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. You will not receive a new card.

Please renew online, if possible.

Important Information for CDL Holders

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has granted an extension on the validity of commercial driver licenses (CDLs) that were valid on Feb. 29 and which expire on or after March 1, 2020. DOL will send letters to CDL holders set to expire during this time notifying them their license is extended to June 30, 2020.

Commercial drivers should carry a copy of their expired medical certificate to show their license or permit expiration date was on or after March 1, 2020.

DOL Offices Are 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

REAL ID enforcement date postponed indefinitely due to coronavirus pandemic

March 24, 2020

Child at airportPresident Trump announced Monday that enforcement of the REAL ID Act has been postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic. This decision is expected to promote social distancing in the months ahead by reducing the number of people visiting driver licensing offices to obtain compliant identification.

Passed by Congress in 2005 in an effort to strengthen security standards after 9/11, the REAL ID Act had been scheduled to take effect Oct. 1, 2020. A new deadline has not been set.

When enforcement of the REAL ID Act begins, every air traveler 18 years of age or older will need a compliant form of ID in order to fly within the United States or access certain federal buildings, including military bases. There are many options.

Washington state issues two types of REAL ID-compliant documents: enhanced driver licenses (EDLs) and enhanced ID cards (EIDs). These can be obtained only by visiting a driver licensing service office. With the enforcement date pushed back, residents seeking an ID upgrade can rest a little easier and avoid our offices for a while.

Residents with standard driver licenses and IDs who will eventually want an enhanced version can renew online now and upgrade later for only the difference in cost ($4 per year).

About one-third of Americans have a REAL ID-compliant document, according to the Department of Homeland Security.


As temporary grace period takes effect, DOL urges online renewals for all driver licenses and ID cards

March 23, 2020

Renew online at dol.wa.govSocial distancing measures are key to efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. With that in mind, the Department of Licensing is urging all eligible residents to go online to renew their Washington state driver license or identification card.

If your document expires anytime within the next year, you can renew online for the next 30 days.

Even if you renewed online last time.

Even if you’re under age 24 or over 70.

Because of the governor’s recent emergency proclamation, a provision in state law that requires every other renewal to be in person was temporarily suspended. Persons under age 24 and over 70 also were exempted and all vision tests waived for 30 days.

Please take advantage of these relaxed rules and renew online now. It will save you time and, more importantly, risk of exposure to COVID-19.

If you are unable to complete your transaction online and it involves an essential function as outlined in the governor’s guidelines, you can make an appointment by calling 360-902-3900. Please be patient, as call volumes are high.

We appreciate your patience as we work to make our offices – and our processes – safer for visitors and DOL staff alike.


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 2020 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.


Washington Department of Licensing takes steps to comply with Real ID Act

June 1, 2018

New marking to be added to all standard-issue driver licenses and ID cards

Examples and features of standard driver license and enhanced driver license.

Choose the identification that works best for you. (Click for larger view)

Olympia – Starting July 1, 2018, the Department of Licensing (DOL) will begin marking all standard driver licenses and ID cards with the language, “federal limits apply.”

The change aims to bring Washington into compliance with the federal Real ID Act, which requires all states to mark identification documents that do not comply with the federal law. Under Legislation signed (app.leg.wa.gov) by Gov. Jay Inslee, DOL expects to be in full compliance with the REAL ID Act by fall 2018.

Over the next two years, all Washington residents will have to make a choice about their identity documents. By October 1, 2020, standard driver licenses and ID cards will no longer be an acceptable form of identification for boarding domestic flights and entering some secure federal facilities, like military bases and nuclear power plants.

DOL’s enhanced driver licenses (EDLs) and enhanced ID (EIDs) cards are Real ID compliant, and valid for travel as are passports, permanent resident cards and military IDs.

Standard driver license and ID cards can continue to be used for the following:

  • Driving
  • Applying for or receiving federal benefits
  • Entering a federal facility that does not require ID (post office)

An enhanced driver license or ID card is completely voluntary and optional. Some commonly needed documents to get an EDL/EID are certified birth certificate, U.S. passport or military ID.

full list of document options for obtaining an enhanced driver license or ID card is available on the DOL website.

“If you know you will not be flying or already have a federally approved document such as a U.S. passport, passport card or military ID, you do not need an enhanced driver license or ID card,” said DOL Director Pat Kohler.  “There is plenty of time to educate yourself on all options and choose the identification that works best for you.”

For a full list of federally accepted documents and information about REAL ID and what it means for Washington, visit the DOL website.


State begins rolling out six-year driver licenses on February 10

February 6, 2014
WA DOL

WA DOL

Beginning February 10, all new driver license applicants will receive a license that’s valid for six years, as the Department of Licensing starts transitioning from a five-year to a six-year driver license.

New driver license applicants include individuals applying for their first license and those who are transferring their licenses from another state.

The per-year cost for a driver license will remain at $9 per year, but new applicants will pay for the additional year, which changes the fee from $45 to $54, not including the $35 application fee.

Adding a new motorcycle endorsement for up to six years will cost $2 per year.

Washingtonians who are obtaining their first Washington state ID cards will also be issued a card valid for six years beginning on February 10, at a cost of $54, or $9 per year.

Those renewing a current Washington driver licenses or ID cards will start transitioning to a six-year renewal period later this year.

In 2012, the Washington State Legislature authorized extending driver’s license terms from five to six years to improve customer service by reducing customer volumes and wait times in driver license offices.