DOL to hold public hearings on REAL ID marking for standard driver licenses

May 1, 2018

WA State Dept of Licensing

Olympia – In May, the Department of Licensing will hold six public hearings across the state to receive public comment on the proposed marking of standard driver licenses and ID cards that will start this summer.  This rulemaking is part of the requirements of the federal REAL ID Act that all states are required to comply with by October 2020.

Hearings will be held May 8 – 11, and May 22 & 23 in Lacey, Kent, Spokane, Kennewick, Mount Vernon and Yakima. The agenda for the hearings will include a general REAL ID presentation with time for questions, followed by the formal public hearing on the marking. There is also a link on the DOL website to submit comments on the proposed rule for those that can’t attend one of the hearings.

Starting July 1, DOL plans to begin marking all standard driver licenses and ID cards with the proposed language, “federal limits apply.” The federal Real ID Act requires states to mark identification documents that are not Real ID compliant. Beginning October 1, 2020, standard driver licenses and ID cards are not an acceptable form of identification for boarding commercial airplanes and entering some secure federal facilities, like military bases and nuclear power plants.

The public hearing schedule is as follows:

May 8, 2018
2:30 p.m.

Lacey City Hall
College St SE
Lacey, WA 98503

May 9, 2018
10 a.m.

Kent Memorial Park
850 N. Central Ave.
Kent, WA 98032

May 10, 2018
9 a.m.

Spokane City Hall
808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Spokane, WA 99201

May 11, 2018
9 a.m.

Southridge Sports & Event Complex
2901 Southridge Blvd #A
Kennewick, WA 99338

May 22, 2018
6 p.m.

Skagit Station Community Room
105 E. Kincaid
Mount Vernon, WA 98273

May 23, 2018
6 p.m.

Laborers International Union Hall
507 South 3rd Street
Yakima, WA 98901

Washington State’s enhanced driver licenses (EDLs) and enhanced ID (EIDs) cards are considered Real ID compliant, as are passports,  green cards and military IDs. For a full list of federally accepted documents and information about REAL ID and what it means for Washington, visit the DOL website.

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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.


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


State gets a new extension for new federal ID requirements

October 18, 2017

(OLYMPIA) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced all Washington state driver licenses and ID cards can be used for all federal purposes, including commercial air travel, under a REAL ID Act compliance extension that runs through October 10, 2018.

The Department of Licensing (DOL) expects to be in full compliance with the REAL ID Act by fall 2018, under Legislation signed by Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this year. DHS has said states that have been determined to be compliant will not be subject to REAL ID enforcement at airports or federal facilities until October 2020 under current federal regulations.

“This extension gives Washington residents about three more years to decide if they will need a new type of identification. Many already have acceptable federal identification,” DOL Director Pat Kohler said.

When the REAL ID law is enforced in October 2020, no one will be required to get an Enhanced Driver License or Enhanced ID Card. A variety of identification documents are acceptable for federal purposes under REAL ID, including U.S. passports and passport cards, military or military dependent ID cards, valid foreign passports or legal permanent resident cards and state-issued enhanced driver licenses or enhanced ID cards.


Go online and you may be able to skip waiting in line at DOL

July 11, 2017

Since 2015, more than 400,000 customers waited in line unnecessarily at Washington State driver licensing offices for transactions they could have completed from the comfort of home by visiting dol.wa.gov.

If all 400,000 had gone online, the result would have been an average of 13,000 fewer people in line per month. Less in-office traffic means downsized wait times so that customers can quickly get back to the responsibilities and activities in their lives that matter.

Our online services don’t eliminate the need for all in-office transactions, however many common licensing needs such as changing an address or renewing a license can be easily completed on your phone or computer. The information provided at dol.wa.gov can help also you avoid long wait times and unnecessary trips.

Plan on visiting us soon? Review the following reminders for a more efficient experience:

 

  1. Skip a trip, renew online

Did you know that you only need to update your driver license photo every other renewal cycle? That’s once every twelve years! If you don’t need a new photo, just go to dol.wa.gov to see if you can renew and skip the line! You’ll conveniently receive a new license within days and avoid having to come up with a clever hashtag to accompany that obligatory “never ending line at the DOL” tweet. Unsure about whether the services you need are offered online or if you are eligible to renew online? Check out DOL’s online services page.

  1. Know before you go

Arriving at the front of the line just to discover the piece of identification necessary to complete your transaction is sitting on the kitchen counter at home is everyone’s least favorite way to wrap up lunch hour. Visit dol.wa.gov to find out which documents and identification you’ll need to bring in so that our staff can take care of your licensing needs. Also keep in mind that we are not able to accept photocopies of documents.

  1. Visit during the middle of the week

If you must visit an office in person, try to head in before noon — preferably during the middle of the week.

  1. Beware the lunch hour line

This may seem like a given, but please let us reiterate: Do not visit a licensing office between noon and one pm! We guarantee that on any given afternoon several other people had the exact same idea and staffing may be more limited due to staff rotating off the counter to take their lunch break.

 

  1. Check the calendar for holidays

We know your ideal Christmas Eve would be spent refreshing your newsfeed while waiting for your number to be called, but please avoid visiting us on holidays, as our offices are usually closed. When in doubt, go online to check the hours of operation of the office you plan to visit and remember to anticipate a spike in wait times in the days prior to and following a long weekend.


New law gives Washington more time for federal ID requirement changes

May 18, 2017

Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law this week a measure that brings Washington state into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act, giving residents likely until 2020 before the new federal ID requirements will affect travelers with a Washington driver license or ID card and those seeking entry into some federal facilities and military bases.

That’s because the new law is expected to gain our state a REAL ID compliance extension that will allow a standard Washington driver license or ID card to be used for all federal purposes, including boarding commercial flights until then. Washington joins the ranks of about 20 other states with compliance extensions while they work to implement the federally-mandated changes.

Enhanced Driver Licenses and ID cards will become Washington state’s federally-compliant ID document for domestic air travel and entry into secure areas of federal facilities, but it’s important to remember there are other types of documents that are already valid for federal purposes now and into the future. You may already have one: U.S. or foreign passports, U.S. Passport Cards, military ID, permanent resident cards, Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC card), and several other documents. A complete list is available here.

The new law also lowers the price of state-issued Enhanced Driver Licenses from $108 to $78 starting in late July.

Washington state is currently under a temporary compliance extension and federal officials were provided a formal request for a compliance extension this week after Gov. Inslee signed the legislation into law.