  • May be used for participation in club activities, exhibitions, tours, parades and occasional pleasure use.
  • May be used for occasional pleasure use.
  • Cannot be held for rent to the public.
  • Cannot be used for commercial or business purposes.
  • Vehicles with these plates must have a scale weight of two thousand pounds or less.
  • You must be a Washington state resident in order to receive “intermittent use” trailer plates.
  • The plates can only be displayed on the vehicle they were purchased for.
  • Must be displayed on the rear of the vehicle.

The initial cost for the standard trailer plate is $20.75

Restored plates have an initial cost of $43.75

Customers pay a onetime registration fee of $187.50 (plus other applicable fees).

The vehicle must also be in good working order.

To learn more about vehicle requirements, applications, and other information, visit the Department of Licensing’s website at dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/licenseplates.html.


ADDITIONAL READING

Washington State Laws:

RCW 46.16A.428 Intermittent-use trailers—Permanent registration—Penalty—License plates—Definition—Rules

RCW 46.18.220 Collector vehicle license plates