Learn a new trick and take advantage of DOL online services

August 19, 2020

DOL logo

The Department of Licensing (DOL) continues transitioning more of its services online. During the pandemic we have been adjusting our service model to try to help as many people as possible as safely as possible. The health and safety of our employees and customers is always our top priority.

Social distancing measures and other health guidelines are in place and capacity at driver licensing offices has been significantly reduced and there is limited appointment availability. This could mean waiting a while for an appointment date. Please go online first.

DOL online services are the first option in most instances.

There are a lot of services you can do online. Customers are strongly encouraged to go to our website first and take advantage of the following services:

  • Renewing a driver license, identification card, vehicle registration, or instruction permit online. Persons under age 24 and over 70 may renew online for a limited time.
  • Applying for a first-time non-photo instruction permit.
  • Commercial driver licenses (CDLs) and commercial learner permits (CLPs) expiring on or after March 1 were extended to Sept. 30, 2020. All CDL types and endorsements are covered.
  • Driver licenses and instruction permits expiring March 1 through Sept. 30, 2020 have been automatically extended.
  • Obtaining an enhanced driver licenses (EDLs) and enhanced IDs (EIDs) can wait. The REAL ID enforcement date has been pushed back a year to Oct. 1, 2021. TSA will accept expired state ID at checkpoints if people are unable to renew at a driver licensing office.

Appointments are strictly for customers whose only option is to visit a driver licensing office.

We greatly appreciate those people who have done their transactions online so that people who are required to have an in-person appointment can get one.

Services offered by appointment only include:

  • First-time driver license, including knowledge and skills testing (where offered)
  • First-time identification card
  • Enhanced driver license (EDL) and enhanced ID (EID)
  • Name change on license/ID
  • Photo instruction permit
  • Commercial driver license (CDL) and commercial learner permit (CLP)
  • Agricultural permit, including knowledge and skills testing (where offered)
  • Reinstatement, including knowledge and skills testing (where offered)
  • Occupational restricted license
  • Driver training school instructor test

Customers can only make an appointment 30 days out. A limited number of new appointment slots (30 days out) do open up daily. The scheduling system automatically offers the first available dates. If appointment slots are filled, customers can try again the next day.

Those who show up to an office without an appointment will be scheduled for a return visit or redirected as needed. 

Vehicle Licensing Offices are open

Vehicle licensing offices (VLOs) are open. They will help you with vehicle tabs, boat decals, license plates, reports of vehicle sale or transfer of ownership, vehicle/boat registrations, trip permits, replacement titles, disabled parking placards/tabs, and more. You can find your nearest vehicle office on our website.

Contact Us

Please be patient, as call volumes are high due to the pandemic.

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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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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.

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.


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

It’s time to renew: 2013 boat decals expire June 30

May 23, 2013
Everett Marina with Mt. Baker

DOL image

OLYMPIA—Boating season is here, and the deadline for renewing boat and watercraft registration decals is right around the corner. All Washington state boat registrations expire on June 30.

Don’t let an expired registration spoil your day; remember to renew before you get out on the water.

 Boat registrations can be renewed online at the DOL website or in person at a neighborhood vehicle licensing office. Those who choose to renew at an office should make sure to note the registration number on the bow of the boat or watercraft and take that information to the office. 

 Due to budget cuts, DOL discontinued paper renewal notices for boats in 2010 and instead offered boat owners the opportunity to sign up to receive email renewal reminders. It’s too late to sign up for an email renewal reminder for this year, but boat owners can sign up online at dol.wa.gov to receive renewal reminders by email in the future.

Skip a Trip — Go Online. The Department of Licensing has a wide variety of consumer services available online. Please visit our website at dol.wa.gov.