Driver licensing offices to begin reopening by appointment June 22

June 15, 2020

Offices reopening June 22Driver licensing offices, largely closed since March 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will reopen by appointment only in a series of stages beginning Monday, June 22. Health and safety measures will be taken by the Department of Licensing (DOL) to help protect both employees and customers at all locations.

The following offices will be the first to reopen for services that can be obtained only in person:

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

Customers are urged to go online or call the Customer Service Center (360-902-3900), if possible, to get what they need. Online services are regularly being expanded.

Appointments are for customers who cannot complete their transaction online, by phone, or by mail. With social distancing in place, offices will be operating at significantly reduced capacity and appointments will be limited.

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, including those under age 24 and over 70, are temporarily eligible to renew their licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations, and instruction permits online.

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.

When More Offices Will Reopen

We are working to reopen all of our 55 driver licensing offices as quickly and safely as possible. The order is being determined by factors including geographic location, community access, volume history, capacity for safe delivery of service, weekdays open, and staffing considerations.

This schedule may result in offices being open in counties not yet approved for the governor’s Phase 3 reopening. This decision, supported by the Governor’s Office, was based on the health and safety framework put in place as part of DOL’s reopening plan and currently in use in seven offices. DOL is confident services can be delivered safely.

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.
  • Customers and vendors 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.

How to Make an Appointment

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.

Customers with transactions that do not require an in-person visit will be asked to use alternative service channels, such as numerous online services, phone, or 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.

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.

UPDATED 6/22/20


Expired or expiring soon? Washington driver licenses further extended due to DOL office closures

May 29, 2020

DOL logoDue to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of state driver licensing offices, the Department of Licensing (DOL) is continuing to extend the expiration dates of valid Washington state driver licenses. These automatic extensions apply to personal driver licenses that expire on or after March 1, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020. This will allow drivers affected by DOL office closures to continue to drive without penalty or incurring late fees.

  • Driver licenses with an expiration date between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2020, already were extended for 90 days and will be extended for an additional 90 days (for a total of 180 days). This means these driver licenses will expire six months after the date shown on the license.
  • Driver licenses with an expiration date between July 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2020, will be extended for 90 days. This means these driver licenses will expire three months after the date shown on the license.

The new expiration date will show up on a driver’s record if it is pulled up by law enforcement. New cards will not be issued. DOL recommends printing and carrying this notice and presenting it with an expired license if requested by law enforcement or others who need to verify identity.

Drivers are encouraged to renew online during this extension period. Almost all Washington residents — including those under age 24 and over 70 — are currently eligible to renew their driver licenses, identification cards, or vehicle registrations online. The requirement to visit a licensing office every other renewal has also been suspended.

Drivers or businesses that need to validate an expiration date can check status online.

DOL is unable to issue first-time driver licenses and ID cards, including enhanced driver licenses (EDLs) and enhanced IDs (EIDs), while driver licensing offices are closed. The REAL ID enforcement date was extended to Oct. 1, 2021, so residents who want a compliant document have plenty of time. Pre-apply online.

Many vehicle licensing offices (VLOs) remain open and are able to process in-person, online, and mail-in transactions. Among the services VLOs offer are vehicle registration/tabs (including temporary registration permits for new residents), boat decals, license plates, reports of vehicle sale or transfer of ownership, trip permits, original and replacement titles, and disabled parking placards.

Motorcycle Permits and Endorsements Now Available Online

Eligible Washington residents can now add motorcycle permits and endorsements to their driver license via DOL’s online services.

This means residents are no longer required to visit a licensing office for these needs. Instead, they can log in to License eXpress or select “Renew your license or ID card” without logging in to complete their transaction. A License eXpress account is not required to add a motorcycle permit or endorsement.

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

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

Public hearings set for August on ‘X’ gender option on driver licenses, ID cards

July 31, 2019

X gender driver licenseWashington residents who identify as neither male nor female will soon have the option of listing “X” as their gender on state-issued driver licenses, instruction permits, and ID cards.

But before the change takes effect — possibly as soon as October — the Department of Licensing plans to solicit feedback from the public regarding proposed rule language. Input from the hearings, along with emails and phone calls, will be used to determine if rule wording should be edited.

Join us at any of the following hearings:

Aug. 12, 2019 – 5 p.m.
Seattle Public Library
1000 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104

Aug. 13, 2019 – 5 p.m.
Washington State Capitol, Columbia Room
416 Sid Snyder Avenue SW
Olympia, WA 98504

Aug. 15, 2019 – 4 p.m.
Spokane Public Library
3324 South Perry Street
Spokane, WA 99203

If you have questions or need a reasonable accommodation for a hearing, please email rulescoordinator@dol.wa.gov, call 360-902-3846, or send your request by mail to P.O. Box 9020, Olympia, WA 98507.

If you can’t attend a hearing, you can still be heard. Submit a comment online.

Listening sessions were held in June in Seattle and Spokane to gather public sentiment on providing a third gender option. Insights from those sessions were used in drafting rule language.

The move to allow a non-binary designation on driver licenses and ID cards comes more than a year and a half after a similar rule change was enacted by the state Department of Health. As of January 2018, people born in Washington can change their sex designation on their birth certificate to reflect their gender identity.

Adding an “X” gender designation won’t affect the validity of identification used to comply with the REAL ID Act when enforcement begins Oct. 1, 2020.


DOL commemorates renewal of driver licensing agreement with Taiwan

May 23, 2019

DOL Director Teresa Berntsen, right, welcomed Alex Fan, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle, for a reciprocity agreement renewal signing Thursday.

The Department of Licensing on Thursday commemorated the renewal of an agreement that makes it easier for drivers from Taiwan or Washington state to transfer a license from one place to the other.

The reciprocity agreement allows Taiwan nationals living in Washington, such as college students, to skip the driving and written licensing exams if they are already licensed to drive in Taiwan. Washington residents living in Taiwan have the same option.

In the five years since the initial deal was reached, more than 2,300 Taiwanese drivers have obtained Washington driver licenses through the reciprocity process.

Renewal of the pact was formalized in a signing ceremony in the office of DOL Director Teresa Berntsen, who was joined by Policy and Legislative Director Beau Perschbacher. Representing Taiwan were Alex Fan, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle, and consulate Tony, Nien-Tzu, Hu.

“The signing of this agreement highlights the strong relationship between the state of Washington and Taiwan,” Berntsen said. “It also demonstrates our joint commitment to streamline the licensing process.”

Drivers from Taiwan seeking a Washington license will need to visit the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle to have their current license properly translated and verified prior to visiting a DOL licensing service office.

DOL has reciprocity agreements with four other jurisdictions: British Columbia, Germany, South Korea, and Japan.