Final phase of DOL’s new professional and business licensing service available June 29

June 18, 2020

DOL logoThe Department of Licensing (DOL) will roll out the final phase of its professional and business licensing system’s technology modernization project on Monday, June 29.

“Our new license renewal system will benefit all of our professional licensees, and allow them to manage their licenses and renewal online,” said Jennifer Clawson, DOL’s assistant director of the Business and Professions Division.

The agency’s professional and business licensing system will be temporarily shut down for 10 days, from June 19 through June 28, to ensure a successful transition to the new system. During the outage, customers will be unable to process any professional or business license applications or renewals.

This system replacement improves and expands convenient online services for professional license holders such as real estate brokers, cosmetologists, tattoo artists, and security guards. The new system will allow them to:

  • Pay license fees using more online payment options
  • Self-print licenses
  • Check application or renewal status
  • Manage account information

The new system includes extra security features to protect customer data and an online option for the public to submit complaints and look up the status of a professional license.

Starting June 29, this phase will include the following programs:

  • Auctioneers
  • Bail bonds
  • Body art, body piercing, and tattoo
  • Combative sports
  • Commercial driver license schools
  • Cosmetology and cosmetology schools
  • Court reporters
  • Driver training schools
  • Employment agencies
  • Home inspectors
  • Motorcycle training schools
  • Private investigators
  • Private security guards
  • Real estate brokers, managing brokers, firms, and schools

The first phase, completed in November 2019, included the following programs:

  • Appraisers and appraisal management companies
  • Architects
  • Camping resorts and timeshares
  • Engineers
  • Funeral and cemeteries
  • Geologists
  • Land surveyors
  • Landscape architects
  • Notaries
  • On-site wastewater

Important updates about title transfers, first-time registrations, and dealer permits

April 17, 2020

Many vehicle/vessel licensing offices are still providing services in person, online, and by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most registrations can be renewed online or by mail. Those unable to renew online or by mail can still renew in person.

Here are some important notices regarding title transfers, first-time Washington registrations, and temporary dealer permits:

  • Title transfers: In-person title transfers can still be done. Customers should call ahead to find an office to assist them. If someone is unable to transfer a title within 15 days for COVID-19-related reasons, the late fee will be waived.
  • First-time registrations: People registering their vehicle for the first time in Washington state are required to have an unexpired Washington driver license. Because driver licensing offices are closed, people who are new to the state or need a first-time license are unable to get one. Until driver licensing offices reopen, customers can call or visit a vehicle/vessel licensing office to request a temporary registration permit allowing them to legally drive.
  • Dealer permits: Customers with expiring temporary dealer permits can request a temporary registration permit from a vehicle licensing office. Customers may need to request these permits multiple times depending on how long offices are closed.

We’ve been able to continue providing many essential services while following the governor’s directives during the pandemic. To do so, we’ve had to make some operational changes that may be less convenient for customers. We appreciate the feedback we’ve received as we help Washington residents live, work, drive, and thrive during this challenging time.


Ahoy! Vessel registration renewals are due by June 30

April 16, 2020

It’s that time again, boaters: To stay valid, boat registrations are due to be renewed by June 30 each year in Washington state.

Registration decals are good for the period of July 1 through June 30 of each year. If your boat is currently registered, go online to renew for the coming year. You can also visit a vehicle/vessel licensing office, many of which remain open during the “stay home, stay healthy” order. Mail-in renewal may also be an option.

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 dol.wa.gov — 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.


Licensing service offices temporarily closed to public to help limit spread of coronavirus

March 16, 2020

DOL logoIn response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Washington state, the Department of Licensing is temporarily closing its driver licensing offices and other service counters to the public starting Tuesday, March 17. DOL employees will be working to implement social distancing measures in these offices to protect the health of customers and workers while delivering critical services to the public.

Gov. Jay Inslee today signed a statewide emergency proclamation regarding efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, approving the temporary suspension of two provisions in state law. This will allow us to take the following actions to promote social distancing. These waivers are in effect 30 days from their effective dates unless renewed.

  • Effective immediately, we will not administer vision tests for driver license applicants. We currently do not have adequate supplies to clean the machines. Additionally, vision exams have a 99.6% pass rate. We believe this move is prudent given the circumstances.
  • Effective March 23 (because we need time to implement), more people will be able to renew their driver license or ID card online. Laws and rules were temporarily suspended that require residents to visit an office to renew every other time and prohibited customers under age 24 and over 70 from renewing online.

As it stands, driver licensing offices are expected to resume business Monday, March 23. But residents should be prepared for the possibility of extended closures.

“We do not take the decision to close any office lightly,” said Teresa Berntsen, Department of Licensing director. “Amid an unprecedented health emergency, we are taking these extraordinary steps in the best interests of the public we serve. Please heed the governor’s orders, as we have, to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus in our communities through appropriate social distancing. Our thanks to Gov. Inslee for his support in providing additional options for more residents to be able to use our online services.”

Residents are encouraged to go online to dol.wa.gov, if possible, for their licensing needs.

Vehicle licensing offices (VLOs) are contracted through county auditors and may be open. VLOs handle vehicle tabs, boat decals, 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’s a good idea to check a VLO’s status and call ahead.

Questions? Contact us:

  • Driver licensing: 360-902-3900
  • Vehicle licensing: 360-902-3770
  • Email: CustomerCare@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.