Apply for a first-time instruction permit online

July 9, 2020

DOL logoAs the Department of Licensing (DOL) continues to look for new ways to provide services online, customers can now apply for a first-time driver instruction permit through

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Jay Inslee waived the instruction permit requirement for in-person signatures. Customers who previously scheduled an appointment to get an instruction permit at a driver licensing office may log into their License eXpress account and cancel their appointment once they’ve completed the online process.

How to Apply on License eXpress

Customers should first create a License eXpress account on the DOL website if they do not already have one. If a customer does not have a Washington ID card, they will need to pre-apply online through this service to get a driver license number.

The second step the customer should take is to obtain a driver training school knowledge test waiver or pass the knowledge test. In order to receive the knowledge test waiver, the customer should be enrolled in a driver training school program and provide the school with their driver license number. Customers who decide to complete the knowledge test can do so at a driver licensing office (where offered) or driver training school.

After completing steps 1 and 2, the customer can return to the License eXpress portal. They will notice a new link, “Get your instruction permit,” on their License eXpress account. This will allow them to get their permit online.

Customers under 18 years old will need a parent to attest to their identity. Once everything is filled out, the customer submits their electronic signature and payment and the transaction is completed.

Receiving Non-Photo Instruction Permits

Once the customer has completed everything online, they can print a temporary non-photo instruction permit and carry it with them. The permit will be issued the date of the completed transaction.

Customers should keep the temporary instruction permit with them until they receive their card in the mail. The card should arrive within seven to 10 days.

Getting a Driver License in the Future

When customers are ready to get their first-time driver license, they will still need to schedule an appointment at a driver licensing office. The non-photo permit will not be accepted as a proof-of-identity document because it does not have a photo.

Contact Us

If you need further assistance, call 360-902-3900. Please be patient, as call volume is high.


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Commercial driver licenses/learner permits extended to Sept. 30, 2020

June 26, 2020

DOL logoIf your commercial driver license (CDL) or commercial learner permit (CLP) expired on or after March 1, 2020, and has not been renewed, don’t fret. The Department of Licensing (DOL) has extended its expiration date to Sept. 30, 2020. The extension applies to all CDL types and endorsements.

We are taking these steps to comply with guidance from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to keep essential transportation services operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. No late fees will be incurred during the extension period.

CDL and CLP holders will not receive a new license or ID card. DOL recommends carrying this notice while operating a vehicle and presenting it with your expired license if requested by law enforcement or others who need to verify your identity.

DOL strongly encourages all CDL holders to renew online, if possible. Almost all Washington residents are eligible to do so for a limited time. In-person service capacity at driver licensing offices will be very limited in the months ahead.

No Downgrade for Expired Medical Certificates

Gov. Jay Inslee authorized DOL to take advantage of a FMCSA waiver to some CDL medical certificate rules. This temporary change allows commercial drivers to continue operating with an expired medical certificate.

For those with medical certificates that expired on or after March 1, 2020, DOL will again take steps to prevent your CDL from being downgraded through Sept. 30, 2020.

FMCSA extended its waiver of federal medical certificate requirements through Sept. 30. However, the governor may waive statutes for only 30 days at a time during an emergency. DOL will seek the extensions necessary to give CDL holders the full benefit of the federal waiver. CDL holders are urged to get a valid medical certificate before Sept. 30, when this temporary change ends.

In the meantime, DOL recommends carrying this notice.

DOL has several options for submitting a new medical certificate that do not require visiting a driver licensing office:

  • Email: (CDL medical forms only; questions won’t be answered)
  • Fax: 360-570-4915
  • Mail:
    CDL Medical Unit
    Department of Licensing
    PO Box 9030
    Olympia, WA 98507-9030

Questions about this process can be emailed to


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DOL will close for mandatory furlough days in July

June 25, 2020

DOL logoStarting next week, Department of Licensing (DOL) offices will close one day a week for mandatory furlough days through July 25. Mandatory furlough days include:

  • Thursday, July 2 (because Friday, July 3 is a state holiday)
  • Friday, July 10
  • Friday, July 17
  • Friday, July 24

We will also reduce our days of operation starting the week of June 29. All reopened driver licensing offices will be open Monday through Thursday in July, except for July 2. We’ll be open Friday, July 31.

Current open licensing office locations:

  • Bellingham
  • Bremerton
  • Clarkston
  • Federal Way
  • Kennewick
  • Lacey
  • Lynnwood
  • Moses Lake
  • Parkland
  • Renton
  • Spokane
  • Vancouver North
  • Wenatchee

Driver licensing offices will operate at reduced capacity and by appointment only. This is to allow us to put in place several health and safety practices. Please be patient. Appointments are limited. Our online, phone, and mail-in services remain the first option in most instances.

To protect you and our employees from COVID-19, we expanded our online services in March. This makes it easier to complete your transaction without having to visit an office. We recommend trying this first before you make an appointment.

State furlough days do not affect county or private vehicle licensing offices.

The governor ordered the mandatory furlough days for state employees. The furlough is due to a state budget shortfall caused by revenue loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Can’t be helped online, by phone, or by mail? Make an appointment

June 19, 2020

DOL logoAs previously announced, driver licensing offices will begin to reopen Monday, June 22, in a series of stages. We will start with 13 locations. All in-person services will be provided by appointment only.

With the announcement of furloughs for all state workers, our days of operation will be temporarily reduced starting the week of June 29. All reopening offices will be open Monday through Thursday in July, with the exception of Thursday, July 2 (we’ll also be closed July 3 in observance of Independence Day). We’ll be open Friday, July 31.

Additionally, offices will be operating at significantly reduced capacity with social distancing in place. Please be patient. Appointments are limited. Our online, phone, and mail-in services remain the first option in most instances.

To help protect employees and customers from the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Licensing (DOL) expanded its online services and closed driver licensing offices in late March. Since then, DOL has been working within the governor’s guidelines to serve Washington residents as safely and efficiently as possible.

For those who require an office visit to complete their transaction, we’re reopening the following locations June 22 by appointment only: Bellingham, Bremerton, Clarkston, Federal Way, Kennewick, Lacey, Lynnwood, Moses Lake, Parkland, Renton, Spokane, Vancouver North, and Wenatchee.

Union Gap initially was also on the list, but the reopening of that office is on hold due to the impact of COVID-19 in Yakima County. We are working on ways to help those who already made appointments there.

Our other 41 driver licensing offices will reopen in later stages to be announced. The order of reopening is being determined by factors including geographic location, community access, volume history, capacity for safe delivery of service, weekdays open, and staffing considerations.

Services offered by appointment only include:

  • First-time driver license, including knowledge and skills testing (where offered)
  • First-time identification card
  • Enhanced driver license (EDL) and enhanced ID (EID)
  • Name change on license/ID
  • Instruction permit
  • Commercial driver license (CDL) and commercial learner permit (CLP)
  • Agricultural permit, including knowledge and skills testing (where offered)
  • Reinstatement, including knowledge and skills testing (where offered)
  • Occupational restricted license
  • Driver training school instructor test

Please keep in mind that the REAL ID enforcement date has been pushed back a year to Oct. 1, 2021. There will be plenty of time to obtain a compliant document, such as an EDL or EID, before then.

Most residents are eligible to renew their licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations, and instruction permits online. This includes those under age 24 and over 70 for a limited time.

Driver licenses and instruction permits expiring March 1 through June 30, 2020 were automatically extended for 180 days. Those expiring July 1 through Sept. 30, 2020 were extended for 90 days.

How to Make an Appointment

Appointments are for customers who cannot do their business online, by phone, or by mail.

If an in-person visit is the only option, you can make an appointment online or call 360-902-3900 for assistance setting one up.

The scheduling system automatically offers the first available dates. If appointment slots are filled, try again the next day. Our representatives cannot change an appointment after it is made, so if you need a different date/time, you must cancel your appointment and start over.

When an appointment is made, an email confirmation will be sent with instructions on how to check in to a “virtual lobby” upon arrival. Customers will wait in their vehicle until being invited into the building. There will be signage.

Those who show up to an office without an appointment will be scheduled for a return visit or redirected as needed.

Health and Safety Precautions

To reduce the risk of coronavirus spread, DOL is implementing several health and safety practices at driver licensing offices, including:

  • DOL employees will be screened for symptoms and wear personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Customers will be asked about symptoms. They will also be encouraged to wear a cloth facial covering and wash their hands or use sanitizer prior to entering.
  • Physical distancing of at least 6 feet will be maintained between employees, customers, and vendors.
  • Hard plastic barriers have been installed at service counters, with 6 feet of distance between lobby chairs and 6-foot markers outside the main entrance.
  • Regular sanitizing of high-touch surfaces/areas will take place.
  • Visitors showing signs of illness will be required to leave.
  • Customers will be made aware of requirements prior to scheduling an appointment.
  • Additional protective requirements may be needed for skills tests and will be communicated when scheduled.

DOL is confident services can be delivered safely.

Vehicle Licensing Offices

Vehicle licensing offices (VLOs) are open. VLOs handle vehicle tabs, boat decals, license plates, reports of vehicle sale or transfer of ownership, vehicle/boat registrations, trip permits, replacement titles, disabled parking placards/tabs, and more.

VLOs are not impacted by state worker furloughs and are on normal hours of operation.

Contact Us

Please be patient, as call volume is high.


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UPDATED 6/22/20

Final phase of DOL’s new professional and business licensing service available June 29

June 18, 2020

DOL logoThe Department of Licensing (DOL) will roll out the final phase of its professional and business licensing system’s technology modernization project on Monday, June 29.

“Our new license renewal system will benefit all of our professional licensees, and allow them to manage their licenses and renewal online,” said Jennifer Clawson, DOL’s assistant director of the Business and Professions Division.

The agency’s professional and business licensing system will be temporarily shut down for 10 days, from June 19 through June 28, to ensure a successful transition to the new system. During the outage, customers will be unable to process any professional or business license applications or renewals.

This system replacement improves and expands convenient online services for professional license holders such as real estate brokers, cosmetologists, tattoo artists, and security guards. The new system will allow them to:

  • Pay license fees using more online payment options
  • Self-print licenses
  • Check application or renewal status
  • Manage account information

The new system includes extra security features to protect customer data and an online option for the public to submit complaints and look up the status of a professional license.

Starting June 29, this phase will include the following programs:

  • Auctioneers
  • Bail bonds
  • Body art, body piercing, and tattoo
  • Combative sports
  • Commercial driver license schools
  • Cosmetology and cosmetology schools
  • Court reporters
  • Driver training schools
  • Employment agencies
  • Home inspectors
  • Motorcycle training schools
  • Private investigators
  • Private security guards
  • Real estate brokers, managing brokers, firms, and schools

The first phase, completed in November 2019, included the following programs:

  • Appraisers and appraisal management companies
  • Architects
  • Camping resorts and timeshares
  • Engineers
  • Funeral and cemeteries
  • Geologists
  • Land surveyors
  • Landscape architects
  • Notaries
  • On-site wastewater