Is your driver license expiring soon? Renew your license online!
Limited in-person appointments available. Learn more.
Apply for a first-time instruction permit online.

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

Moving? Get WA license

Things to know

  • By law, after you move to Washington (WA) you have 30 days to get your WA driver license. You will also need your driver license before you can register any vehicles in WA.
  • We have different offices for driver licensing and vehicle licensing. You won't be able to get your license and register your vehicle at the same place.


  1. Establish residency in WA
  2. Decide if you want a standard driver license or an enhanced driver license (EDL)
  3. Pre-apply online
  4. Make an appointment to visit a driver licensing office
  5. Get WA plates for your vehicle, if applicable

1. Establish residency in WA

You're considered a WA resident when you do any of the following:

  • Register to vote.
  • Receive state benefits.
  • Receive in-state tuition fees.
  • Get a WA state license at resident rates (Fishing license, hunting license, etc.).

2. Decide if you want a standard driver license or an enhanced driver license (EDL)

An EDL is an alternative to a passport. You use it to re-enter the U.S. by land and sea after traveling to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. Getting an EDL has different steps and requires a trip to an EDL office. See steps to getting your EDL/EID.

3. Pre-apply online

Pre-apply online so you can make an appointment. This will create your Washington ID or driver license number. Some restrictions may apply.

4. Visit a driver licensing office

Visit an office to finish the application you started online. You must make an appointment to go into the driver licensing office. Bring the following:

  • Proof of identity, including your out-of-state license.
  • Payment for the fees.
  • Additional documents, if requesting EDL.

At the office, you'll need to:

  • Tell us your Social Security number (SSN), if you have one, to help enforce child support laws.
    • You don't need to show us your card, we'll still be able to verify it.
  • Pay fees (cash, check, or card).
  • Decide if you want to register to vote or be an organ donor (optional).
  • Pass any required tests:
    Tests you'll need to pass based on your situation (guidelines only)
    If you have Pass these tests
    A valid license from:
    • Another U.S. state
      • District of Columbia
      • U.S. Territory or possession
      • U.S. Department of State
    • British Columbia – Class 5 only; Class 7 and Commercial License don't transfer
    • Germany
    • South Korea
    • Taiwan – If you want a WA driver's license, please contact the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle (TECO) at 206.441.4586 ext. 311 or by e-mail at infoseattle@mofa.gov.tw.
    • Japan – If you want a WA driver's license, visit the Consulate-General of Japan’s website about transferring Japanese driver licenses in English or Japanese, or contact the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle at 206.682.9107 or by email: info@se.mofa.go.jp.
    No tests required if you're 18 years old or older. See Teens if you're under 18.
    An expired license from another state Knowledge and drive test
    Proof of valid out-of-state license (driving record dated within the last 30 days) Knowledge and drive test waived
    No driver license Knowledge and drive test
    A Washington learning permit Knowledge and drive test
    A valid license, but have a medical or physical condition that shows testing is required Knowledge and drive test

If you're under the age of 18 with a valid driver license or permit from another state or country and you want a WA driver license, you need to:

  • Have held an instruction permit for at least 6 months. This time can include your out-of-state or out-of-country instruction permit or license
  • Provide proof of having successfully completed a driver training course that meets our requirements.
    • Online and parent taught traffic safety education aren't approved courses in WA. If your teen completes a course in another state it must meet WA minimum requirements.

If you're from another country

  • If you've moved to WA from a country or Canadian province not mentioned above, you must complete all the steps to getting your first license.
  • If you're visiting WA, you may use your out-of-country driver license for up to 1 year.

Get your license

Before you leave the licensing office, we'll punch a hole in your out-of-state driver license/ID card and return it to you. You'll get a temporary license that allows you to drive for 45 days. You probably won't be able to use your temporary license for ID purposes. Some businesses may:

  • Accept your hole-punched out-of-state card for identification
  • Ask you to provide something else for proof of ID

We'll mail your permanent license within 7–10 days. If you don't receive it within 30 days, please visit a driver licensing office.

5. Get WA plates for your vehicle, if needed

See Moving to WA? Get plates to find out what you need to do.

Related information

Questions? Need help?

Call us: 360.902.3900 (TTY: Call 711)

Chatbot icon
Washington Healthcare Finder
Good To Go!
Access Washington – official state government website