Moving to Seattle? Get Washington License
By law, you have 30 days to get your Washington driver license once you establish residency in Washington State.
How to establish residency in Washington
You are considered a resident when you do any of the following:
- Arrive in Washington and begin establishing a home in the state.
- Register to vote.
- Receive state benefits.
- Apply for any state license.
- Seek in-state tuition fees.
How to get a Washington State driver license
If you have a valid driver license from another state
- Visit a driver licensing office.
- Bring with you:
- Proof of identity and residence, including your out-of-state license.
- Cash or check to pay the $45 fee for your first Washington driver license ($20 for your application and $25 for your license).
- Your social security number, which is mandatory to help enforce child support laws. Your social security number will be verified but does not appear on your license.
- Complete a driver license application, which includes:
- your address.
- a physical and mental fitness statement.
- previous driver licenses information (if any).
- suspensions, revocations, or cancellations of prior driver licenses.
- Pass a vision screening and demonstration of color recognition.
- After completing the steps above, you won’t need to take a knowledge test or a driving test unless you have a medical or physical condition that indicates testing is required.
- You must turn in your out-of-state license to the Department of Licensing so it can be invalidated.
If you have an expired driver license from another state
You must pass the knowledge test and driving test in addition to completing all the steps above.
If you have valid license from another country
Germany and British Columbia are the only locations that have reciprocity agreements with Washington State.
- If you have a valid German or British Columbia driver license, you may get a Washington State driver license by following the steps above for new residents with a valid license from another state.
- If you have moved to Washington State from a country other than Germany or a Canadian province other than British Columbia, you must complete all the steps to getting your first license.
If you are visiting Washington State from another country, you may use your out-of-country driver license for up to 1 year.
When you’ll get your new driver license
You will receive a temporary license at the driver licensing office that will allow you to drive for 45 days. Your permanent Washington driver license will be processed and mailed to you within 7–10 days. If for some reason you have not received your new license within 30 days, please return to any driver licensing office.
How to get an enhanced driver license
See Steps to getting your EDL/EID to learn how to get a Washington State enhanced driver license, which is an acceptable alternative to a passport for re-entry into the U.S. at land and sea border crossings.
RCW 46.20.021: New residents