Limited in-person driver licensing appointments available. Learn more.
Licensing offices to close for furlough days in July. See a list of dates.
Extensions granted for some expiring driver licenses and instruction permits.

If the information on this translated website is unclear, please contact us at 360.902.3900 for help in your language of choice.

Steps to getting your first license: Instruction permits

Things to know

Your valid unexpired permit allows you to drive in Washington State:

  • In most cases, you can’t use a wireless or mobile device while driving. The only exceptions are to:
    • report illegal activity
    • get emergency help
    • prevent injury to a person or property
  • You must have a licensed driver (with at least 5 years of licensed driving experience) with you, regardless of your age.
    • The licensed driver must sit in the right-front passenger seat.
    • In addition to the licensed driver, you can have other passengers of any age.
    • Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt.
  • Your permit is valid for 1 year. You can renew it by visiting an office and paying the renew instruction permit fee. You may renew up to 2 more times with permission from a driver licensing office supervisor. Contact an office for more information.
  • 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.

You must have an instruction permit before you can practice driving.

Age requirements

  • 15-15½ years old
    • First step is to sign up with a driver training school.
    • Your driver training school will send us a waiver electronically so you can get your permit.
    • Get your permit 1-10 days before you start your course. Holidays and weekends are included.
      • For example, if your course starts on the 20th of the month, you need to get your permit between the 10th and 19th.
  • 15½ or older
    • If you're enrolled in a driver training course follow the steps above for 15-15½ years old.
    • If you're not signed up for a driver training course yet:
      • You'll need to pass the knowledge test before you can get your permit.
      • If you don't take a driver training course, you can get a permit but you'll need to wait until you're 18 or older to get your driver license.

How to get an instruction permit

  1. If you don't already have a WA ID card, pre-apply online to save time in the office (some restrictions may apply).
  2. After you apply, sign up for a driver training course. Have your WA ID card number or confirmation ID number you received when you pre-applied. Once they have that info, they'll send us a waiver. Or if you're 15½ or older and not enrolled in a driver training course yet, take the knowledge test at a training and testing location.
    • If you don't take driver training, you'll need to wait until you're 18 to get your license.
  3. Finish your application at an office. See Tips for visiting an office: Driver licensing offices.
    • If you're taking a driver training course, be sure to do this 1-10 days before you start the course.
    • You need to bring proof of identity.
      • Under 18 years old
        • Your parents must provide proof of their identity and relationship to you. Bring a parent with you to sign the parental authorization form.
        • We need to have a social security number on file if you want to get your license issued online. Make sure we add your social security number to your record when we issue your permit.
      • 18 or over
    • Pass a vision screening.
    • If you brought acceptable identification documents, have your photo taken.
    • Pay the instruction permit fee.

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