Driver license application: ages 18+

A Washington state driver license allows you to legally operate a vehicle. Use this step-by-step guide to get your WA driver license if you are over 18 years old.

How to get a new Washington driver license

If you are 18 or older, you can get your first driver license by passing the knowledge and drive test without taking a driver training course or getting a learner permit.

If you want to practice on public roads before you take your driving test, you need to get a learner permit and be accompanied by a licensed driver with at least 5 years of experience.

Transferring your license from another state

If you are 18 or older and hold a valid driver license from another state, you have a few different options to get your driver license. Visit our Moving to Washington page for information on transferring your license.

1. Get a learner permit to practice driving on the roads

You need to get a learner permit if you are enrolling in a driver training course or going to practice driving.

To practice driving, you must have:

  • A learner permit with you to go on public roads
  • A licensed driver with at least 5 years of experience driving with a valid license in the front passenger seat

2. Pass the knowledge and drive test

If you are taking driver training or you have already passed the knowledge test, skip this step. Depending on your situation, you may or may not need to take a knowledge and drive test. Find what knowledge and drive tests you need to take.

3. Decide if you want a standard driver license or an enhanced driver license (EDL)

An EDL is an alternative to a passport card. You use it to re-enter the U.S. by land and sea after traveling to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean and to enter federal building. EDL complies with the Real ID Act and is an acceptable document for domestic air travel after May 3, 2023. See steps to getting your EDL/EID.

4. Apply for a driver license

Make an appointment to visit a driver licensing office to apply for a license in person. If you have a Washington learner permit, you can apply for your license online. Make sure to review what documents you should bring to your appointment. Be prepared to wait in line.

At your appointment, you will:

We'll give you a temporary license before you leave your appointment. Keep your temporary license with you until you receive your permanent license.

See tips for visiting a driver licensing office.

When will I get my license?

We'll mail it within 7-10 days. If you haven't received it after 30 days, call us at 360-902-3900 (TTY: call 711).

Related information:

Need additional help? Here's how to contact us:

call Phone: 360-902-3900
(TTY: Call 711)
Was this information helpful?