• Drivers Over 18

WA Drivers - Over 18

There are different measures taken by those who have reached the age of 18 and are getting their first time license. Following the rules of the state means knowing what steps you must take to become a licensed driver, even if you are over 18 and have never had one before. These processes must also be followed by those over the age of 18 moving to Washington who has an out-of-state license in order to transfer their license.

Choose Type of Washington License

There are different licenses offered to new drivers over 18 in Washington:

  • Standard Driver’s License, or Personal Driver’s License
  • EDL, or Enhanced Driver’s License, also used as entrance passport to U.S. by land or sea
  • CDL, or Commercial Driver’s License, offered in Classes A, B, and C
  • Motorcycle Operator’s Endorsement

**For all new drivers under the age of 18, a traffic safety course in Washington is absolutely required.

Washington Driver’s Education

For all drivers under the age of 18, a driver’s ed course must be passed and you must submit the completion certificate before your new license is issued. You will then be required to hold your Washington learner’s permit for a period no less than 6 months before a standard license is issued.

For new drivers over the age of 18, you are not required to complete the driver’s ed course, however, the Washington DOL urges all new drivers to take advantage of the opportunity in order to build better defensive driving skills.

Preparing for Washington Written Exam

When it comes to the Washington written exam, no other resource is going to provide the comprehensive information and driver safety information that you can find within the Washington Driver Guide. This guide is offered in every DOL office, as well as online.

There are also several driver practice tests offered online to help you practice for your written exam in Washington. These practice tests will be quite similar to the actual test itself, offering a good replication of the experience you will encounter when you have prepared enough and decided to take your test.

Locate Washington DOL Office

You won’t be able to obtain an appointment with the DOL office for the written exam due to the high volume of drivers that frequent the offices each day. While there are no appointments offered to save you time, you can save time by calling the DOL office and asking which time of the day is the least busy or choosing a time that there aren’t many people thinking about their driver’s license – such as lunch time.

Find the office that can handle your matter and report at a time most convenient for you, with the paperwork necessary to get your license. Since you do have to report in person, you definitely don’t want to make multiple trips to complete one task.

Test-Day at the DOL

Once you have studied all you can and have just about memorized the Washington Driver’s Guide, it is time to take your written exam, which will be preceded by submission of the appropriate documents and paperwork.

  • Provide appropriate proof of birth and legal name.
  • Complete driver’s license application, which you must retrieve from DOL office.
  • Provide proof of Social Security or Washington address.
  • Pass written exam and road exam. You will be required to make an appointment for the road exam, as well as bring your own vehicle.
  • Complete vision test.
  • Provide appropriate proof of U.S. citizenship.
  • Pay $45 license fee (which includes $20 for driver’s tests and $25 for 5-year license card).

**If you wish to pay with a debit or credit card, you must avoid the county offices that don’t accept such payment or bring cash or check. The following offices will not accept credit/debit card payments:

  • Coulee
  • Dam
  • Davenport
  • Friday Harbor
  • Forks
  • Goldendale
  • Newport
  • Republic
  • South Bend

If you are new to Washington, you will have a total of 30 days in which you must obtain your new Washington driver’s license in order to drive legally in the state. Luckily, if your out-of-state license is still valid at the time of application, you will only be required to pass the vision exam and pay your $25 new license fee.

Your out-of-state driver’s license will then be invalidated, and you will receive it back with a temporary Washington driver’s license. Within 5 days, you will receive your new driver’s license for Washington in the mail.

Taking the Washington Written Test

If you have never had a driver’s license before, the written exam is required. You will see all the same information that you studied in the driver’s manual, which will make the test much easier if you studied well. The test can take a different amount of time per person taking it, but can average around 20 to 30 minutes, sometimes longer. Make sure that you are prepared to wait a bit in line, however, as you cannot set an appointment first.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready

You will be required to take the road exam after you have completed and passed the written exam. You will also be required to bring your own vehicle, as there are no test vehicles available. Make sure that you visit 4DMV.com’s buying and selling pages if you haven’t yet purchased a vehicle or if you are currently in the process.

A current and valid auto insurance policy is required before you will be able to use the vehicle for your test, as well as Washington vehicle registration. If you are using a parent/guardian’s vehicle or that of your friend, you must also be listed on the insurance policy before the vehicle is acceptable to use for your road exam. The same rules apply to test vehicles as regular vehicles in Washington.

Taking the Washington Road Exam

The Washington road exam is the ultimate faceoff. This is what really determines whether the license is yours or still right out of your reach. If you are over the age of 18 and driver’s ed wasn’t required, this test is where it really counts to take the advice of the Washington DOL and take the course anyway.

Before you are able to start the test, the vehicle you have brought along with you will be checked to ensure it is:

  • Registered
  • Insured
  • and up to standards – meaning that there are no busted lights, broken seatbelts, or any other issues.

You must also have a Washington licensed driver with you.

In order to pass the exam, you must:

  • Scoreat least an 80%, after which you are issued your temporary license

while you wait for the official 5-year photo license to arrive in the mail. Your temporary license is only valid for a period of up to 45 days, so if you are nearing the end of validity and haven’t received your driver’s license in the mail, contact the DOL.

If you aren’t so successful and fail your road exam, you are permitted to retest after one week. However, if you fail again, you will have to wait up to 3 weeks before another test can be scheduled. If you fail on the third test, you may as well enroll in driver’s training and sit back as you will have to wait 3 months before another test can be scheduled.

Receive your Washington Personal Driver’s License

When you leave the DOL with your temporary license, you will see your permanent license in the mail within about a 1 ½ weeks. If you still haven’t received the license after a month, it is a good idea to check with the DOL to ensure your address on file is correct and that there were no other issues.

Non-Citizen Washington Drivers

If you are a new resident to the U.S. and have chosen Washington for your home, you are given the same amount of time to get your new license as out-of-state drivers – 30 days. You will also follow the same new licensing process as other driver’s based on your age, which must be done within the DOL office in your new county.

Germany currently has a reciprocity agreement with the state of Washington, which allows new residents from Germany to obtain a license with the same process as other new drivers, minus the written and road exams as long as there was a valid license in their name within Germany. The license will cost only $25.


Choose A State