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 dol.wa.gov.

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.

Spanish/español

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Gender “X” option now available on driver licenses, instruction permits, and ID cards

November 13, 2019

Starting today, residents can change their gender designation to “X” on a Washington driver license, instruction permit, or identification card. The “X” is an alternative to “M” for male or “F” for female, and is available to anyone.

A third gender option ensures that all Washington residents have identification documents that reflect their gender identity. Accurate gender markers on such documents help residents of all genders access public spaces and resources, and reduce the risk of violence, discrimination, and harassment.

“Everyone deserves to have their lived experience of gender and identity reflected as accurately as possible on their identification documents,” Department of Licensing Director Teresa Berntsen said. “This, in turn, helps reduce barriers to housing, transportation, education, and employment. It’s in service to our purpose of helping all Washington residents live, work, drive, and thrive.”

An “X” gender designation will not affect the validity of identification used to comply with the REAL ID Act when enforcement begins Oct. 1, 2020. The REAL ID-compliant forms of identification issued by Washington state are the enhanced driver license (EDL) and enhanced ID card (EID), though residents have other options.

Before adding “X” as a gender option, DOL held public hearings in August in Seattle, Spokane, and Olympia regarding rule language. In June, listening sessions were held in Seattle and Spokane to solicit public opinion.

The move to allow a nonbinary designation on driver licenses and ID cards aligns with a similar rule change enacted by the state Department of Health. As of January 2018, people born in Washington can change their gender designation on their birth certificate.


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.


Department of Licensing launches new, time-saving online driver licensing services

September 12, 2013
WA DOL

WA DOL

DOL recently introduced two new online services that will save our customers time. The first, our Online Driver License Pre-Application, allows individuals seeking their first Washington State driver license or ID card to start the process online to save themselves time in our offices. When they do visit a driver license office, our staff simply verifies the information provided while validating their identity documents.  
 
The second new online application is designed for teens with an instruction (learner’s) permit. After they successfully complete the required traffic safety course and driver testing at a licensed driver training school, they can go online to finalize their driver license and pay the required licensing fees without another visit to a driver licensing office. After completing the simple online process, their new license is mailed to them, saving them the second visit to a driver license office.