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How to get your endorsement or permit: Motorcycles (2-wheel)

Changes to motorcycle permit and endorsement processes

Starting January 1, 2020:

  • You must pass a basic knowledge and skills exam for a permit.
  • You must pass an advanced knowledge and skills exam for an endorsement.

If you have a valid permit, we encourage you to complete your testing before December 31, 2019, if possible.

There are 2 ways to get a 2-wheel motorcycle endorsement:

  1. Successfully complete a motorcycle safety course at an approved motorcycle training school:
    • The safety course includes the knowledge and riding skills tests.
    • After you pass, bring your course completion card to a driver office location within 180 days.
  2. Pass the knowledge and riding skills tests:

Additional requirements

If you're a rider under 18 years old
You must pass an approved rider course before you can apply for a motorcycle endorsement. You also need parental permission to take the course and 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 (WA) driver license. To transfer your motorcycle endorsement when you get your license, Bring proof of your current motorcycle license or endorsement and payment.
Note: If you don't transfer your endorsement when you apply for a 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 WA on military duty
  1. Successfully complete a state-approved safety course at a motorcycle training school or military base.
  2. Apply for a WA driver license. For details, see Moving? Get WA license.
  3. Bring your course completion card to any office within 180 days to get your motorcycle endorsement.
If you're a WA resident stationed out of state on military duty
  1. Complete and pass:
    • An approved Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course.
    • A Basic Rider Training course (Idaho and Oregon).
    • or
    • California Motorcyclist Safety Program Training.
  2. Send us all of the following:
    • A completed Testing Waiver Request form.
    • A copy of both sides of your WA 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 fee.
    • If you have an Enhanced Driver License (EDL), you must surrender it to add the motorcycle endorsement. Complete the Notice of Surrender (English, Español, Русский, and more).

Motorcycle instruction permits

To apply for a motorcycle instruction permit, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Have a valid WA State driver license.
  • Pass the motorcycle operation knowledge test.
  • If you're under 18, your parent or guardian must sign the consent form.

Rules for riding with a permit

While riding with an instruction permit on a public roadway can:

  • not carry passengers.
  • 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 for an additional 90 days by visiting an office and pay the renewal fee. To renew your permit, you must have:

  • Passed the knowledge test less than 180 days ago.
  • and
  • Had no more than 1 permit in the last 5 years.

If a 3rd permit is needed you must bring proof to the office that you're enrolled in a motorcycle training course. This permit can't expire before the course begins.


Knowledge and riding skills test fees are set by each training school. These 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 – paid when we issue your instruction permit.
  • Original motorcycle endorsement fee – includes the application and new driver license.
  • Motorcycle endorsement renewal fee – added to the regular driver license renewal fees.

Frequently asked questions

Am I required to have insurance for my motorcycle?

Yes, all motor vehicles are required to carry insurance.

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.

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 they 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 has been dropped from your license.

Are novelty helmets legal to wear?

No. All helmets must be certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT sticker should be on the outside and inside of the helmet. A sticker will have the manufacturer's name/ID, model, size, month/year of manufacture, and information about the construction and other safety-related information.

Related laws

Questions? Need help?

Email: motorcycle@dol.wa.gov.

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