Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Washington
Compare Insurance Rates in 3 Easy Steps
1. Start Your Quote:
- 1) Choose Your License
- 2) Take a Driver’s Education Course
- 3) Prepare for the Test
- 4) Locate a WA MVC Office
- 5) Make Test-Day Preparations
- 6) Take the Washington Written Test
- 7) Get a Car
- 8) Get Car Insurance
- 9) Take the Driving Test
- 10) Receive Your Washington License in the Mail
- Regular Driver’s License; sometimes referred to as a Personal Drivers License (PDL)
- Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) which doubles as a border passport
- Commercial Driver Licenses (Class A, B, and C)
NOTE: You must take a traffic safety class if you’re younger than 18.
18 and Older― While you’re not obligated to take a driver’s ed class, it would be a smart idea. A class will help you pass the written and driving tests.
DOL offices don’t have appointments for written tests. Try to go in during their less busy times, like in the middle (not lunch) of a workday.
Before you take the test, be prepared to:
- Complete a driver education course and provide an Affidavit of Parental Authorization to prove you have parental permission Your parents or guardian must accompany you to sign the affidavit and will need to provide proof of identification. (These requirements are for applicants younger than 18.)
- Provide proof of identification and age.
- Complete an application (available at an LSO office).
- Provide your Social Security number or proof of Washington residence.
- Pass the written and driving tests. The driving test requires an appointment, and you need to bring your own vehicle.
- Take a vision test.
- Provide proof of citizenship.
- Pay required license fee.
NOTE: The following office locations DO NOT accept credit or debit cards: Coulee Dam, Davenport, Friday Harbor, Forks, Goldendale, Newport, Republic, or South Bend.
New to the State
If you’ve just moved here from another state, you have 30 days to apply for a Washington driver’s license. If your license is still valid, you’ll just need to take the vision test and pay state license fee.
Your out-of-state license will be invalidated and returned to you along with your temporary Washington license. Your new license will be mailed in about five days.
Now that you’ve passed the test, you need a car to practice driving. Lots of people consider used cars to have the best value. Just remember to get a Vehicle History Report first. Though you do have to pay a fee, it’s worth it. The report tells you whether the car’s been in any big accidents or if it’s a flood or salvage title. And it’s one fee, with month-long access to all the cars you look at (all you need is the VIN).
Car insurance is the next step. Shop around for deals. See if anyone has a good driver or good student discount. Find out how much the insurance will be before you buy the car; some cars cost more to insure than others.
Make an appointment to take a road test. Bring an insured, registered car that’s in good working condition (no broken lights or seatbelts) plus an already-licensed driver.
Once You Pass
You have to get 80% to pass.
You’ll be issued a temporary license, good for 45 days.
If You Fail
The first time, you can retake it in one week. If you fail it again, you must wait one to three weeks.
Failing a third time means you have to wait three months.
Your license will be sent to you within a week and a half. If a month goes by and you haven’t gotten it, be sure to call the office.
After you become a resident, you must obtain a Washington license within 30 days. You follow the same steps as everyone else in applying for a new license, including testing.
If you’re from Germany, follow the same procedure as new to state drivers, with just a vision test and license fee payment. Germany is the only country with a reciprocity agreement with Washington.
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