Department of Licensing launching new, fully modernized driver licensing system September 4

July 26, 2018

Online and in-person service disruptions expected August 26 to September 3

The Washington State Department of Licensing is preparing to launch a modernized driver licensing system at the end of August, and customers need to be aware of office closures and service disruptions. In order to transition from the old system to the new system, driver licensing offices will be closed Friday, August 31 through September 3. Vehicle licensing offices may be open, but unable to provide licensing services.

Services impacted and not available are:

Customer Service Center

  • DOL’s call center
  • DOL’s on-line services

Driver License Services

  • Driver licenses
  • Instruction permits
  • Identification cards
  • Enhanced driver licenses
  • Commercial driver licenses
  • Certified copy of driver record (Abstract Driving Record)

Vehicle and Vessels

  • Vehicle and vessel registration
  • Vehicle titles
  • Reporting of sale of vehicles
  • Pick-up of registration and tabs ordered through on-line services

Business and Professional Licenses

  • Pro Rate and Fuel Tax
  • Counter services in Olympia and Vancouver

Beginning August 26, and throughout the weekend, many DOL online services, like those used to buy car tabs and renew driver licenses, will also be unavailable. A full listing of affected online services is now available on the DOL website.

“We encourage customers to come in early to complete their driver license and vehicle transactions to avoid the rush leading up to the new system cutover weekend,” said Teresa Berntsen, DOL Director.  “If you need to visit our offices, come in early, or skip the trip and renew by accessing our online services.”

Once complete, the second phase of the DRIVES project will improve services to citizens, agency business partners, and the state’s transportation system. State and federal agencies that rely on DOL data for public safety, licenses, identification cards, and revenue will also benefit from the new system.

This is the second in a series of overhauls to DOL’s legacy systems.  The first phase, which updated vehicle licensing systems, was successfully completed in December 2016.  A third project is planned to address the agency’s Business and Professional Licensing systems.

For more information about DRIVES, visit http://www.dol.wa.gov/about/what-is-drives.html.



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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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

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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.


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.

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


DOL takes immediate steps to stop disclosure of information to federal immigration authorities

January 15, 2018

OLYMPIA—The Washington State Department of Licensing is taking immediate action 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.

 “We support the Executive Order, but failed to meet the Governor’s intent regarding the protection of this type of information,” DOL Director Pat Kohler said. “We are sorry that our work did not align with our state’s values.

“Our agency did not clearly communicate the nature of all federal law enforcement requests to the Governor’s Office and the Legislature. Nor did we seek clarification about how to handle information requested by agencies seeking records related to United States Code (USCs) that contain both criminal and civil immigration violations.

“We are completely focused on correcting our processes and rebuilding trust with all Washington residents,” Kohler said. “We are building a comprehensive plan to ensure greater accountability within the agency.”

In consultation with the Governor’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General, DOL announced the following steps:

  • Stopping the release of all records to federal immigration authorities. Moving forward, records will not be released to these entities without a court order signed by a federal judge or magistrate, or under the requirement of state or federal law.
  • Conducting a thorough review of agency processes and computer systems with the Governor’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General.
  • Using emergency rulemaking to end the collection of information that isn’t mandated and could be misused, such as place of birth information gathered during the driver license or ID card application process. Once the emergency rulemaking process begins, information can be found here: http://www.dol.wa.gov/about/driversrules.html.
  • Accepting the resignation of DOL Deputy Director Jeff DeVere’s. DeVere was the executive sponsor overseeing compliance with Executive Order 17-01.
  • Hiring of a community liaison officer to work with community groups to ensure DOL processes, procedures and services meet the needs of all Washington residents. This person, who will report to the agency director, will provide oversight and accountability and coordinate outreach and education to individuals and stakeholder groups.
  • Establishing a new hotline to answer customer concerns and any questions they may have about this issue.
  • Educating DOL staff on all changes made to policies and procedures related to the release of information to law enforcement and ensure all requests are evaluated properly. We also will make sure all staff understand the Governor’s Executive Order and the importance of diversity, tolerance and inclusion.

“I am working closely with stakeholder groups to improve our processes and provide more transparency going forward,” Kohler said.  Washington residents can submit questions or comments to Director Kohler at DOLDirector@dol.wa.gov.

Read this news release in the following languages:


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.

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