I Just Moved to Washington. How Do I Get My Driver's License and Vehicle Registered?
If monuments, memorials, and eclectic neighborhoods are what you’re looking for, Washington is the perfect state for you. As a new resident of the Evergreen State, you’ll need to take different steps to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license and out-of-state vehicle registration.
Who Is Required to Transfer Their License?
Any person who is moving to Washington and wants to operate a motor vehicle is required to have a valid driver’s license. If you have a valid driver’s license from a different state, you must transfer your driver’s license by establishing residency and submitting the required documentation to the Washington driver’s license office. You must complete the transfer of your out-of-state driver’s license within 30 days of establishing residency.
How to Transfer Your Out-of-State Driver’s License to Washington
When you make your way to Washington, you need to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license. Here are the steps you need to take to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license to the state of Washington.
The first step you need to take to transfer your driver’s license from your previous state to Washington is to establish residency. You’re considered a resident of Washington if you’ve done any of the following:
Registered to vote
Received state benefits
Received in-state tuition fees
Obtained any WA license (such as a hunting or fishing license) at resident fees
Schedule an Appointment
In this situation, it’s best if you pre-apply for your WA driver’s license transfer online. By applying for your license online, you can save a lot of time at the driver’s license office. During this process for the pre-application, you will receive your driver’s license number and schedule an appointment.
You will need different documents and payments to successfully transfer your out-of-state driver’s license. To be eligible to transfer your current license to Washington, you need:
Valid proof of identity
Your out-of-state driver’s license
Social security number
Payment for all applicable fees (credit or debit card, check, or cash)
If you are under the age of 18, you will need to get an enhanced driver’s license (EDL) instead of a standard driver’s license. Be advised, you will need to bring additional documentation.
When you transfer your out-of-state driver’s license to WA, you may be required to take a vision screening. You may also be required to pass a vision screening if you wear glasses or corrective lenses, and it’s indicated on your current driver’s license. During the vision screening, your eyesight will be checked to ensure you can safely operate a motor vehicle on the highways and roads of Washington. Failure to pass the vision screening will result in a restriction on your license for corrective lenses.
To receive your permanent WA driver’s license, you may be required to pass the written driving test. This written test is designed to check your knowledge of the Washington road rules, road signs, traffic laws, and safe-driving practices. The WA written part of the driver’s test is a multiple-choice test with 40 questions. You are required to answer 32 of the 40 questions correctly to pass the test. You can check out the Washington Driver’s Manual here.
Road Test (In-Car)
When you’re ready to take the in-car road test, you need to make sure you have:
Your social security number
Proof of identity
Valid auto insurance and vehicle registration documents
Payment for all applicable fees
If you are under the age of 18, you must have your parent’s permission to take the in-car test. If your parent can’t be present, they must complete a parental authorization affidavit form here. Be advised, that you must have a licensed adult accompany you to the WA driver licensing office. Keep in mind, that your parent must drive your vehicle or supervise you while you drive.
Be advised, if one of the following criteria applies to you, you must take the WA knowledge and road test before you can successfully transfer your driver’s license to the state of Washington:
You have an expired license
You have only a learner’s permit
You don’t have a driver’s license
You have a physical or medical condition that requires testing
Keep in mind, that you will need to present additional documentation to receive your WA driver’s license in this case.
Now that you know the steps you need to take to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license to the state of Washington, you can now discover how to transfer your out-of-state vehicle registration to the same state.
Registering Your Vehicle In Washington
On January 2, 2020, the state of Washington removed its requirement for vehicle emissions inspections before having to obtain an initial vehicle registration or renew a Washington vehicle registration. The Clean Air program was initiated in 1982, and ended in 2020 because the state confirmed a significant improvement in air quality, so the program was no longer required.
The Washington State Department of Licensing (WA DOL) requires all residents in the state of Washington to title and register their vehicle to receive WA license plates and legally operate a motor vehicle on the state’s roads and highways. In the state of Washington, you will title and register your vehicle simultaneously.
New Residents of Washington
As a new resident of Washington, you have 30 days to register and title your vehicle when you move to this state. You can submit the required documentation by mail or in person by visiting your local WA licensing office to complete the transfer process and receive your WA license plates.
Registering Your Vehicle by Mail
You can mail your registration documents to any WA licensing office. In order to successfully register your out-of-state vehicle by mail, you need to submit:
A completed, signed, and notarized Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application (Form TD-420-001)
The vehicle’s out-of-state title
If a lien holder has the vehicle’s title, you need to get a copy of the front and back of the title from the lien holder to use in your application.
If you don’t have a vehicle title or a copy of it, contact your local WA licensing office for further instructions
An odometer disclosure statement for vehicles that are model year 2011 or newer. You can obtain an odometer disclosure statement by:
Visiting a licensing office
Emailing a request to email@example.com
Calling (360) 902-3900
The odometer disclosure statement is printed on specialty paper, so you can’t download this required form, fax it, or email it.
A bill of sale or dealer purchase agreement (if you have owned the vehicle for no longer than 90 days)
Payment for all applicable fees
Send the required documentation and fees to your local WA local licensing office, or to:
Refunds and Title Services
Department of Licensing
P.O. Box 9043
Olympia, WA 98507
You should receive both your vehicle registration and vehicle title within 10 weeks. If you are also registering an RV, motor home, or trailer, you may be asked to provide documentation to prove you have paid your sales tax.
Registering Your Vehicle In Person
If you decide to register your vehicle in person, you have two options to consider. You can either visit your local WA vehicle licensing office to apply or visit a Quick Title office in Washington.
If you visit your local WA vehicle licensing office to register your vehicle in person, your vehicle title will be mailed to you within 10 weeks. You will receive your vehicle registration immediately. If you visit a Quick Title office, to receive your vehicle title and vehicle registration, you will receive both documents immediately and be required to pay an additional fee of $50.
Head to your local WA licensing office and submit:
A signed Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application (Form TD-420-001) All vehicle owners are required to sign the title application in for the signatures to be verified by a licensing agent.
Your out-of-state vehicle title
If a lien holder is currently in possession of the vehicle’s title, have the lien holder send you a copy of the front and back of the vehicle’s title
If you don’t have the vehicle title or a copy of the vehicle title, contact your local WA licensing office for further instructions
An odometer disclosure statement (for vehicles up to year 2011)
A bill of sale or dealer purchase agreement (if you have owned the vehicle for less than 90 days)
Payment for all applicable fees
Congratulations! Now you know how to transfer your out-of-state vehicle registration. Below, you will find different WA DOL locations to help you complete your out-of-state driver’s license and out-of-state vehicle registration to the state of Washington.
Washington DOL Locations
There are different Washington driver’s license locations you can visit to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license and out-of-state vehicle registration.
Washington Driver’s License Office - Lynwood Branch
18023 Highway 99 N Suite E
Lynwood, WA 98037
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (7:30 AM to 5:30 PM)
Monday, Saturday, and Sunday (Closed)
Washington Driver’s License Office - Everett Branch
5313 Evergreen Way
Everett, WA 98203
Call for office hours
Washington Driver’s License Office - Tacoma Branch
2502 112th St. E #200
Tacoma, WA 98445
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday (9 AM to 5 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)