Last Updated: April 29, 2022

General Resources

Getting or Reinstating Your Driver’s License

If you need to drive a car to get to work or school, you will need a driver’s license. If you had a driver’s license before you were incarcerated and it has expired or been suspended, you will need to reinstate it. Information on how to get a Washington State driver’s license if you never had one or if your in-state or out-of-state license has expired or been suspended is below.

How do I start the process of getting my driver’s license?

To apply for a driver’s license online, you must create a License eXpress (LX) account. You can also apply for a driver’s license in person. Tips about planning your visit to the Department of Licensing (DOL).

Do I need to pass any tests in order to get my license?

Yes. You must pass a knowledge test to prove that you know the rules of the road. The test is multiple choice, and you must get 32 out of 40 correct to pass. Additional information about the knowledge test is available online.

You also must pass a driving test. You must score 80 out of 100 to pass the driving test. If you want to practice driving before your test, you will need to get an instruction permit from a DOL office. You can also sign up for a driver training program. Learn more about driver training programs.

For instructions on choosing a testing location and scheduling an appointment.

How much does it cost to get a driver’s license?

It costs $89 to get a driver’s license, which is valid for six years before it must be renewed. It costs $20 to replace a lost or stolen license. You are also required to pay testing fees for the knowledge and driving tests. These fees vary by location.

What should I bring to the DOL?

Bring the following to your appointment:

  • Testing fees: Check with your testing location for the exact amount
  • Proof that you have auto liability insurance
  • A vehicle in good working condition
  • Proof of identity: You will need to show proof of Washington residence, name, and date of birth. The DOL accepts a number of different documents as proof of identity. Depending on the types of documents you have, you may need more than one form of ID. Visit https://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/idproof.html for a detailed list of acceptable identity documents.
  • $89 fee payment
  • Social security number: If you do not have a Social Security number, you must prove that you have a valid address in Washington

How long will it take to get my license?

Once you pass the knowledge and driving tests and provide proof of identity, you will receive a temporary license at the DOL office. A permanent license will be mailed to you between 7-10 days.

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

If you know your driver’s license number, use the online tool to learn whether your license is active, expired, suspended, or revoked. If you don’t know your driver’s license number, you can either purchase a copy of your driving record for $13 using LX or fill out a Driving Record Request form (available at ), and send it to:

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

How do I renew an expired license?

Washington State driver’s licenses generally need to be renewed every 6 years. Your license usually expires on your birthday. You can renew your license online using LX or in person at a DOL office. The cost to renew your license is $9 per year since your last renewal. If your license expired more than 6 years ago, you cannot renew it and will need to get a new license.

How can I reinstate a suspended license?

You should not drive on a suspended driver’s license. Driving with a suspended license is a crime. If you are pulled over, you will be arrested and your car will be impounded. Most licenses are suspended for civil reasons, such as failing to pay tickets. However, your license may also be suspended if you committed a crime such as Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or repeated reckless driving.

You will have to pay a fee for reinstating your license. The fee varies based on the reason for the suspension. LX provides step-by-step instructions for reinstating your license based on the reason for the suspension. Additional information about reinstating a suspended license.

You also can call 360-902-3900 to speak with a DOL representative who will explain the process for reinstating your license. Before you call, make sure you know the status of your driver’s license.

What if my driver’s license is suspended in another state?

If your out-of-state license is suspended, your Washington license is automatically suspended as well. You will need to contact that state’s department of licensing to find out what you need to do to get your license reinstated.

What can I do if my license is suspended or revoked but I absolutely need to drive in order to get to a job, a treatment program, or some other vital appointment?

While your driver’s license is suspended or revoked, you may be eligible for an Occupational/ Restricted Driver License (ORL) if you (i) have a Washington driver’s license, (ii) can provide proof of financial responsibility with a certificate of insurance, a State Treasurer’s certificate of deposit of $60,000 or a surety bond, and (iii) have not been convicted of vehicular homicide in the past seven years. Serious license suspensions, such as DUI, vehicular assault or vehicular homicide, violation of court-ordered probation, or failure to pay child support are not eligible. Visit the DOL’s website for more information about eligibility requirements.

There is a $100 fee for an ORL. You can apply for an ORL online through the LX portal or in person at a DOL office using the Restricted Driver License Application.

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