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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Instruction permits extended due to DOL office closures

June 9, 2020

Permitextension-tw (2)With the closure of state driver licensing offices and many wanting to continue their driver education during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Licensing (DOL) is automatically extending the expiration dates of valid Washington state instruction permits. This automatic extension applies to permits with expiration dates on or after March 1, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020. This will allow permit holders to continue to practice driving without penalty or incurring any late fees.

  • Permits with an expiration date between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2020 will be extended for 180 days. This means these instruction permits will expire six months after the date printed on the permit.
  • Permits with an expiration date between July 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2020 will be extended for 90 days. This means these instruction permits will expire three months after the date printed on the permit.

New cards will not be issued. DOL recommends carrying this letter while operating a vehicle and presenting it with an expired permit if requested by law enforcement or others who need to verify identity.

Instruction Permit Online Renewal

In addition to extending instruction permits, individuals can renew a permit online for a limited time using the no-login option for driver license renewal. It can also be done via License eXpress.

DOL is unable to issue first-time instruction permits while the driver licensing offices remain closed. However, individuals can pre-apply online for an instruction permit.

Drivers or businesses that need to validate an expiration date for a permit holder can do so via DOL’s online services.

Getting a First-Time License

If a person has passed the knowledge and drive tests, there is a way for them to obtain a first-time driver license online. Using License eXpress, they will need to have a Washington photo instruction permit and complete all of the other online requirements.

If they do not have a Washington photo instruction permit, they will have to wait until the driver licensing offices reopen to get a photo taken and complete any other requirements. There will be more information about reopening plans soon.

Contact Us

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


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National Teen Driver Safety Week now underway

October 22, 2018

Click image for larger view of “the 6 rules.”

Each year, more than 100 young people die on Washington roadways. Teen Driver Safety Week, October 21 – 27, aims to help reduce those numbers while raising awareness about teen driving nationwide.

It’s a great opportunity for parents to focus on helping their teens learn how to become better drivers.

The Department of Licensing will be sharing helpful information about teen driver safety on its Twitter and Facebook pages throughout this week.

DOL’s social media will be sharing information about distracted driving, seat belt use, underage drinking, driving under the influence of marijuana, rules for the road, and more.

You can also learn more about teen driver safety on this fact sheet. The sheet includes steps parents can take to help teens become better drivers.

The state’s Target Zero campaign also has this helpful info graphic for parents, too.

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

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 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 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 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.

Protecting Teen Drivers with 5 simple rules

October 16, 2015

5-to-drive-1National Teen Driver Safety Week is Oct. 18-24, and the Washington State Patrol, Washington Traffic Safety Commission, numerous partners around the state, and the Department of Licensing want to encourage parents to use the “5 to Drive” rules to talk to their teen drivers about safety on the road.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for teens and young adults. In 2014, there were 530 serious injury crashes and 147 fatalities among Washington drivers between the ages of 16 and 25.

“Young drivers need extra support and parents can help reduce the risk of a crash by insisting teens follow our state’s intermediate driver licensing requirements and insisting on safe driving behavior,” said Pat Kohler, DOL Director. “We’re promoting the ‘5 to Drive’ rules as a simple, common sense way parents can keep teen drivers safe.”

Parents can easily ask their teens to agree to the following “5 to Drive” rules before handing over their car keys:

“Distracted and impaired driving can be prevented,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. “This is an opportunity for parents to act as positive role models and talk to their teenagers about these simple steps to prevent tragedies before they occur.”

For more information about Teen Driver Safety Week and the “5 to Drive” campaign, please visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website at: It has detailed information and statistics, and informative videos designed to help save the lives of teen drivers.

The video below is from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s YouTube channel. This video shows us why it’s important for parents to talk to their teens about this important issue.