Updated Motorcycle Operator Manual now available online in English and Spanish

January 8, 2020

Washington Motorcycle Operator ManualWhether you’re thinking about getting a two- or three-wheel motorcycle or you simply want to brush up on riding laws and best practices, the Washington Motorcycle Operator Manual is a great resource.

The newly updated manual is now available online in both English and Spanish. It can be read there, downloaded, and printed. An English-language hard copy can be obtained at any licensing service office, with Spanish versions in production and arriving soon.

The new and improved guide includes information about the new permit and endorsement process, new liability insurance requirements, and much more. It’s everything riders and prospective riders need to know about safely and legally operating a motorcycle on Washington state roads.

The Motorcycle Operator Manual features information provided by National Public Services Research Institute (NPSRI), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), Evergreen Safety Council (ESC), and the American Association of Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).

For more information on endorsement and permit fees, motorcycle laws, or to find a training/testing provider, visit dol.wa.gov.


Bellevue-Redmond licensing service office moves to new, bigger location starting Jan. 7, 2020

January 6, 2020

DOL logoEffective Tuesday, Jan. 7, the Bellevue-Redmond licensing service office has a new home: 7225 170th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98052.

The new, renovated location features more counters, enabling us to provide better, more efficient customer service. It also has a much bigger parking lot than the old location on Bel-Red Road in Bellevue. The last day of operation at that office was Jan. 4.

Go online anytime to see office hours, up-to-the-minute wait times, and services offered at the new Bellevue-Redmond office (or any licensing office in Washington).

The new office can be reached by phone at 425-649-4281. Customer questions can also be directed to our call center at 360-902-3900 or by email to CustomerCare@dol.wa.gov. Many services do not require an office visit and may be available at dol.wa.gov.


Initiative 976-related changes to vehicle registration fees and taxes on hold after injunction

November 15, 2019

DOL logo

UPDATE – NOV. 27, 2019: A King County Superior Court judge has issued an injunction in the court challenge to Initiative 976. The Washington State Department of Licensing will continue to collect all vehicle fees and taxes unless directed otherwise by a court. See our updated Fact Sheet for more information.


Nov. 15, 2019 – After the recent passage of I-976, commonly known as the $30 car-tab initiative, the Washington State Department of Licensing is working to implement changes to affected vehicle registration fees and taxes. The initiative takes effect Dec. 5, 2019.

Any possible changes to the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET), also known as the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) tax, will happen later. While DOL collects this tax, it goes toward Sound Transit projects.

DOL is working to understand the effects of pending legal actions related to I-976. Implementation efforts will persist unless a court directs otherwise.

I-976 reduces or eliminates several fees and taxes while retaining others.


REAL ID rush is coming: Avoid the crowds, renew up to a year early

September 12, 2019

Did you know you can renew your Washington state driver license or ID card up to a year before it expires?

If you’re considering it, now’s the time to act. Licensing service offices tend to be less busy from September through April. And next year is no ordinary year.

On Oct. 1, 2020, the REAL ID Act goes into effect. Under this federal law, standard driver licenses and IDs will no longer be valid for the purposes of flying or accessing facilities such as military bases. Washington residents have several options for acceptable identification, including an enhanced driver license (EDL) or enhanced ID (EID).

A resident’s first EDL or EID can’t be obtained without visiting an office. Thus, the Department of Licensing expects a significant surge of in-person transactions as REAL ID enforcement draws closer.

This will inevitably lead to longer lines and wait times, but you can avoid the crowds by renewing early. Many customers can renew online. If you need to come in, choose any office.

Whatever you do, don’t delay. Our offices are only going to get busier as October 2020 approaches, and nobody likes sitting in traffic.

Even if you’ve been putting it off, it’s not too late to save yourself some time and trouble. If your license or ID is expired 60 days or less, there’s no late fee to renew (though you could be penalized by law enforcement). If your license is expired over 60 days, the late fee is $10.

Learn more about REAL ID.


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.


Downtown Seattle licensing service office is moving to a new location starting July 30

July 22, 2019

DOL logoSeattle is growing, and we’re growing along with it.

Effective Tuesday, July 30, our downtown Seattle licensing service office will be housed in a new location:

450 3rd Ave W, Suite 100
Seattle, WA 98119

July 26 is the last day at the Spring Street office.

Although the new office will normally be open on Mondays, it will be closed July 29 so we can install and test new cameras, finish office setup, and acclimate staff. We’ll be ready to serve the public the following day.

With nearly double the space of the Spring Street office, the new location on 3rd Avenue will help with customer flow and provide a more comfortable environment for visitors and staff. The addition of three work counters, cameras at each workstation, and other updated equipment and software will also help us more effectively meet customer needs.

The change of address won’t affect hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.


Reminder: All boat registration renewals in Washington state are due by June 30

June 7, 2019

Boat registrations in Washington must be renewed by June 30.

As boating season revs up, make sure you’re not left high and dry. To stay valid, boat registrations are due to be renewed by June 30 each year in Washington state.

Registration decals are good for one year, beginning on July 1. If your boat is currently registered, go online to renew for the coming year. You can also visit a vehicle/vessel licensing office.

If your registration is expired:

  • You can renew online for the current registration year only (before June 30).
  • You can renew online for the coming registration year only after you’ve renewed for the current year.
  • If you have not registered for the current year and wish to renew for the coming year, visit a vehicle/vessel licensing office after July 1.

If you are purchasing a boat or bringing one in from out of state, you must register it within 15 days.

Want to receive reminders by email? Sign up at the Department of Licensing website — just scroll to the bottom and click on “Get or update email reminders.” It takes less than a minute.

If you need further assistance, please call 360-902-3770 or email CustomerCare@dol.wa.gov.