How to apply for your first driver license if you're 16 or 17 years old, and learn the rules and restrictions that apply to you until you turn 18.
Before you get started
To get your first driver license, you must:
- Be at least 16 years old
- Be a Washington resident (your license will show your Washington address)
- Successfully complete an approved driver training program
- Have your Washington learner permit for at least 6 months (this time can include your out-of-state learner permit)
- Not have been convicted of any:
- Traffic violations within 6 months prior to applying for the license
- Alcohol or drug offense while having a learner permit
1. Get a learner permit
Apply for a learner permit so you can practice driving on public roads.
You must complete 40 hours of daylight and 10 hours of night driving with someone who is licensed and has had their license for at least 5 years.
Resources for the person supervising driving practice
- The Parent's Supervised Driving Program (English) (edrivermanuals.com)
- The Parent's Supervised Driving Program (Español) (edrivermanuals.com)
- Safe-Driving Agreement for parents and teens to establish safe-driving rules
2. Complete a driver training course
Find an approved driver training program. You must complete a driver training course if you plan to get your driver license before you turn 18.
Online and parent-taught classes are not approved.
Out-of-state driver training courses
Out-of-state driver training courses are okay if they meet the Washington requirement of 30 hours classroom instruction and 6 hours behind-the-wheel instruction.
Submit proof of your out-of-state training to us at TSE@dol.wa.gov for approval.
3. Pass the knowledge and drive tests
Fees apply and vary by location.
4. Decide if you want to be an organ donor
5. Apply for your license
Choose the option that works best for you. You will pay all applicable driver licensing fees when you apply.
Apply for your driver license online
You must have a Washington photo learner permit to apply for your license online. Your parent or guardian must be with you so they can give permission online for you to get your license.
Print the receipt which serves as your temporary license. It's not valid as ID since it doesn't have your photo.
Your permanent license will have the same photo as your instruction permit or ID card. We'll mail it to the address we have on file.
Apply for your license in-person
Make an appointment to visit a driver licensing office. You must either bring a parent with you to the licensing office or have them fill out the Parental Authorization Affidavit form and have it notarized. Bring the notarized form with you to the office.
Ensure your driver training school has submitted your course completion status and exam scores.
- The school has 24 hours to enter your exam scores into the system once you’ve passed each exam.
- If the school has closed and you need assistance, email us at TSE@dol.wa.gov.
While at the office you will:
- Show documents for proof of identity.
- Provide your Social Security number, or sign a declaration that you don't have one.
- Pass a vision screening.
- Have your photo taken.
Teens 16-17 years old with a valid out-of-state driver license
- Make an appointment to visit a driver licensing office
- Ensure that we have approved your out-of-state traffic safety education (TSE). You can email your TSE certificate to TSE@dol.wa.gov for approval.
- Bring with you:
- Provide your Social Security number or sign a declaration that you don't have one.
- Pass a vision screening.
- Have your photo taken.
- Pay the licensing fees.
Intermediate license restrictions for teen drivers
If you're under 18 years old, we will issue you an intermediate license. You must follow all of the following rules until you turn 18:
Driving with passengers
There are restrictions on passengers allowed in a vehicle with you. If you drive safely for 1 year, then the passenger restrictions expire. However, penalties for other violations will apply until you're 18.
First 6 months
You may not have any passengers under 20 years old except for immediate family members (spouse, child, stepchild, or siblings by birth or marriage).
Next 6 months
You may not have more than 3 passengers under 20 years old who aren't members of your immediate family (spouse, child, stepchild, or siblings by birth or marriage).
You can't drive between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless you're with a licensed driver who's 25 years or older. If you drive safely for 1 year, then the nighttime driving restrictions expire. However, penalties for other violations will apply until you're 18.
Exceptions for agricultural work
The only exceptions are driving related to agricultural work and transporting farm products or supplies under the direction of a farmer as described in RCW 46.20.070.
No cell phones
You can't use any wireless devices while driving, even if they are hands-free. You may only use a wireless device to report an emergency.
Penalties for traffic violations and accidents
Passenger and nighttime restrictions (see above) will apply until you're 18. We'll send a warning letter to you and your parent or guardian for any of the following:
- Getting a ticket for violating restriction
- Getting a ticket for violating a rule of the road
- Involvement in an accident where:
- You get a ticket or are determined to have caused the accident*
- No one involved in the accident receives a ticket
- The cause of the accident can't be determined*
- Your car was the only vehicle involved in the accident
*Note: We don't determine who caused an accident. If you'd like a copy of your collision report, contact the Washington State Patrol Collision Reports Section at 360-570-2355.
We'll suspend your license for 6 months or until you turn 18, whichever comes first. We'll notify you and your parent or guardian before we take any suspension action.
We'll suspend your license until you're 18. We'll notify you and your parent/guardian before we take any suspension action.
Frequently asked questions
See answers to questions new drivers and their families frequently ask.
When will I receive my license?
- If you apply online, you'll print your temporary license
- If you apply in person, we'll give you your temporary license before you leave the office
Do I have to get a new license when I turn 18?
No, your intermediate driver license automatically converts to a regular driver license.
Who enforces intermediate license laws, and how?
Police enforce them as a secondary action. This means that if you're stopped for a traffic offense, the officer can cite you for any violations of the intermediate license restrictions.
Do the intermediate license laws apply to me if I have a license from another state?
Yes. When a driver under 18 with a valid out-of-state license becomes a Washington resident, they must get an intermediate Washington license. Learn how to transfer your out-of-state license to Washington.
If I have a drug or alcohol-related offense or Minor in Possession, can I get an intermediate license?
No. You must wait until you're 18 if you're convicted of any of the following while you have an instruction permit: