Some driver and vehicle fees increasing in October

October 1, 2012


OLYMPIA — Several fees related to driver and vehicle licensing charged by the Department of Licensing increased today.

These fee increases, passed by the 2012 State Legislature, are required to continue to fund the operation and maintenance of the roads, streets, bridges, ferries, transit systems, and other services that make up our vital transportation system.

(Please click image below for larger view of fees.)

DOL makes managing driver and vehicle licenses easier

September 17, 2012
DOL image

DOL image

OLYMPIA—The Department of Licensing introduced a fast, easy way to manage your driver license and all of your vehicle, trailer and boat licenses in one secure online service called License Express.

This new service allows people to take care of all of the most common DOL license transactions like renewals and address changes. It also makes it easy to take care of many less common tasks like ordering a duplicate driver license or ID card, signing up for email renewal reminders, ordering copies of your driving record and report the sale of vehicles or boats.

It’s no secret our customers typically dread a trip to a local driver licensing office to wait for service,” Licensing Director Alan Haight said. “License Express is like having a DOL office at home.”

License Express ties together DOL’s most popular online services that, individually, have been used more than 2.5 million times by customers wanting to skip a trip to an office. DOL plans to keep improving this new service over time and adding more features to make it even more useful and save DOL customers more time.

License Express takes advantage of a highly secure login process through the state’s Secure Access Washington service to safeguard personal information.

DOL customers can learn more about this new service and sign up at the DOL website at

Many people taking advantage of email renewal notices

February 24, 2011

New seven-character license plate formatA legislative proposal to encourage the use of email renewal reminders for our state’s cars and trucks to save the state $3.8 million per year is getting a lot of attention in the media. Under this proposal, vehicle owners would be given the options of signing up for free email renewal reminders, paying an additional fee to continue receiving traditional paper vehicle renewal notices, or skipping renewal notices altogether.

Informal online polls and reader comments on news websites indicate many people think the time is right for switching to email renewal notices. The good news is that DOL already offers email renewal reminders. The benefits to signing up for them go well beyond cost savings, and more than 300,000 people have already signed up.

Email renewal notices have a link to DOL’s popular online vehicle tab renewal system. You can open your reminder, click the link, and have your new tabs on their way to your home in a matter of minutes. This means no more writing checks or driving across town. Email renewal reminders also are much more environmentally friendly than the paper notices.

You can sign up all your vehicles (and boats) right now at the DOL website.

Email renewal notices saving time and money

December 7, 2010

The Department of Licensing (DOL) is offering vehicle and boat owners the opportunity to receive vehicle and boat renewal notices sent by email instead of through the mail.

Email renewal notices provide all of the information of a traditional paper renewal notice and also feature a link to DOL’s online renewal systems. Using this link, owners can have new tabs ordered and on their way within minutes of receiving the notice.

This is especially important for the owners of boats and other types of watercraft because funding for these types of paper renewal notices has been eliminated due to state budget cuts. Email renewal notices are the only renewal reminder option for boats and watercraft.   

“We hope people embrace email renewal notices and sign up quickly because they really are a win for everybody,” DOL Director Liz Luce said. “They streamline the tab renewals, save trees and save the state money at a time we need to find ways to cut back.”    

Vehicle and boat owners can sign up any time for email renewal notices through the agency’s website at

DOL’s Hollywood connection

April 13, 2010

By Brad Benfield

From time to time, representatives from major Hollywood movie studios contact the Department of Licensing to get help making feature films that have stories that take place in Washington. The production of  a Twilight movie is a recent example.

These studios generally hire a “prop house” to provide all of the various items surrounding—and used by—the actors to make their movie seem realistic. If a movie takes place in Washington, they need to put Washington license plates on the vehicles to make them look authentic.

But here is the secret: these prop houses generally make their own Washington state license plates so they can control the numbers on them. To make realistic license plates, we are often asked two kinds of questions.

First, the prop houses want to know about our state’s license plate configurations, meaning the combinations of letters and numbers used on various types of vehicles. They want to make sure that each type of vehicle in the film has the right type of plate number. This seems to be particularly important to them if they are making action movies, because they want to make sure that any police or emergency vehicles used in a production have authentic-looking plate numbers.

We also get questions about what the movie folks call “clearances.” When they make their license plates, they want to make sure they aren’t using plates with numbers that are already being used on a vehicle currently registered in our state. They provide a list of plate numbers they would like to use and we let them know whether those numbers are in use.

Saving time, money, and the environment

January 21, 2010

Updated February 3, 2009 to include video

By Brad Benfield

email renewal notice screen

Signing up is fast and easy on the DOL website

Vehicle owners in Washington now have the opportunity to save themselves time and help save money and the environment by signing up to receive their vehicle renewal notices via email. You can sign up for email renewal notices through the agency’s website at, when renewing tabs online, or at a neighborhood vehicle licensing office.

Email renewal notices provide all of the information on a traditional paper renewal notice. They also have a direct link to DOL’s online vehicle tab renewal system. Using the link to the online renewal system, you can have new tabs ordered and on their way within minutes of receiving the notice.

More and more people become accustomed to receiving bills and bank statements over the Internet and the agency is hoping people embrace email renewal notices, too. If just our customers who regularly use the Internet to renew their tabs sign up for email renewal, DOL would avoid printing 1 million notices over the next year. This would save:

  • 2,000 reams of paper and 2 million envelopes — or approximately 150 trees.
  • Approximately $500,000 in printing and mailing costs.

As with paper renewal notices, vehicle owners signing up for the new service will receive their email renewal notice about a month before their tabs expire. You also don’t have to worry about not getting a renewal notice if you change your email address and forget to tell us. We will try several times to send an email renewal notice, but if we can’t reach you that way we will send a traditional paper notice.