Steps to getting your first driver license: Proof of identity

REAL ID Act

Starting July 1, 2018, all standard cards will be marked with language to indicate they're not valid for federal identification purposes. You may continue to use your marked or unmarked standard card for boarding airplanes and accessing secure federal facilities until October 1, 2020. Enhanced driver licenses and ID cards meet federal Real ID requirements and won't be marked.

If you want to get a Washington (WA) driver license, instruction permit, or identification (ID) card, we'll need proof of your identity. If you are 18 and over, you will also need to show proof of your Washington State residence. Below are instructions and the documents you'll need to bring to a driver licensing office.

Overview

  1. Select an age group below to see what documents you need to bring
  2. See which documents we accept
  3. Show your Social Security Number (SSN)
  4. Show proof of Washington residence
  5. Have your photograph taken

1. Select an age group below to see what documents you need to bring

General:

ID Requirements for any age:

  • Show us 1 of the options from the list below:
    • Option 1:
      • One Stand-Alone document
    • Option 2:
      • Two A-List documents
    • Option 3:
      • One A-List document
      • and
      • Two B-List documents
    • Option 4: 
      • Four B-List documents
        • One of the four B-List documents must establish your name and date of birth
25 years old and under:

If you're unable to meet the general ID requirements, you may show us all of the following instead:

  • Your parent/guardian must come with you and provide their attestation of your identity.
    • Before attestation, your parent/guardian must show:
      • Proof of their identity by providing 1 item from the Stand-Alone document list
      • Proof that they're your parent/guardian, such as your certified birth certificate, adoptions papers, or a school transcript with their name on it
      • If your last name is different than your parent/guardian's, we'll require more documents such as their marriage certificate or divorce decree
  • One item from the A-List, or one item from the B-List that establishes your name and date of birth such as your certified birth certificate or adoption papers
18 years or older and have assigned court guardians (typically due to a physical or mental limitations):

Prove your identity by coming to a driver licensing office with your guardian and showing us all of the following:

  • Proof of your guardian's identity by providing one document from the Stand-Alone list
  • A court decree assigning guardianship
  • One item from the A-List, or one item from the B-List Document that establishes your name and date of birth, such as your certified birth certificate or adoption papers
Enrolled in Job Corps:
Show us 1 of the options from the list below:
  • Your Job Corps ID card, and
  • One item from the B-List that establishes your name and date of birth such as your certified birth certificate or adoption papers.

2. See which documents we accept

Stand-Alone Documents
  • Refugee Verification Packet (contact your resettlement agency for more information)
  • U.S. armed services ID card, with photo — Valid
  • U.S. B1/B2 Visa Border Crossing Card (Form DSP-150) — Valid
  • U.S. Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization with your photo, signature, and readily identifiable photo
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service ID — Valid
    • Acceptable forms are:
      • I-327 U.S. Permit to Re-Enter Travel Document
      • I-551 Permanent Resident Card
      • I-571 U.S. Refugee Travel Document
      • I-766 Employment Authorization
  • U.S. passport — Valid (an emergency passport isn't acceptable)
  • U.S. passport card — Valid
  • U.S. state or territory issued Driver License, ID card, or photo Instruction Permit — Valid or expired not more than 1 year
  • Verification ID letter from the Department of Social and Health Services Children's Administration for foster youth
A-List Documents
  • El Salvador Identification card (Documento Unico de Identidad) — Valid
  • Foreign passport — Valid, with:
    • Valid U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) entry form I-94/I94W, or
    • Valid Temporary I-551 ADIT stamp, or
    • Valid US Visa that has the legend "Upon endorsement serves as Temporary I-551 evidencing permanent residence for 1 year" and a valid DHS admission stamp, or
    • I-551 annotation that is expired on the visa, but less than one year since date of admission on the DHS admission stamp
  • Guatemala Consulate ID card (Identificación Consular) — Valid
  • Guatemala Identification card (Documento Personal de Identificación) — Valid
  • Honduras Consulate ID card (Matricula Consular – Consular ID) — Valid
  • Honduras Identification card (Tarjeta de Identidad) — Valid
  • Japan Driver License — Valid
  • Mexico Consular ID card (Matricula Consular) — Valid
  • Mexico Federal Electoral card (Credencial Para Votar) — Valid
  • Peru National Identification card (Documento Nacional de Identidad) — Valid
  • Tribal enrollment ID card — Valid, must be a federally recognized Indian tribe and must have your signature and photo
  • U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs ID card, with signature and photo
  • U.S. Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization with photo, signature, and your photo is not readily identifiable (e.g. a baby photo and now you're an adult)
  • U.S. passport, expired not more than 1 year (an emergency passport isn't acceptable)
  • U.S. passport card, expired not more than 1 year
  • U.S. state or territory issued Driver License, ID card, or photo Instruction Permit, expired 1 to 6 years
  • U.S. Visa — Valid (typically attached to a foreign passport page)
  • Verification ID letter from an agency that you're being supervised by and that we have an agreement with (contact your supervising agency and have them send us the verification ID letter). We currently have agreements with:
    • Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC)
    • U.S. Federal correction authorities (FDOC)
    • Department of Social and Health Services Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (DSHS JRA)
  • Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) offender ID badge
B-List Documents

Documents that establish your name and date of birth

  • Adoption papers
  • Birth certificate, U.S., or foreign*) — Certified
  • Birth registration card, your card must include your name, date of birth, place of birth, file date, and issue date — Certified
  • Concealed weapons permit issued by a Washington county — Valid
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Foreign Driver License or ID card, valid or expired not more than 6 years
  • Foreign Passport, expired not more than 6 years
  • NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST border crossing card — Valid
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner's card, valid or expired not more than 6 years
  • U.S. Military DD Form 214
  • U.S. passport, expired more than 1 year (an emergency passport isn't acceptable)
  • U.S. passport card, expired more than 1 year
  • U.S. state or territory issued Driver License, ID Card, or photo Instruction Permit, expired more than 6 years
  • Veteran Administration Identification, with date of birth
  • Ward of the Court decree/Order of Dependency

Documents that show name and date of birth or signature or photo

  • Clearance letter or driving record from another state's DMV, issued in the last 30 days
  • Divorce decree, certified by the issuing government authority
  • Government employee ID card (state of federal), with signature and photo
  • Marriage license/certificate, certified by the issuing government authority
  • Medicare card (not a DSHS medical card)
  • Police employee ID card issued by Washington city or county
  • Professional license (nurse, physician, engineer, etc.)
  • School record from Mexico with seal and picture of individual at age of issue
  • School transcript or record, or Forms I-20 or DS-2019 for foreign exchange students
  • School yearbook or copy certified by the school with recognizable photo
  • Selective Service card
  • Social Security card
  • Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)
  • Veteran Administration Identification, with photo

* Birth certificates from Puerto Rico issued before July 1, 2010

  • We can't accept birth certificates from Puerto Rico issued before July 1, 2010.
  • We will accept birth certificates as proof of Puerto Rican citizenship issued on or after July 1, 2010.
  • If yours was issued before July 1, 2010, you can get a new copy from the Government of Puerto Rico E-Government Site (pr.gov).
  • We may need more documents to determine your identity
  • We don't accept copied, scanned, or photographed documents
  • We make every effort to translate your documents
  • Unless otherwise noted above, if your document from the Stand-Alone or A-List doesn't have a photo that is readily identifiable, it will be reduced to a B-List document

If you’re an agency, consulate, organization, or an interest group that would like to have your identity document reviewed for consideration to be added to our standard identity list, please submit a request for your identification document to be considered.

Unaccepted documents

If we can't accept your documents, we'll work with you to see what other options are available and acceptable. If your documents are fraudulent, you won't be able to reapply for 364 days.

3. Show your Social Security Number (SSN)

We verify your SSN with the Social Security Administration and use it to help enforce child support laws.

If applying for a driver license, you must provide your Social Security number. If you don't have one, you can sign a declaration saying so.

If you're getting a Commercial Driver License (CDL), you must have an SSN and show proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency (see list of approved documents).

4. Show proof of Washington residence

If you're 18 and over and applying for a standard Washington driver license, identification card, or instruction permit, you have to show a document with your principal residence address.

Follow these steps to prove you live in Washington:

  1. Gather one of the acceptable documents below. If your documents are fraudulent, you won't be able to reapply for 364 days.

    Acceptable documents must:

    • Show your current Washington residence address (unless noted below),
    • Be unexpired (unless noted below), and
    • Be in your or your spouse's name. If the documents are in your spouse's name you will be asked to present your marriage certificate.

    Note: If you are between the age of 18 and 25, you can use documents in your parent or guardian's name. You'll be asked to show proof of relationship, such as a birth certificate or adoption papers.

    Acceptable documents:

    • Previously issued WA license, ID card or permit that is expired not more than 6 years or your spouse's current WA license, ID card or Permit, that is expired not more than 6 years and your marriage certificate
    • Washington vehicle registration or title (a super service titles isn't acceptable)
    • USPS change of address letter dated within 2 months (electronic letters not accepted)
    • Home utility bill for Washington address (gas, electric, water, garbage, sewer, landline phone, TV, internet, ISTA) dated within past 2 months.
    • Washington voter card
    • Washington school transcript - current or previous school year
    • DSHS benefits letter indicating unexpired benefits (medical, food, etc.)
    • Tribal ID
    • Proof of home ownership (mortgage documents, property tax documents, deed, title, etc.)
    • Selective Service card
    • Business mail from state or federal agency dated within 2 months
    • Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) letter from Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
    • Concealed weapons permit from a WA county (license to carry concealed pistol)
    • Home owners (not renters) insurance policy
    • Auto insurance policy or bill dated within 2 months
    • Consulate ID card
    • Pay check or pay stub with the employer's name and phone number or address - dated within 2 months
    • Washington professional license (nursing, physician, pilot, engineer, etc.)
    • W-2 form from an employer, or form 1099 for the previous year
    • Moorage document (bill, contract, etc.)
    • Letter attesting residence in alternative housing (e.g. assisted living, college campus, mission, senior housing, shelter, or retirement home) on company letter head with a phone number that could be used in verification of the facility
    • U.S. military document issued within 1 year
    • Certified marriage certificate, for a marriage within 1 year
    • Form DS-2019
    • If you're using a verification ID letter to prove your identity from the Stand-Alone or A-List above, that can also be used as your proof of residence.
  2. Go to a driver licensing office with your documents showing your WA address and sign a certification proving your residency.

5. Your photograph

We use facial recognition technology for your photo. This helps to prevent identity theft. You'll need to remove anything that covers your face or head (like a hat or sunglasses). If you don't want to remove them, we'll mark "Not Valid for Identification" on your card. We'll make exceptions for medical and religious reasons.

Related information

Questions? Need help?

Email us: CustomerCare@dol.wa.gov

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