Moving? Get WA license

By law, you have 30 days to get your Washington driver license once you establish residency in Washington State.

How to establish residency in Washington

You’re considered a Washington resident when you do any of the following:

  • Arrive and begin establishing a home in Washington.
  • Register to vote.
  • Receive state benefits.
  • Get any Washington State license at resident rates.
  • Receive in-state tuition fees.

How to get a Washington State driver license

  1. Find out if you can pre-apply online.
    • If you’re a Washington resident, 18 or older, have never had a Washington driver license, instruction permit, or ID card, and have a Washington residence street address, Pre-apply online and save time in the office. You’ll finish your application at a driver licensing office.
    • If you,
      • Don’t have a Washington residence street address, have other special address issues, or currently have or in the past you’ve had a Washington driver license, instruction permit, or ID card. Apply at a driver licensing office.
      • Are upgrading your license or ID card to an EDL or EID. Apply at a EDL/EID office.
  2. Visit a driver licensing office to start your application or to finish an application you started online. Bring the following with you:
    1. Proof of identity, including your out-of-state license.
    2. Payment for the fees.
    3. Your Social Security number (mandatory to help enforce child support laws).
      • You don’t need to show us your card, we’ll still be able to verify it.
      • If you don’t have a Social Security number, you must verify your Washington residence address before you can proceed.
  3. Pass a vision screening.
  4. Pass any required tests:
    If you have… Pass these tests…
    A valid license from:
    • Another U.S. state
    • British Columbia
    • Germany
    • South Korea
    • Taiwan (Taiwan Driver’s License holders wanting to obtain a Washington State Driver’s License, please contact the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle (TECO) at 206.441.4586 ext. 311 or by e-mail at info@teco-seattle.org)
    No tests required.
    A valid license, but have a medical or physical condition that shows testing is required Knowledge and drive test
    An expired license from another state Knowledge and drive test
  5. Turn in your out-of-state driver license/ID card.

If you’re a teen driver under the age of 18

See Teens to learn about additional requirements for getting a Washington driver license.

If you’re from another country

  • If you’ve moved to Washington from a country or Canadian province not mentioned in the steps above, you must complete all the steps to getting your first license.
  • If you’re visiting Washington State, you may use your out-of-country driver license for up to 1 year.

When will I get my license?

Before you leave the licensing office, you’ll get a temporary license that allows you to drive for 45 days. Your permanent license will be mailed within 7–10 days. If you don’t receive it within 30 days, please go to a driver licensing office.

How to get an enhanced driver license (EDL)

See Steps to getting your EDL/EID. EDL/EID is an acceptable alternative to a passport for re-entry into the U.S. at land and sea border crossings.

Related laws

RCW 46.20.021: New residents

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