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Instruction permits

What you need to know before visiting an office

Make an appointment to come into a driver licensing office.

You must wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Come prepared, wear a mask.

Many of our services are online. Try our online services instead of coming in person!

Renewing a permit

Your permit is valid for 1 year. You can renew it twice for a fee.

Getting a permit

Do you have a "WDL" number?

Washington permits, ID cards, and licenses use a number that starts with WDL or the first 5 letters of your last name. This number is unique to you. This number identifies you. You'll use it if you start a driver training course or make an appointment to go to one of our offices. If you don't have a WDL number yet, we'll assign one to you when you pre-apply.

You may already have a WDL number if you have:

  • A valid or expired Washington ID card.
  • Already filled out an application on our website.
  • Gotten a ticket in the past, like:
    • Minor in possession.
    • Driving without a license.

If you don't remember your WDL number, call us for help: 360.902.3900.

Take a driver training course

If you plan to take a driver training course, pre-apply and give your WDL number to your driving school. You can visit an office or complete your online application for a permit 10 days or less before the course starts. That includes weekends and holidays. This will allow your school to inform DOL that you're enrolled.

Take a test and learn on your own

If you're not planning to take a course, you must be at least 15 1/2 years old to take the knowledge test. Pre-apply and get a WDL number so you can schedule your test. If you learn on your own, you must wait until you’re at least 18 to get your license.

Decide whether you want a photo on your permit

If you don't want a photo on your permit, you can log in and finish your application online. Be aware you'll have to provide proof of identity when it's time to get your license.

If you want a photo on your permit, we need to:

  • Prove your identity in person. You'll need to make an appointment to do this. Learn more about proving your identity.
    • If you have a valid Washington ID card, you don't need to do this again.
  • Take your picture in one of our offices. We can use a recent photo of you if we have one on file.

Make an appointment, using your WDL number, to "Get a license/ID."

When your permit will arrive

After you pay and finish your application (online or in our office), we’ll mail your permit. It should arrive in 7-10 business days. Call us if you haven’t received it after 2 weeks: 360.902.3900.

Log in to print your temporary permit or replace a lost permit card.

Practice driving

To practice driving, you must have:

  • An instruction permit with you to go on public roads.
  • A licensed driver in the front passenger seat. They must have at least 5 years of experience driving with a valid license.

You may have other passengers of any age if they wear seat belts.

Don't use a phone or other mobile device while driving, unless you need to call 911.

Your Washington permit might not be valid for driving in another state. Contact the state where you'll be traveling to find out if they'll honor your Washington permit.

Related information

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