Last Updated: July 15, 2022. Report error / Make suggestion

Quoted sections are based on the Washington Appleseed Reentry Guide and updated where necessary.

Getting your driver’s license

“Six months prior to your release from a facility, you should be given an official notice that provides information regarding how the Department of Corrections can assist you in obtaining a Washington State driver’s license.” The Department of Licensing has agreements with the following correctional agencies

  • Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC)
  • U.S. Federal correction authorities (FDOC)
  • Department of Social and Health Services Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (DSHS JRA)

“Once you have received this notice (it may be called a Verification ID letter), and before you are released, make an appointment to talk with your counselor about obtaining a driver’s license. Your counselor should submit an electronic verification letter to the Department of Licensing (DOL) no earlier than 45 days prior to your release. It is very important to know when your counselor submits this letter. The electronic verification letter will stay on file at the DOL for 60 days from the date it was filed, meaning that it may expire as soon as 15 days after your release.”

“After you are released, bring your Department of Corrections (DOC) Identification Badge to your local DOL office as soon as possible.”DOL office locations.

Finding your driver’s license number

“If you don’t know your driver’s license number, you can get the same information by purchasing a copy of your driving record for $13.

If you have a credit card and an email address, you can purchase your driving record online.

Alternatively, you can fill out a Driving Record Request form and send it to the following address”:

Driver Records
Department of Licensing
PO Box 3907
Seattle, WA 98124-3907

Include a check or money order for $13 payable to “Department of Licensing.” Your request will take roughly two weeks to process.

How do I find out the status of my Washington State driver’s license?

“If you know your driver’s license number, you can use the DOL’s online service to find out the status of your license.”

“If the portal said NO, you can get personalized instructions on how to reinstate your license by using a different online tool from the DOL.”

How do I renew an expired license?

Typically, a license needs to be renewed every six years.

Cost: $54. An additional $10 fee is added if you do not renew your license within 60 days of the expiration date. You cannot renew your license if it’s been expired for more than six years and must apply for a new license.

Update/change address online:There is no cost to update your address, but if you wish to have your license reflect your new address, you will need to pay a $20 fee. If you update/change your address in person at the local DOL office, the fee is $10.

Renew in person: Visit local DOL office.

Renew via mail: Print the renewal form and mail to local DOL office.

How do I apply for a new license?

To get a new Washington State driver’s license, you must be an official resident of Washington state, be 18 years or older, and not have held a driver’s license, instruction permit, state ID card, enhanced driver’s license or ID card before.

Cost: $89

Cost to replace: $20

Before applying: must take and pass the knowledge test on rules of the road AND take pass a driving test, which you will need a year-long instruction permit (can get at a DOL office for a $25 fee). There are testing fees.

What do I do if my license has been suspended?

“License suspensions can be civil or criminal: civil means that you have received a ticket, fine, or other type of citation, and criminal means that you have committed a vehicular crime. Most license suspensions are civil, but a few serious offenses, such asDriving Under the Influence (DUI)or repeated reckless driving, are criminal. Information about civil suspensions.

For help to figure out what steps to take to reinstate your license. Information about criminal suspensions is not available on the DOL relicensing tool and you will have to contact the DOL to get an abstract of your driving record.”

First find out why it has been suspended because the process to reinstate it depends on the cause, which may require you to satisfy your court requirements and fines and pay a licensing and reinstatement fee.

If you know your driver’s license number and want to find out the cause of suspension, use the DOL website.

Other useful information about suspended license:

Reinstating my Washington State Driver’s License

“You should be aware that you might have to pay a number of fines and fees when you reinstate your license. For instance, there may be certain court fees you are required to pay depending on the circumstances of your license suspension or revocation.” Additional fees by the Washington DOL for license reinstatement are as follows:

Getting your license reinstated after a non-alcohol-related suspension$75
Getting your license reinstated after an alcohol-related suspension$150
Getting a probationary license after a DUI conviction or deferred prosecution$50
Applying for anOccupational/Restricted License (ORL)$100
Applying for anIgnition Interlock Driver’s license (IIL)$100

If you need a driver’s license to get to work, school, court-ordered community service, substance abuse treatment, driving to healthcare provider, caring for a dependent, or applying for on-the-job training, you can apply for either the Occupational/Restricted License or the Ignition Interlock Driver’s License.

Occupation/Restricted Driver’s license (ORL)

Cost: $100

You must have a Washington driver’s license. You will not be eligible if you have convicted a vehicular homicide in the past seven years, have a DUI, vehicular assault, violation of court-ordered probation or failure to pay child support.But see the eligibility criteria for other ineligible convictions.

To apply online, fill out the Restricted Driver License Application. You must provide one of the following as proof of financial responsibility:

  • A certificate of insurance (SR-22), which you can get from an auto insurance agent
  • A State Treasurer’s certificate of deposit of $60,000 or approved collateral of equal value; or
  • A surety bond executed by the person giving proof and a surety company authorized to do business in Washington State, or by the person giving proof and by 2 additional sureties.

If you are denied an ORL, you can request a hearing with the DOL via a hearing request form, which should be included in the denial letter. Please return the request form or a letter requesting a hearing to

Hearings and Interviews
Department of Licensing
Box 9031
Olympia, WA

Ignition Interlock Driver’s License (IIL)

Allows you to drive after a conviction for a drug or alcohol-related offense. To apply for an IIL, you first must have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed on all vehicles you drive by an installer certified by the Washington State Patrol. Must maintain an IID on all vehicles you drive* and may be required to drive with an IID installed for a certain period of time depending on your conviction. List of all certified devices and installers.

Cost: $100.

Eligibility criteria: Must have an unexpired Washington State driver’s license or valid out of state driver’s license. Must have an arrest or conviction of DUI or Physical Control involving drugs or alcohol; reckless driving; vehicular assault involving drugs or alcohol; vehicular homicide involving drugs or alcohol; suspension must not include minor in possession or habitual traffic offender.

If you think you may quality for financial assistance for costs associated with an IID, apply with this form.

To apply online, fill out the Restricted Driver License Application AND provide on of one of the following as proof of financial responsibility:

  • A certificate of insurance (SR-22), which you can get from an auto insurance agent;
  • A State Treasurer’s certificate of deposit of $60,000 or approved collateral of equal value; or
  • A surety bond executed by the person giving proof and a surety company authorized to do business in Washington State, or by the person giving proof and by 2 additional sureties.

* An IID may be waived for work vehicles if you have your employer sign the Employer Declaration for Ignition Interlock Exemption form. Mail a copy of this signed form to DOL before you drive those vehicles for work and carry a copy of the declaration with you whenever you drive a work vehicle that isn’t equipped with an IID.

Financial Assistance for Certain Administrative Fees

For financial assistance on a waiver of the administrative fee for a DUI hearing on the suspension or revocation of your driver license OR to apply for assistance with the costs of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installation, removal, and leasing the IID, use the Financial Assistance Application.

The information on this website is not legal advice. You should not and are not authorized to rely on this website as a source of legal advice. While Civil Survival goes to great lengths to make sure the information on the website is accurate, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information and are not responsible for any consequences that may result from the use of this website. We recommend that you consult with an attorney for assurance that the information on the website and your interpretation of it are appropriate for your situation.

More Identification Guides

Driver’s Licenses Guide

Getting a driver’s license can be a critical step toward being able to get to a job, run errands, and travel.

Washington State ID Cards

A Washington State ID card is a card issued by the Department of Licensing (DOL) that serves as proof of identity. A state ID card does not authorize you to drive a car.

Social Security Cards

You will need your Social Security number to get a job, collect Social Security benefits, and access government services, but if you know the number, you do not need to show your Social Security card very often.

Birth Certificate

A birth certificate can usually help you prove your age and citizenship (if you were born in the United States), and is very useful when you are trying to get a state-issued photo ID.

U.S. Passport

Passports allow you to travel internationally. Some impacts of incarceration may impact your ability to get or use a passport.