Steps to getting your first driver license: Proof of identity

If you want a WA driver license, instruction permit, or ID card, we will need documents to show proof of your identity. Below are the instructions on what you need to bring to a driver licensing office.

1. Select a group below to see what documents you need to bring

Your age (or if you’re in the Job Corps) determines what you need to bring.

Under 18 years old:

Bring us document(s) from 1 of these groups:

  1. Stand-alone Documents – 1 item.
  2. A-List Documents – 2 items.
  3. A-List Documents – 1 item and B-List Documents – 2 items.
  4. B-List Documents – At least 4 items which include:
    • 1 item – Showing your name and birth date
    • and
    • 2 items – Showing your name and signature.
  5. Parental Authorization Affidavit.
    • Your parent/guardian must come with you to sign the affidavit.
    • Before signing the affidavit, they must show all of the following:
      • All documents required to prove their identity, such as:
        • Their WA state driver license
        • or
        • U.S. passport
      • Proof that they’re your parent/guardian, such as:
        • Your certified birth certificate
        • or
        • Adoption papers
        • or
        • A school transcript with their name on it
      • If your last name is different than your parent/guardian’s or they don’t have a Social Security number and their proof of identity is an out-of-state driver license, we’ll require more documents such as:
        • Divorce decree
        • or
        • Marriage certificate
18–25 years old:
Show us 1 of the options from the list below:
  • Option one: 1 – Stand-alone document
  • Option two: 2 – A-List documents
  • Option three: 3 items:
    • 1 – A-List document
    • and
    • 2 – B-List documents
  • Option four: At least 4 – B-List documents, including:
    • 1 – With your name and date of birth.
    • and
    • 1 – With your name and signature.
  • Option five: All of the following:
    • 1 – B-List document with your name and photo
      or
      Your parent/guardian’s verbal attestation.*
    • 1 – B-List Document with your name and date of birth:
      • Certified birth certificate,
      • Adoption papers,
      • or
      • Ward of the Court Decree/Order of Dependency.
    • Your Social Security number
      or
      Another ‘B-List Document’ with your name and signature
      or
      Your parent/guardian’s verbal attestation.*
    • Your parent/guardian must prove their identity with a document such as:
      • Washington state driver license or
      • U.S. passport.
    • Your parent/guardian must prove they are your parent/guardian with documents such as:
      • Your certified birth certificate
      • or
      • Your adoption papers
      • or
      • A school transcript with the parent/guardian’s name.
*Note: Your parent/guardian’s can use a verbal attestation instead of a name and photo or name and signature document, but not both.
Over 25 years old:
Show us 1 of the options from the list below:
  • Option 1: One “Stand-alone Document”
  • Option 2: Two “A-List Documents”
  • Option 3:
    • One “A-list Document”
    • and
    • Two “B-List Documents”
  • Option 4: At least four “B-List Documents” including:
    • One from the list of documents that have your name and date of birth
    • and
    • One showing your name and signature.
18 or older and have assigned court guardians:
Prove your identity by coming to a driver licensing office with your parent/guardian and showing us all of the following:
  • All documents required to prove your parent/guardian’s identity, such as their:
    • Washington state driver license
    • or
    • U.S. passport.
  • A court document assigning guardianship.
  • One “B-List Document” from the list below that has your name and date of birth, such as your:
    • Certified birth certificate
    • or
    • Adoption papers
    • or
    • Ward of the Court Decree/Order of Dependency.
  • Your Social Security number.
Enrolled in Job Corps:
Show us 1 of the options from the list below:
  • Option 1: One “Stand-alone Document”
  • Option 2: Two “A-List Documents”
  • Option 3:
    • One “A-List Document”
    • and
    • Two “B-List Documents”
  • Option 4: At least four “B-List Documents”, including:
    • One from the list of documents that have your name and date of birth
    • and
    • One showing name and signature.
  • Option 5: All of the following:
    • Your valid Job Corps ID card
    • Your Social Security number (we’ll verify it)
    • One “B-List Document” that has your name and date of birth, such as your:
      • Certified birth certificate
      • or
      • Adoption papers
      • or
      • Ward of the Court Decree/Order of Dependency.

2. See which documents we accept

Stand-alone Documents
  • WA State driver license, ID card, or instruction permit — Valid or expired within 1 year, has your signature, date of birth and photo.
  • Out-of-state driver license, ID card, or instruction permit (if you have a Social Security number) — Valid or expired within 60 days, has your photo and give us your Social Security number.
  • U.S. armed services ID card with photo — Valid.
  • U.S. passport — Valid, has your signature and photo (an emergency passport isn’t acceptable).
  • Immigration ID with signature — Valid, from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, with:
    • Your signature and photo and are identifiable (I-327, I-551, I-571, I-766).
    • or
    • A “Signature Waived” notation or encrypted signature on the back of the card.
  • U.S. Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization — An original with your signature and photo.
  • Department of Social and Health Services Children’s Administration (DSHS CA) ID letter
    If you're in:
    • Court-ordered foster care with DSHS, or
    • Another supervising Washington agency as your legal custodian, then
    • You may prove your identity with an ID letter from DSHS CA.
A-List Documents
  • Out-of-state driver license, ID card or instruction permit (if you don’t have a Social Security number) — Valid or expired within 60 days and has your photo.
  • Driver license from a foreign country — Valid or expired within 60 days, has security features and is verifiable.
  • Federal or state employee ID card — Valid, shows your signature and photo.
  • Foreign passport — Valid and stamped U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) entry form I-94/I94W or Temporary I-551 ADIT stamp.
  • Tribal enrollment ID card
    • Must be federally-recognized Indian tribal enrollment card, or U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs ID card
    • Must have your signature and photo.
  • Original U.S. Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization Where your signature and photo aren’t identifiable.
  • Verification letter — If you’re on work release, or supervised by an agency and we have an agreement with, provide a verification letter from them. We currently have agreements with:
    • Washington State Department of Corrections — electronic version only.
    • U.S. Federal correction authorities (FDOC).
    • Dept. of Social and Health Services Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (DSHS JRA) — electronic version only.
    • DSHS Children’s Administration (CA) — for foster youth only.
    • Western State Hospital (WSH).
  • Washington city or county police employee ID card — Valid, has your signature and photo.
  • U.S. Passport card — has your name and photo.
B-List Documents

Documents that establish your name and date of birth

  • Certified birth certificate. (Puerto Rico birth certificates must have an issue date of July 1, 2010 or later to be accepted.)
  • Certified Washington birth registration card.
  • A valid concealed weapons permit issued by a Washington county.
  • Consular report of birth abroad.
  • Court-issued adoption papers.
  • Military DD 214.
  • U.S. driver license, photo instruction permit, or ID card (invalidated or expired within the past 5 years).
  • U.S. passport (expired within the past 5 years).
  • Valid U.S. visa.
  • Veteran Administration ID with your name, photo, and date of birth.
  • Ward of the Court decree/Order of Dependency.
  • Washington State driver license, photo instruction permit, or ID card (invalidated or expired within the past 5 years).

Other acceptable “B-List Documents” with your name and date of birth, signature, photo, or current WA address

  • Divorce decree that has your name and signature (filed with the county).
  • Driving record from another state issued within the past 30 days.
  • Foreign passport that has expired within 5 years, or without an I-94/I-94W form or temporary I-551 ADIT stamp, or a valid U.S. Visa that has the legend “Upon endorsement serves as Temporary I-551 evidencing permanent residence for 1 year” and a valid DH Admission stamp .
  • Foreign driver license expired not more than 5 years. The license must have security features and be verifiable.
  • Valid Guatemala Consulate ID card.
  • Valid El Salvador National ID card.
  • Marriage license or certificate (filed with the county).
  • Medicare card.
  • Valid Mexican Matricula Consular ID card.
  • Mexican Federal Electoral Card issued 1991 or later. (Your photo must be readily identifiable.)
  • Mexican school record with a seal and your photo at the age when issued.
  • Mortgage document or mortgage coupon payment book.
  • Nexus, Sentri, or Fast Border Crossing card.
  • Professional license (nurse, physician, engineer, etc.)
  • Property deed or title (filed).
  • Property tax bill or statement issued within the last 12 months.
  • Selective Service card.
  • Veteran Administration ID with your name and photo.
  • School transcript includes your date of birth.
  • Form I-20 or DS-2019 for foreign exchange students.
  • School yearbook with your recognizable photo (or copy certified by the school).
  • Social Security card with your signature. We’ll verify it.
  • Transportation Worker Credential (TWIC).
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner’s card (valid or expired within the past 5 years).
  • WA vehicle title with your current residence address (not a Quick Title with a tamper-proof tape over the VIN and title number).

We may require more documents to determine your identity. We typically don’t accept multiple documents issued by the same entity, like a driver license and ID card issued by the same state. They would be considered 1 document.

Exceptions have been made to accept a passport and consulate card issued by Mexico, El Salvador or Guatemala consulates as 2 separate documents.

Foreign documents

If you are from another country, we accept these documents.

  • birth certificates,
  • passports,
  • marriage certificates,
  • driver licenses, etc.

We make every effort to interpret your documents. If we can’t we may:

  • Fax your documents to another location,
  • or
  • Ask you to provide an English translation by an approved agency. For a list of agencies, see:

Unaccepted documents

If we can’t accept your documents, we will work with you to see what other options are available and acceptable.

3. Show your Social Security Number (SSN) or proof of current WA residence address

If you have a SSN…

You don’t have to show proof of residence. We verify your SSN with the Social Security Administration and use it to help enforce child support laws.

Note: If you’re getting a Commercial Driver License (CDL), you must have an SSN and show proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency (see list of approved documents).

If you don't have a SSN or received a notice to prove your residence address…

  1. Sign a declaration and provide a document showing your WA address at a driver licensing office.
  2. Within 2 weeks, we’ll send you a form to request an appointment.
  3. Fill it out and mail or fax it back to us – see the form instructions.
  4. We’ll call to schedule an appointment to meet with you and review your proof of WA residence documents. Bring as many documents necessary to show your current residence address:
    • Home utility bills: Gas, electric, water, garbage, land-line phone.
      • Not acceptable: Cable, internet or satellite TV bills.
    • A college or university document.
      • Off-campus students can use the SEVIS database. Make sure it’s printed by the “Designated School Official” or “Responsible Officer.”
    • Selective Service card.
    • Vehicle title (not a Quick Title with tamper proof tape over VIN and Title number).
    • Bank documents showing your name and transaction history. Examples:
      • Account statement
      • Credit card statement
      • Mortgage statement
    • Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) letter from the IRS.
    • WA school transcript records, report cards, or other documents.
    • DSHS benefits eligibility documents.
    • Recent WA marriage certificate or child’s birth certificate.
    • If you’ve recently moved, bring current and previous proof that you were living in WA.
    • Other documents not listed above may be accepted if they show you currently live in WA.
  5. After we verify your address, we’ll issue your card.

Note: If your documents are fraudulent, you won’t be able to reapply for 364 days.

4. Your photograph

We use facial recognition technology for your photo. This helps to prevent identity theft. You’ll need to remove anything that covers your face or head (like a hat or sunglasses). If you don’t want to remove them, we’ll mark “Not Valid for Identification.” on your card. We’ll make exceptions for medical and religious reasons.

To learn more about facial recognition technology:

Questions? Need help?

Email: drivers@dol.wa.gov

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