Steps to getting your first driver license: Proof of identity

When you apply for a Washington State driver license, instruction permit, or ID card, you must:

  1. Be a Washington State resident.
  2. Show proof of identity.
  3. Provide your Social Security number. If you don't have one, you’ll need to show proof of Washington residence.
  4. Have your photograph taken.

1. Proof of identity

What you’ll need

If you’re under 18 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 that has your name and date of birth.
    • and
    • One that has your name and signature.
  • Option 5: A completed 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 Washington 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
If you’re 18–25 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 that establishes your name and date of birth.
    • and
    • One that has your name and signature.
  • Option 5: All of the following:
    • One “B-List Document” with your name and photo
      or
      Your parent/guardian’s verbal attestation.*
    • One “B-List Document” to establish 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
      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 verbal attestation can be used in place of a name and photo document or name and signature document, but not for both.
If you’re 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.
If you’re 18 or older and have been 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.
If you’re 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.

Acceptable documents

  • We only accept original or certified copies of the documents listed below.
  • If you present multiple documents issued by a foreign government or organization, and we’ve approved of their issuance processes, we’ll accept them as separate documents. Currently, we accept multiple documents issued by:
    • Mexican government
    • Guatemalan government
  • We may ask for more documents.
  • This list may change without notice.
Stand-alone Documents
  • Washington State driver license, ID card, or instruction permit — Valid or has 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 and has your photo. Also tell us your Social Security number so we can verify it.
  • 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 which 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 has expired within 60 days and has your photo.
  • Driver license from a foreign country — Valid or has 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 that we have an agreement with, you may provide a verification letter from that agency. 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 residence 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.
  • Foreign driver license expired not more than 5 years. The license must have security features and be verifiable.
  • Valid Guatemala Consulate 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.
  • 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).

Foreign documents

If you present authentic foreign documents, we’ll make every effort to read and interpret them.

  • We may need to fax your document to another location.
  • If no bilingual staff members are available, we may ask you to provide a certified English translation by an approved contracting agency, along with the original document. For a list of approved contracting agencies, see:

Unaccepted documents

If we can’t accept your identification documents, you may request an additional document review by speaking with the driver licensing office ID Review Specialist. If the specialist is unable to determine positive identification, we may refer your documents for further evaluation.

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2. Social Security number

You must provide your Social Security number to get a driver license.

  • If you don’t have a Social Security number, you may sign a declaration form and provide proof of Washington residence.
  • If you’re applying for a Commercial Driver License (CDL), you must provide your Social Security number. We can’t issue you a CDL if you don’t have one.

Proof of Washington residence

If you don’t have a Social Security number:

  1. Bring as many of the following documents as possible to be reviewed as proof of your Washington residence address:
    • Home utility bill (gas, electric, water, garbage, land-line telephone, or ISTA. etc).
      • Not acceptable: Cable, internet or satellite TV bills.
    • A college or university document that has your current residential address on file.
      • Off-campus students may bring the printout from the SEVIS database which has:
        • The address where you currently live.
        • Proof it was printed by the “Designated School Official” or “Responsible Officer.”
    • Selective Service card with your current residential address.
    • Vehicle title (not a Quick Title with a tamper proof tape over the VIN and Title number).
    • Bank-issued documents that include your name and current residential address (or your previous address if you’ve recently moved). Examples:
      • Account statement
      • Credit card statement
      • Mortgage statement
    • Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) letter from the Internal Revenue Service that includes your Washington residence address.
    • Washington school transcript records, report cards, or other Washington school documentation.
    • DSHS benefits eligibility documents.
    • Recent Washington marriage certificate or child’s Washington birth certificate.
  2. Important notes about documents:
    • Your documents must include your name and current Washington residential address.
    • If you recently moved to a new address, bring both your current and previous documents to prove you were living in Washington.
    • Documents other than the ones listed above may be taken into consideration if they show you reside in Washington.
    • It’s illegal to present fraudulent documents. If we find that your documents are fraudulent, you won’t be able to reapply for 364 days.
  3. When you apply, you’ll get a handout with instructions for completing the application process.
  4. Within 2 weeks, we’ll send you a letter and form to request an appointment with us to review your documents.
  5. Complete the form and send it back to us by mail or fax following the instructions on the form.
  6. We’ll call you to schedule an appointment, and meet with you to verify your proof of Washington residence.
  7. After we verify your Washington residence address, we’ll issue your driver license, photo instruction permit, or ID card.

How your Social Security number is used

Your Social Security number (SSN) is used to help enforce child support laws. We’ll verify your SSN with the Social Security Administration. Your SSN doesn’t appear on your driver license.

Related laws

3. Your photograph

Your new license, instruction permit, or ID card will include your photo. Before we take your photo, we’ll ask you to remove anything that covers your face or head (like a hat or sunglasses). If you choose not to remove it, your license will be marked “Not Valid for Identification.” We’ll make exceptions for medical and religious reasons.

Facial recognition technology

When we take your photo, we’ll use facial recognition technology to help prevent identity theft. This biometric technology focuses on facial features that aren’t easy to alter, such as eye sockets, cheekbones, and the sides of the mouth. It measures characteristics such as the distance between pupils and the size and shape of facial features. To learn more, see the fact sheet:

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See also:

Washington Healthcare Finder
Access Washington – official state government website