How to get your endorsement or permit: Motorcycles (2-wheel)
There are 2 ways to get a 2-wheel motorcycle endorsement:
- Successfully complete a motorcycle safety course at an approved motorcycle training school:
- The safety course will include the knowledge and riding skills tests to get your endorsement.
- After you pass the safety course, bring your course completion card to any driver licensing office within 180 days to get your motorcycle endorsement.
- Pass the knowledge and riding skills tests:
- If you’re a teen rider under 18 years old
- You must satisfactorily complete an approved rider course before you can apply for a motorcycle endorsement. You must have parental permission to take the course, and to apply for the endorsement.
- If you have a valid motorcycle license or endorsement from another state
- See Moving? Get WA license to learn how to get a Washington State driver license. To transfer your motorcycle endorsement when you get your Washington license, you’ll also need to bring:
- Proof of your current motorcycle license or endorsement.
- An additional fee for the endorsement.
Note: If you don’t transfer your endorsement when you apply for a Washington driver license, you’ll need to complete a motorcycle safety course or pass the knowledge and riding skills tests to get a motorcycle endorsement.
- If you’re a non-resident stationed in Washington on military duty
- Successfully complete an state-approved safety course at a motorcycle training school or military base.
- Apply for a Washington State driver license. For details, see Moving? Get WA license.
- Bring your course completion card to any driver licensing office within 180 days to get your motorcycle endorsement.
- If you’re a Washington resident stationed out of state on military duty
- Complete and pass:
- An approved Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course.
- A Basic Rider Training course (Idaho and Oregon).
- A military motorcycle safety course.
- Send us all of the following:
- A letter requesting a motorcycle endorsement. The letter must include:
- Your current Washington residence address.
- Your current out-of-state mailing address.
- Your current email address (if applicable).
- A copy of both sides of your Washington driver license.
- A copy of both sides of your course completion card. (Must be received within 180 days of completing the course)
- Proof of your active military status (orders, letter from your commanding officer, earning statement, etc.)
- A check or money order payable to Department of Licensing for the fee.
- If you have an Enhanced Driver License (EDL), you must surrender your EDL to add the motorcycle endorsement by completing the Notice of Surrender form.
- Mail your request letter, supporting documents, and fee to:
Department of Licensing
301 E Wallace Kneeland Blvd, Ste 224
Shelton, WA 98584-2987
Motorcycle instruction permits
To apply for a motorcycle instruction permit, you must:
- Be at least 16 years old.
- Have a valid Washington State driver license.
- Pass the knowledge test on motorcycle operation.
- If you’re under 18 years old, have a parent or guardian sign the consent form when you apply.
Rules for riding with a permit
While riding with an instruction permit on a public roadway:
- You may not carry passengers.
- You may not ride a motorcycle during the hours of darkness.
If you need to renew your permit
Permits are valid for 90 days. You can renew your permit 1 time for an additional 90 days by visiting a driver licensing office and paying a renewal fee.
- To qualify to renew your permit, you must have:
- Passed the knowledge test less than 180 days ago.
- Had no more than 1 permit in the past 5 years.
- You may qualify to retake the knowledge test to be issued a third permit upon presentation of documented evidence that you are enrolled in a motorcycle skills education class with a start date prior to the expiration of the third permit. The Department may not issue more than three motorcycle instruction permits to an applicant within a five-year period.
Knowledge and riding skills test fees are set by each training school. These testing fees are paid to the school in addition to the following application and licensing fees paid to the Department of Licensing:
- Motorcycle instruction permit fee collected when we issue your instruction permit.
- Original motorcycle endorsement fee, which includes the application and new driver license.
- Motorcycle endorsement renewal fee paid in addition to the regular driver license renewal fees.
Frequently asked questions
Am I required to have insurance for my motorcycle?
No, insurance isn’t required for motorcycles in Washington. However, Oregon, Idaho, and Canada do require motorcycle insurance. When riding out of state, it’s your responsibility to follow the laws of the state you’re in. If you don’t have insurance in a state that requires it, you could be ticketed.
My motorcycle speedometer reads up to 60 mph, but I never ride faster than 30 mph. Do I need an endorsement?
Yes. If your speedometer reads faster than 30 mph, you need a motorcycle endorsement. Just because you don’t go as fast as your motorcycle is capable of doesn’t make you exempt from the endorsement requirement.
Can my child be a passenger on my motorcycle?
Yes, if they’re at least 5 years old and able to reach the foot pegs.
Can I put the license plates on my motorcycle vertically?
No. License plates must be placed in a horizontal position and visible at all times. Not meeting these requirements is one of the top 10 reasons riders are stopped by law enforcement.
I have an Ignition Interlock License (IIL). Can I get a motorcycle endorsement?
No. You can’t add a motorcycle endorsement until the IIL requirement has been dropped from your license.
Are novelty helmets legal to wear?
No. All helmets must be certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Make sure your helmet is certified. Look for the DOT sticker on the outside of the helmet and on the inside. A sticker will have the manufacturer’s name/identification, model, size, month/year of manufacture, and instructions about the construction and other safety-related information.