To get a driver’s license renewal in Washington, drivers registered in the state can apply online, by mail or by visiting their nearest state licensing office. All DMV license renewal procedures along with other driver’s services are overseen by the Washington State Department of Licensing. Drivers registered in Washington are required to renew their licenses at least once every six years by completing the renewal process through any of the abovementioned methods.

Military personnel do not need to renew a driver’s license online or by any format while they are still in active duty because they receive an automatic extension until they have been discharged and returned to the state. All applications for a renewal must be accompanied by the appropriate processing fee to be successful, which is standard across application methods. Keep reading to learn more about how you can simply request a license renewal in Washington.

Eligibility for Drivers License Renewal in Washington

Washington Drivers License

Note: Your Washington state drivers license expiry date is the same as your date of birth. Locate it on the front of your current drivers license.

Whether a WA driver chooses to visit a driver’s license office in-person or to request a renewal online or by mail, he or she must meet some basic eligibility criteria. All applicants will be asked to show proof of identification, residency and possibly lawful residency in the U.S. Applicants must also surrender their precious license, as no one is allowed to hold more than one official driver’s license in the state.

Instances When You Cannot Renew Your Drivers License in Washington

WA drivers with an expired driver’s license may not be able to submit a renewal application and must instead complete the process of applying for another license. Driver’s licenses that have been expired for more than six years are ineligible for renewal and must reapply for a new license. Drivers who have had their license suspended or revoked in another state are also ineligible for renewal.

How early can you renew your drivers license in Washington?

WA drivers can submit a renewal application up to one year before the document’s expiration date, which is usually on the driver’s birthday. Renewing up to 60 days after a license’s expiration date is also possible without incurring any penalties.

Washington DMV License Renewal Options

Drivers living in Washington can choose to apply for a renewal at a licensing location in their neighborhood, or they can send in an application by mail or online. Drivers should expect to meet the same eligibility requirements regardless of the method.

How to Renew Your Drivers License Online

The process for how to renew a driver’s license online is relatively straightforward and can be done in a few simple steps. Not all WA drivers are eligible to submit a driver’s license renewal form through the online system and must instead prepare to submit the application in-person. To be eligible to apply for a renewal online, WA drivers must meet the following criteria:

  • Be older than 24 years of age and younger than 70 years of age.
  • Pass the state vision exam.
  • Be available to take a new license photo.

Washington drivers who meet the applicable driver’s license renewal requirements to submit a request online should take the following steps:

  1. Head to the WA web portal License Express.
  2. Enter your identifying information to locate your record. Complete the application and upload the necessary supporting information.
  3. Pay the application fee by credit or debit card.
  4. Submit your application and wait to receive your renewed license in the mail.

How to Renew Your Drivers License in Person

All drivers eligible for a DMV license renewal in Washington must meet the necessary requirements to make the request in-person. In some locations, drivers can schedule a renewal appointment before heading into their nearest driver licensing office. Without an appointment, drivers should expect to wait in line to submit their application.

How to Renew Your Drivers License by Mail

Most Washington drivers also have the option of submitting a driver’s license renewal request by mail to the state’s central office. The WA Department of Licensing allows for drivers to apply to the driver’s license office by mail only when they do not expect to be in the state during the renewal time period and for about one year thereafter. WA drivers should note that licenses renewed by mail will not include a photograph, or a signature and therefore my not be valid for some needs.

Submitting a DMV license renewal application by mail can be done in a couple steps. Washington drivers can follow these instructions to submit an application by mail:

  1. Gather the necessary supporting material in acceptable formats.
  2. Print or pick up the Driver License Renewal/Replacement Request While Out-of-State form. Complete, sign and date it.
  3. Make a check or money order out to the Department of Licensing.
  4. Package the application, supporting material, application fee and envelope and mail it to the Washington Department of Licensing.

Military & Out of State Renewal in Washington

What you need to renew a driver’s license if you are an active military member or the family member of active military personnel serving outside of the state is somewhat different in Washington. Drivers that fall in this category must meet additional driver’s license renewal requirements once they have returned to the state in order to successfully submit a DMV license renewal request. Military personnel and their families automatically qualify for an extension of the validity of their license if they meet any of the following conditions:

  • You are a member of the armed forces or National Guard on active duty.
  • You are a reservist called to duty for 180 days or more.
  • You are the spouse or dependent of an active member of the military.

An additional driving license renewal fee will be charged to those drivers who have received an automatic extension when they submit their renewal request. Additionally, military members can no longer request a military designation on their license. Drivers in this category are required to request a DOL Authorization card from the DMV and provide proof of their active duty status at the time they submit a renewal request.

Washington REAL ID Drivers License Renewal

Like most other states around the country, official WA state driver’s licenses and I.D. cards issued by driver’s license offices in Washington are REAL ID compliant according to federal standards. Any documents that are not REAL ID-compliant will be clearly marked as such. This means that WA documents can be used to gain access to federally-secure spaces.

Washington Drivers License Renewal Fees

The specific driving license renewal fee that a driver is required to pay in Washington depends on the type of license the driver is renewing and the period of validity the document will have. Essentially, the WA Department of Licensing charges a processing fee of $9 per year of a document’s validity. Here is a list of commonly asked driver license renewal fees in Washington:

  • Standard driver license renewal fee: $54 for six years
  • If more than 60 days late: $64 for six years
  • While out of state: $54 for six years
  • To extend expiration date for 12 months while out of state: $5 for one year
  • Driver License Renewal with motorcycle endorsement: $84 for six years
  • Commercial Driver License Renewal: $156 for six years
  • CDL Renewal with motorcycle endorsements: $186 for six years
  • Update your name, address, photo or endorsement: $10
Last updated on Tuesday, March 3 2020.