Learn how to get your learner permit and legally practice driving on Washington roads.
Getting a learner permit
Please review the steps and options for getting a learner permit below. You can make an appointment to get your learner permit at a DOL office near you and review the list of approved documents to bring to your appointment.
1. Get a Washington Driver License (WDL) number
Before applying for a learner permit, you'll need to get a Washington Driver License (WDL) number.
You may already have a WDL number if you have:
- A valid or expired WA ID card
- Have filled out an application on our website
- Received a ticket in the past such as a minor in possession or driving without a license
If you think you already have a WDL number but don't remember it, call us for assistance at 360-902-3900.
Washington (WA) permits, ID cards, and licenses use a number that starts with WDL or the first 5 letters of your last name. This number identifies you and is unique. You'll use it to make an appointment to go to one of our offices. Your WDL number also allows your driver training school to inform us you're enrolled in an approved course (required if you want to get your permit between ages 15 and 15 and a half).
2. Learn how to drive
Depending on your age and when you want to get your driver license, you have 2 options.
Option 1: Take a driver training course to get your license before turning 18
You must complete an approved driver training course if you want to get your driver license before you turn 18. You'll need to give your WDL number to your driving school. You can visit an office or complete your online application for a permit 10 days before the course starts (including weekends and holidays). This will allow your driver training school to inform us that you're enrolled.
If you're at least 15 years old and plan to take a driver training course, you can pre-apply for your driver license.
View all approved driver training schools to schedule an appointment.
Option 2 Learn without a course and take a knowledge test to get your license after turning 18
If you don't complete an approved driver training course, you must wait until you’re at least 18 to get your driver license.
If you're not enrolled in a course, you must be at least 15 and a half years old to take the driving knowledge test. Get a WDL number so you can schedule your test.
3. Decide whether you want a photo on your permit
If you don't want a photo on your permit, you can log in and finish your application online. Be aware you'll have to provide proof of identity in person when it's time to get your license.
If you do want a photo on your permit, you'll need to prove your identity in person. You need to make an appointment to do this (learn more about proving your identity). We will take your picture in one of our offices. We may also be able to use a recent picture of you if we have one on file.
Note: If you have a valid WA ID card, you don't need to do this again.
When will your permit arrive?
After you pay and finish your application (online or in our office), we’ll mail your permit. It should arrive in 7-10 business days. Call us if you haven’t received it after 2 weeks.
Log in to License eXpress to print your temporary permit or replace a lost permit card. If you go to an office, you'll get a temporary permit before you leave.
Requirements for driving on public roads
To practice driving on public roads, you must have:
- A valid learner's permit with you
- A licensed driver with at least 5 years of driving experience (you may have other passengers of any age)
- Everyone must wear their seatbelt
- Don't use a phone or other mobile device while driving, unless you need to call 911
Driving outside of Washington
Your WA permit might not be valid for driving in another state. If you're traveling out of state, you should confirm that they will honor your WA learner's permit before you drive there.
Renewing a permit
Your permit is valid for one year.