How to get your 3-wheel (3W) endorsement or permit

3W motorcycle instruction permits

To apply for a 3W motorcycle instruction permit, you must:

How to get your 3W motorcycle instruction permit

  • Apply online without creating an account.
  • or
  • Log in or join to apply online and save your information.
  • Select the Replace license option
    • You may choose the Renew option if your license is within 1 year of expiration.
  • Follow the prompts to verify or update your information.
  • On the Card Information screen, your 3W motorcycle permit will show as an O - Endorsement with a J - Restriction in the New Card section.
    • The summary screen shows your permit details before completing the transaction.
  • Print a copy of your temporary driver license.
    • You must have your temporary driver license on you to ride until you get your updated driver license.
  • You can find your temporary driver license in your License eXpress account.

Permit rules

  • Your permit will be valid for a 180-day period.
  • You can renew your permit 1 time for another 180-days before your current permit expires.
  • You are only allowed 1 initial permit and 1 permit renewal within a 5-year period.
  • You must renew your permit before it expires to avoid having to retest.
  • While riding with an instruction permit on a public roadway:
    • You may not carry passengers.
    • You may not ride during the hours of darkness.

How to renew your permit

  • You must:
    • Have a valid unexpired permit.
    • or
    • Have passed the knowledge test less than 180-days ago.
  • Apply online without creating an account.
  • or
  • Log in or join to apply online and save your information.
  • Select the Replace license option.
    • You may choose the Renew option if your license is within 1 year of expiration.
  • Follow the prompts to verify or update your information.
  • Check the box on the Card Information screen to renew your 3W permit.
  • Pay the renewal fee.

3W motorcycle endorsement

To apply for a 3W motorcycle endorsement, you must:

How to get your 3W endorsement

  • Apply online without creating an account.
  • or
  • Log in or join to apply online and save your information.
  • Select the Replace license option.
    • You may choose the Renew option if your license is within 1 year of expiration.
  • Follow the prompts to verify or update your information.
  • On the Card Information screen, your 3W motorcycle endorsement will show as an L - Endorsement with a J - Restriction in the New Card section.
    • The summary screen shows your endorsement details before completing the transaction.
  • Print a copy of your temporary driver license.
    • You must have your temporary driver license on you to ride until you get your updated driver license.
  • You can find your temporary driver license in your License eXpress account.

You can get a ticket and/or have your 3W motorcycle impounded if you operate it without the proper permit/endorsement.

Exceptions

You don’t need a 3W endorsement on your driver license to operate a 3-wheeled vehicle if it meets all of the following requirements:

  • The seat is in a partially or completely enclosed seating area.
  • The vehicle has safety belts.
  • You can steer the vehicle with a steering wheel.

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. We can transfer valid endorsements from:
  • U.S. states.
  • U.S. territories
  • District of Columbia.
  • British Columbia.
  • Japan.
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).

Fees

Knowledge and skills test fees are set by each training school. You will pay testing fees to the school. We (the Department of Licensing) charge the following application and licensing fees:

  • 3W instruction permit fee collected when we issue your instruction permit.
  • Original 3W endorsement fee, which includes the application and new driver license.
  • 3W endorsement renewal fee paid in addition to the regular driver license renewal fees.
  • Renewal fee for 3W endorsement with a 2-wheel (2W) endorsement paid in addition to the regular driver license renewal fees (includes both endorsements).

Frequently asked questions

Am I required to have insurance for my sidecar/trike?

Yes, all motor vehicles, including motorcycles, are required to carry insurance.

Can my 3-year-old ride in my sidecar?

No, a child must be at least 5 years old to be a passenger on any 2W or 3W motorcycle.

Can I put the license plates on my 3W motorcycle vertically?

No. License plates must be placed in a horizontal position and be 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 sidecar/trike endorsement?

No, you can't add a sidecar/trike endorsement until the IIL requirement has been dropped from your license.

Are novelty helmets legal to wear?

No, a "novelty" helmet isn't legal. All helmets must be certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT). To make sure your helmet is DOT-certified, look for a DOT sticker on the outside of the helmet and a DOT sticker on the inside. A DOT-label will have the manufacturer's name or identification, model designation, size, month and year of manufacture, and instruction about construction and other safety-related information.

Related laws

Questions?

Email us: motorcycle@dol.wa.gov

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