Go online and you may be able to skip waiting in line at DOL

July 11, 2017

Since 2015, more than 400,000 customers waited in line unnecessarily at Washington State driver licensing offices for transactions they could have completed from the comfort of home by visiting dol.wa.gov.

If all 400,000 had gone online, the result would have been an average of 13,000 fewer people in line per month. Less in-office traffic means downsized wait times so that customers can quickly get back to the responsibilities and activities in their lives that matter.

Our online services don’t eliminate the need for all in-office transactions, however many common licensing needs such as changing an address or renewing a license can be easily completed on your phone or computer. The information provided at dol.wa.gov can help also you avoid long wait times and unnecessary trips.

Plan on visiting us soon? Review the following reminders for a more efficient experience:

 

  1. Skip a trip, renew online

Did you know that you only need to update your driver license photo every other renewal cycle? That’s once every twelve years! If you don’t need a new photo, just go to dol.wa.gov to see if you can renew and skip the line! You’ll conveniently receive a new license within days and avoid having to come up with a clever hashtag to accompany that obligatory “never ending line at the DOL” tweet. Unsure about whether the services you need are offered online or if you are eligible to renew online? Check out DOL’s online services page.

  1. Know before you go

Arriving at the front of the line just to discover the piece of identification necessary to complete your transaction is sitting on the kitchen counter at home is everyone’s least favorite way to wrap up lunch hour. Visit dol.wa.gov to find out which documents and identification you’ll need to bring in so that our staff can take care of your licensing needs. Also keep in mind that we are not able to accept photocopies of documents.

  1. Visit during the middle of the week

If you must visit an office in person, try to head in before noon — preferably during the middle of the week.  An additional step you can take to avoid line gridlock is to stop by the Office Locations page to check wait times and hours of operation. Bonus tip: Use the office locations page to see if there is an office nearby that has shorter lines than the location you normally visit. Sometimes a few more minutes spent in the car can reduce your wait time significantly.

  1. Beware the lunch hour line

This may seem like a given, but please let us reiterate: Do not visit a licensing office between noon and one pm! We guarantee that on any given afternoon several other people had the exact same idea and staffing may be more limited due to staff rotating off the counter to take their lunch break.

 

  1. Check the calendar for holidays

We know your ideal Christmas Eve would be spent refreshing your newsfeed while waiting for your number to be called, but please avoid visiting us on holidays, as our offices are usually closed. When in doubt, go online to check the hours of operation of the office you plan to visit and remember to anticipate a spike in wait times in the days prior to and following a long weekend.


It’s time to renew: 2016 boat decals expire June 30

June 8, 2016
Everett Marina with Mt. Baker

DOL

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.


Washington Drivers Getting 6-Year Licenses

August 14, 2014

OLYMPIA—Starting this month, most Washington drivers renewing their licenses will have an additional year until their next visit to the Department of Licensing as the state transitions from a five-year driver license renewal cycle to a six-year cycle.

By extending the renewal cycle to six years, drivers in our state won’t have to visit DOL offices as often. Over time, this change also will reduce the number of drivers and ID card holders visiting DOL offices each year. This will help keep wait times as low as possible for all our customers.

The cost of a basic driver license or ID card will remain at $9 per year, but most customers will be paying for an additional year, so the total renewal cost will change from $45 for five years to $54 for six years.

Moving to a six-year driver license is expected to reduce the average number of annual renewals by more than 100,000. In order to evenly distribute all of our state’s licensed drivers into six years of roughly equal and lower renewal volumes, some drivers will be selected to receive a license extension for less than six years.

Beginning August 10, approximately 20 percent of drivers with licenses expiring in October will be selected at random by DOL’s license issuance system to receive a five-year license. The remaining 80 percent will receive a six-year license.

DOL will continue this gradual transition for the next five years by selecting 20 percent of drivers each year to receive licenses valid for less than six years. During the second year of this process, 20 percent of drivers will get a license valid for four years. In the third year, 20 percent will get a license valid for three years. In the fourth year, 20 percent will get a two-year license. In the final year, 20 percent will receive a one-year license.

Drivers randomly selected to receiving shorter renewal periods will only pay for the number of years their license is valid and will be eligible to renew online.

Click here for more info on DOL’s website.



DOL makes managing driver and vehicle licenses easier

September 17, 2012
DOL image

DOL image

OLYMPIA—The Department of Licensing introduced a fast, easy way to manage your driver license and all of your vehicle, trailer and boat licenses in one secure online service called License Express.

This new service allows people to take care of all of the most common DOL license transactions like renewals and address changes. It also makes it easy to take care of many less common tasks like ordering a duplicate driver license or ID card, signing up for email renewal reminders, ordering copies of your driving record and report the sale of vehicles or boats.

It’s no secret our customers typically dread a trip to a local driver licensing office to wait for service,” Licensing Director Alan Haight said. “License Express is like having a DOL office at home.”

License Express ties together DOL’s most popular online services that, individually, have been used more than 2.5 million times by customers wanting to skip a trip to an office. DOL plans to keep improving this new service over time and adding more features to make it even more useful and save DOL customers more time.

License Express takes advantage of a highly secure login process through the state’s Secure Access Washington service to safeguard personal information.

DOL customers can learn more about this new service and sign up at the DOL website at dol.wa.gov.


NEW VIDEO: “Because time is precious…”

March 1, 2010

by Mark Horner

There are times when one might want to take a few baby steps while promoting an exciting opportunity.  That’s what we do with our latest video about the Department of Licensing’s online services.  Literally! See what we mean as you watch this video, titled, Because time is precious…


VIDEO: Something new at your local DOL office

September 11, 2009

by Mark Horner

From a distance it might look like an ATM or, perhaps, a 70’s video game console you once huddled-around with friends at the skate deck a generation (or more) ago.  But take a closer look and you’ll find a simple use of some modern technology that can really save you time when you visit a Licensing Service Office.

In a moment, I’ll copy and paste the DOL’s news release about this helpful technology.  And I’ll ad some bonus info, too.  But first, here’s a new video featuring the time saving machines that we’re calling, “self-service stations.”

Now, here’s today’s news release from the DOL:

New options help reduce wait times at licensing service offices

OLYMPIA—The Department of Licensing has installed self service stations in 30 licensing service offices (LSOs) around the state, so customers can skip the wait and take care of many routine online licensing transactions quickly and easily.

Installing self service stations is part of DOL’s commitment to improve service by offering several different service options. A total of 50 self service stations have been installed in 30 DOL offices across the state.

To use the self service stations, customers must pay with a debit or credit card, and be conducting routine business, such as renewing a driver license, ordering a duplicate license, or ordering vehicle tabs. See how a Self Service Station works on our YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/walicensing.

Self Service Stations print a temporary driver license that cannot be used for photo identification. A permanent driver license is mailed within 10 days.

Online services from The Department of Labor and Industries are also available at these Self Service Stations. The home screen allows customers to choose which agency to do business with.

Another new service option is the ability for customers to renew their driver licenses by mail. In the first 30 days of availability, nearly 10,000 customers have skipped a trip to an LSO and instead renewed by mail. Customers eligible to use mail-in renewal will automatically receive a return envelope and instructions with their driver license renewal notice.

Eligible customers can renew their driver license online or by mail every other renewal cycle.

“People eligible to take advantage of our online or mail in service options won’t have to visit an LSO in person more than once every ten years,” DOL Director Liz Luce said. “We are thrilled to give our customers more service options than just visiting a brick and mortar location.”

These new options come as part of Governor Gregoire’s 21st Century Government plan. Under this plan, 10 LSO locations across the state are being consolidated with other offices and many new service options are being made available.

# # #

And now—as promised—the bonus info. Here is a list of DOL office locations where you’ll find the self-service stations.  This list also includes the number of self-service stations at each location.

Bellingham, 2
West Olympia — business licensing, 1
Bremerton, 2
Centralia, 1
Downtown Seattle, 1
Everett, 2
Federal Way, 2
High Way Licensing Building (Olympia), 1
Kelso, 1
Kennewick, 1
Kent, 2
Kirkland, 2
Lacey, 1
Lynnwood, 2
Moses Lake, 1
Mount Vernon, 1
New Supercenter (Bel-Red Road, opening 10/6), 2
Parkland, 2
Pullman, 2
Puyallup, 2
Renton, 2
Shoreline, 1
Smokey Point, 2
Spokane Valley, 2
Spokane, 2
Tacoma, 2
Union Gap,  2
Vancouver East, 1
Vancouver North, 2
West Seattle, 2
Wenatchee, 1

If you use one of our self-service stations, we’d love to hear from you.  As always, we enjoy reading your comments and will carefully consider your input.

Have a great weekend and enjoy this wonderful, late-summer weather!