Washington Permit and Driver's License FAQ

  • Applying for Your WA License
  • Preparing for the WA Permit Test
  • Taking the WA Permit Test?
  • Preparing for the WA Driving Test
  • Taking the WA Driving Test
  • Renewing Your WA License
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Applying for Your WA License: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the age requirements for getting started?

Washington’s Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program (GDL), which is designed to reduce the risks associated with first-time teen drivers, includes the following age requirements and stages:

  • 15 years old with driver’s ed – Instruction (Learner’s) Permit
  • 15 ½ years old without driver’s ed – Instruction (Learner’s) Permit
  • 16 years old – Intermediate Driver’s License
  • 18 years old – Unrestricted Driver’s License

What documents am I required to bring with me when applying for a license in Washington?

  • Proof of identity – acceptable documents
  • Proof of driver’s ed enrollment (if applicable)
  • Parental Authorization Affidavit
  • $25 for application fee

Where do I file my WA driver’s license application?

You can apply in person at a local driver licensing office.

How can I contact my local office?

Visit https://fortress.wa.gov/dol/dolprod/dsdoffices/ for office locations, hours and contact information.

Do I have to take a Driver’s Ed Course?

Yes, drivers under the age of 18 are required to take a driver’s ed course to get their license.

What if I am new to Washington?

Those with a valid license must transfer it to Washington within 30 days. Teens under 18 will have their license transferred to a Washington Intermediate Driver’s License. Teens with a Learner’s Permit should contact the Washington Department of Licensing to determine if they can transfer their permit to the state. The DOL’s phone number is (360) 902-3900.

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Preparing for the WA Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

What subjects are commonly covered on the written test?

The Washington written test includes questions on road signs, traffic laws and safe driving. The questions are taken from the Washington Driver’s Manual. Here are two examples of content from the manual that you could be asked questions about on the written test:

  • Pedestrians and bicyclists have the right-of-way at crosswalks and intersections, whether the crosswalk is marked or not.
  • Accelerate gradually and smoothly. Starting too fast can cause your wheels to spin, particularly on slippery surfaces, and cause the vehicle to slide.

How is the test formatted?

The test is multiple choice.

Are there a lot of “trick” questions on the written test?

No, questions all come from the material covered in the Washington Driver’s Manual. The questions are not meant to trick you but rather ensure that you have the knowledge to drive safely.

How many questions are on the test and how many do I need to answer correctly to pass?

There are 40 questions on the test and you must answer at least 32 of them correctly to pass.

What are the best ways to prepare for the written test?

You should study the Washington Driver’s Manual thoroughly as all test questions come from the content found in this guide. A good way to verify you are learning the information necessary to pass is to take practice tests online.

Where can I get a free Washington Driver’s Manual to study?

You can get a free manual here at this website.

How can I improve my odds for passing the first time I take the test?

Don’t assume you just naturally know how to drive. Study the content of the driver’s manual to ensure you understand traffic laws and recommended safe driving procedures. When studying the guide be sure to try to memorize road signs and numerical data such as lengths and speed limits.

What should I do the night before the test?

Review the manual, take a practice test and then be sure to get plenty of rest so that you are ready and at your best for the test the next day.

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Taking the WA Permit Test?: Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to make an appointment to take the written test?

Contact your local driver licensing office or an approved driver training school to see if they accept appointments. If they do, it is usually a good idea to schedule one.

Where do I take the written test?

You will take the test at a local driver licensing office or at any approved driver training school in the state.

What do I need to bring when I sit for the written test?

  • Proof of identity – acceptable documents
  • Proof of driver’s ed enrollment (if applicable)
  • Parental Authorization Affidavit
  • $25 for application fee

Who should accompany me to the written test?

You should be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Do I need to pay a fee to take the written test?

Yes, you will need to pay a $25 fee.

What should I expect when I sit for the written test?

The written test features 40 questions on road signs, traffic laws and safe driving procedures. You will need to answer at least 32 correctly to pass. When taking the test, you cannot receive help from anyone, refer to any notes or the driver’s manual or use your cell phone.

What happens after I pass the written test?

You will receive your Instruction Permit and can begin supervised driving practice with a supervising driver who has been licensed for at least five years. You need to complete 50 hours of behind-the-wheel driving practice, with at least 10 of those hours coming at night.

What happens if I fail the written test?

You can retake the test but you will have to pay a fee each time. Check with your local testing facility for the exact amount.

How soon can I retake the written test?

If you fail the first time, you can retake it in four hours. If you fail a second time, you can retake it in one day.

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Preparing for the WA Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve passed the written permit test, what are the next steps?

You can now begin supervised driving practice. You need to log 50 total hours of driving practice with at least 10 of those hours coming at night. Your driving practice must be done with a supervising driver who has held his or her license for at least five years.

How long after getting my Learner’s Permit can I apply for a license?

In order to apply for a license, you must hold your Instruction Permit for at least six months, complete the 50 hours of driving practice and be at least 16 years of age.

Can I drive anywhere in Washington with my Learner’s Permit?

Yes, as long as you are accompanied by a qualified supervising driver, you can drive on any Washington public road or street.

Should I practice driving solely during the day?

No, you are required to complete at least 10 of your 50 supervised driving practice hours at night.

Does anyone have to be in the car with me when I’m driving with my Learner’s Permit?

Yes, you must be accompanied by an adult who has held their driver’s license for at least five years.

What should I do if I have a lost Washington Learner’s Permit?

You can replace your Instruction Permit by visiting a driver licensing office with proper identification.

How can I be sure I’m prepared to ace the driving test?

Make the most of your practice driving. Listen to your supervising driver and apply his or her suggestions. Also, read the Washington Driver’s Manual and apply the safe driving procedures it describes.

Are there particular driving maneuvers I should practice?

Yes, you should practice turns, quick stops, accelerating, parking and more. You should also practice safe driving methods, such as following at a safe distance, signaling and obeying road signs.

How can I simulate the driving test?

Be sure to practice maneuvers, such as parking, stopping and turning. Also, practice driving in traffic where you need to obey road signs and be observant of other cars and pedestrians.

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Taking the WA Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule my driving test?

Contact your local driver licensing office or driver training school to schedule an appointment.

Where do I take the driving test?

You will take the test at a local driver licensing office or at a driver training school.

What should I bring to the driving test?

  • Instruction Permit
  • Driver’s ed completion certificate
  • Social Security Number
  • Parental Authorization Affidavit
  • $35 for application fee and $54 for licensing fee
  • A vehicle to use for the driving test
  • Vehicle registration
  • Proof of insurance

Who should bring me to the driving test?

A licensed parent or legal guardian should bring you.

What will I be asked to do on the driving test?

The test is designed to show that you are able to legally and safely drive a vehicle. That means you will have to complete a series of basic maneuvers, such as parking, stopping, accelerating and turning, and you will also need to be able to drive safely in traffic on a public roadway.

What are the most common reasons new drivers fail the driving test?

Overconfidence/lack of practice, driving dangerously, committing numerous “minor” mistakes and failing to follow the examiner’s instructions are all common reasons for failure.

What are five mistakes I should be sure to avoid when taking the driving test?

  • Refusing to follow an examiner’s instruction
  • Speeding
  • Failing to signal when changing lanes
  • Failing to back up in a straight line
  • Not obeying a traffic sign or signal

What happens if I fail the driving test?

You must wait one week to retake it.

How many times can I retake the test if I failed?

The second time you fail you can take it again in 1 to 3 weeks and if you fail a third time you will have to wait three months to retake it.

I’ve passed the road test, now what?

You will receive your Washington Intermediate Driver’s License.

What restrictions come with a Washington license?

  • For first six months – no passengers under 20 who are not immediate family members
  • For second six months – only three passengers under 20 who aren’t immediate family members
  • For first 12 months – cannot drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by licensed driver age 25 or older unless traveling for agricultural purposes

When you reach 18 all restrictions are removed.

What are the insurance requirements for drivers in WA?

Drivers in Washington are required to carry automobile insurance. State law requires that insurance to meet or exceed the following minimum standards:

  • Bodily Injury – $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Property Damage – $10,000
  • Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury – $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Underinsured Motorist Property Damage – $10,000 per accident
  • Basic Personal Injury Protection – $10,000 per accident
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Renewing Your WA License: Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need to renew my license or replace a lost/stolen license?

A valid Washington Driver’s License can be renewed up to one year before the expiration date. If your driver’s license has been expired for more than 60 days you can still renew it but you will need to pay a $10 late fee in addition to the regular renewal fee.

The state will send you a renewal notice with information on which renewal methods – online, in person and by mail – are available to you.

You can replace a lost or stolen license, in person at a driver licensing office, at a self-service station or online. You will need to pay a $20 replacement fee.

Where can I renew my Washington driver’s license?

You may be able to renew your license online, by mail or in person at a driver licensing office. The state will send you a renewal notice with instructions.

Will I be required to take a vision test when renewing my license?

When renewing in person you are required to take a vision test. To pass the test, you need to see at least 20/40 with both eyes with or without corrective lenses. Drivers who fail the vision-screening test are issued a Certificate of Visual Examination. They must take the certificate to an ophthalmologist or optometrist for completion, and then take or mail it back to the driver’s license office that issued the certificate within 30 days.


The Washington DOL Practice Test — What You Need to Know

If you sincerely want to get your learner’s permit or drivers license, then continue reading.

Before you can take advantage of the benefits that come with a Washington learners permit, you will need to pass the mandatory permit test administered by the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL). The permit test is a written test featuring questions in multiple-choice format that are designed to determine if you have the knowledge to be a safe driver.  You will be tested on your knowledge of the rules of the road, Washington state traffic laws, and various road signs.

Improve Your Score With WA DOL Practice Tests

Did you know that statistics reveal that the majority of people fail the permit test?  Failing the exam means having to head back to the DOL office again and retake the exam.  With today’s busy schedules, who has time for that?

It’s not all doom and gloom though.  With the right study tools, you’ll be able to develop the confidence and knowledge needed to pass the test.

Here you’ll find a list of resources below to help you get started.  We’ve put together everything you need. We even provide you with our sample interactive Washington practice tests, designed to give a better idea of what the real exam will look like.   You’ll also have quick access to the official Washington Driver’s Handbook for reference.   Need a motorcycle permit?  Our study material can help you with that test too.

You’ll find everything in one convenient place.