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New Washington Drivers License

Who Needs a License?

Each driver’s situation is unique and therefore requires a select type of license in order to operate a vehicle on roadways. All new residents to the state and those applying for a first license must complete the process to receive a license at a local Department of Licensing. Types include:

For a standard driver’s license used for personal operation of a motor vehicle there are several stages and types including:

  • A learner’s permit- Practice photo permits are issued for all new drivers to learn driving skills accompanied by a qualifying supervising driver. You must 15 ½ years old to apply.
  • Minors applying for a license will be issued first an intermediate license after satisfying instructional permit requirements. You must be at least 16 for this license. Adult new drivers skip this step.
  • Basic Drivers License is issued to all residents and new drivers. An enhanced basic license may also be issued with special application processes.
  • Motorcycle drivers are required to obtain a motorcycle license to operate on roadways.
  • Those applying for a CDL are intending to operate specific vehicles for commercial use only.

What does Pre-apply for a License do?

You may apply in advance for your first license or an instruction permit which will save you time at the office. From the DOL website you will be prompted to fill out an online application and submit some information about yourself. When you finish and the application has been processed, you will then receive an ID number. Upon your visit to the office you will present your ID number so that the clerk can pull up your information and move on to the next step in licensing.

What are the Requirements for getting a License?

In order to receive a license in Washington you must begin the process at the licensing office. If you have pre-applied your information will be saved on file and can be retrieved by giving the clerk your ID number issued at the end of the online process. You will complete the application with a physical signature and then complete the next steps:

Submit the required documentation as proof of the information on your application. After you submit your application you will receive a notice in the mail and form to schedule an appointment so that a clerk may review your proofs. This will include:

  • Proof of identity.
  • A social security card is required for licensing if you are a US citizen. If you do not have a card you will must submit a signed declaration form and have other necessary proofs to continue.
  • Proof that you are a resident of the state. Bring as many documents as you can gather to prove your residency in case one or more are not accepted.
  • You will need to pay your $35 application fee and $45 licensing fee at this office before moving on the next step.

Once your application has been processed successfully you must take a knowledge test at a testing facility. A record will be created for you logging your scores because scores can’t be entered into a computer. Save this as it will be needed for the driving test. You will return to the licensing facility to take a vision screening and complete the application.

  • You will also be required to take a driving test at a private location.

Those with a valid photo instructional permit and with no diving convictions may qualify to complete the final portion of the process online. Be prepared to print out your receipt which will be used as your temporary license.

What Tests do I need to get a License?

  • Knowledge exams must be taken at a qualifying test facility. Tests cannot be administered until the application and required documents have been turned into a licensing facility.
  • The vision test will be administered by the licensing facility upon return from successful completion of the written test.
  • The driving test must be taken through a private company. Fees will vary depending on the company’s charges and are in addition to the application and testing fees required by the state.

Taking a Drivers Education Course

Minors applying for an instructional permit must first show proof of completion of a driver’s education course. This must include 30 hours of classroom and six hours of road instruction from a licensed instructor.

Preparing for the Written Test

In order to take the written test you must begin the process first at the licensing office. You cannot take the written test until you have proof you have submitted an application and completed the first portion of the process at the facility. Then you may visit a testing facility to take the written test

The test is comprised of 25 test questions in which you must correctly answer 20 to pass. Materials used to generate the questions can be found in your DOL Drivers Handbook as well as in detailed Cheat sheets and practice tests that can be obtained through Studying these materials and taking practice tests is the best way to prepare for your testing process.

Scheduling an Appointment

You will receive a form in the mail to schedule an appointment for the DMV to review your application and documents once you have begun the process online. No appointment is needed to take the written or vision tests but you will need to make an appointment with a private testing school for the driving exam.

What to Bring on Test Day

On the day of written testing you must visit a testing facility with proof that you have completed the first portion of licensing at a licensing office.

For the drivers test you will need proof that you have begun the application process, passed the vision and written tests and show a valid learners permit. In addition you will need your vehicle, proof of insurance and registration to test.

Costs of a Drivers Test

Before you can take the written test you must pay the $35 dollar application fee and $45 licensing fee which includes the cost of the written and vision tests. The drivers test must be done at a private facility and separate fees will apply.

Fees for the DOL charges may be paid with check/money order, cash, Master Card and American Express and a limited selection of Visa Debit Card. There is an additional charge for credit or debit card payments.

Proof of Insurance

Proof of insurance is only required for driving tests or if you are registering a vehicle.

Taking the Written Test

The written test is administered at a testing facility after successful completion of the first portion of the license process. You will take the test on a simple computer and must receive a passing score in order to continue licensing. The test is comprised of 25 multiple choice questions assuring you are prepared to obey traffic laws and signs and can safely operate a vehicle. You must correctly answer 20 questions to pass.

Study hard using your Drivers Handbook and cheat sheets issued by in order to fully understand the material before testing. In addition, practice tests are available to reinforce what you have learned to assure a passing score on the first try.

Taking the Driving Test

The drivers test can only be taken after all other steps have been completed and tests passed. You must supply your own vehicle for testing and the exam is administered through private companies with separate fees. Proper registration and proof of insurance are required on the day of testing. Be prepared to follow instructions given by an examiner to pass the test including hand signals, posture and proper use of equipment such as turn signals.

You will drive on roadways and complete each step properly to prove you have control of the vehicle and understand all traffic laws and signals. Read through some helpful articles online that can better prepare you for great driving and a passing score.

Renewing your Washington Drivers License

How do I renew my Washington License?

Each driver must renew their license by the deadline in order to continue legally driving. A standard license is valid for five years and expires on the driver’s birthday. Renewal may be done in person up to a year in advance, online or by mail between 60 days before and 30 days after expiration.

What tests do I need to take to renew?

Your renewal notice, mailed to your current address on file, will instruct you if any tests are necessary. If you must take any tests, you will need to visit an office in person to complete the testing process include the possibility of vision test, written test or in some special cases the driving portion must be repeated. If you must repeat the driving portion you will need to test again through a private company.

What is the cost to renew my license?

The cost of renewal is $45 if done before expiration. Late renewals will cost $55 if more than 60 days past expiration.

Steps to renew your license

When your renewal letter arrives, read through for instructions on how to continue.

For in-person renewals- you have been requested to renew in person for a reason which may include testing required or showing new proofs to the state. To renew in person:

  • visit your local licensing office and submit your current license and renewal notice.
  • Pass a vision screening and take a new photo.
  • If you are required to re-test, visit a testing facility and retake the written test. Be sure to brush up on materials using a refresher course Cheat sheets is an excellent way to prepare.
  • Pay the $45 renewal fee.
  • If you qualified for renewal by mail or online, follow the listed instructions to continue. Mail renewals will include a form with the renewal notice to fill out and return to the DMV office. You will need a printer to apply online and will print out your temporary license while waiting for your new photo ID.

Getting a Washington Learners Permit

Who needs a learners permit?

A learner’s permit is available to all new drivers age 15 ½ and older and is mandatory for applicants under the age of 18. You may receive your permit at age 15 if you can show proof of enrollment in Drivers Education at the time of application. You may begin the process by applying online and then making an appointment to complete the application and submit required proofs. A minor must have a parent or guardian with them to apply.

Requirements for getting a learners permit

The following are required to receive a learner’s permit:

  • Approved proof of identity.
  • A social security card or signed declaration.
  • Proof of residency in Washington.
  • A parent or guardian present to complete an affidavit of parental responsibility and to give consent.
  • Pass a vision screening at the licensing office and written knowledge test at a testing facility.
  • Pay the $20 learners permit fee with a check/money order, cash or approved credit or debit card.

Driving with a WA learners permit

In order to satisfy requirements for an intermediate license, permit holders must complete at least 50 hours of on the road practice with a licensed driver who has held a valid license for five years or more. Ten of these hours must be practice at night. Proof will be required when applying for a license in the form of a signed driver’s log. The permit must be held for at least six months before the licensing process can begin and this is an excellent opportunity for behind the wheel practice.

You may not practice between 1am and 5am unless it is an emergency situation and only if accompanied by your licensed driver.

Cost of a learners permit

A learners permit cost is $20.

Steps to getting a Washington learners permit

Begin the process online at the DMV website by filling out an online application and information about yourself, and submitting for records. You will be issued an ID number to be used in later stages. You will receive a form to apply for an appointment in the mail to have the following proofs reviewed for approval:

  • Proof of identity.
  • A valid social security card- or sign a declaration if one is not available.
  • Proof of a residency in Washington.
  • Visit a testing facility and pass the knowledge test.
  • Return to the licensing facility with proof of score to complete the process. Take a photo for your ID and pay the $20 permit fee.
100% Money Back Guarantee If You Fail

The DMVCheatSheets Guarantee

If you don't pass your written test we will REFUND you 100% of your purchase with us.

Study Material Available