For all the nature lovers out there, the state of Washington is a paradise with all the adventure activities its open spaces have to offer. It’s not surprising, if you, like many others have decided to move to the Evergreen State that offers a thriving economy, and also has no state income tax to boast off. But all these perks together also, cannot overshadow the host of formalities that moving brings along.

One of those is, getting your driver license updated and changing the address on your vehicle registration. And, these activities are time bound. While you may have your own moving checklist, you will have to make sure to get your documents updated in time. There’s nothing to worry though, as we have here all the information that you would need, in a detailed yet simplified manner. Let’s start right away!

Obtaining A Driver’s License When Moving to Washington From Another State

You will probably have to plan your to do list well, as the state of Washington gives you a time period of 30 days to get yourself a new driver’s license as well as register your vehicle with the Washington DMV. As of now at least, there aren’t any online or over the phone alternatives available for you to get a new driver’s license in Washington. You will have to visit the nearest Washington Department of Licensing office in-person and apply for your new license. Here’s what all you would be needing.

1. Apply For A Change Of Address (Getting A New License)

When you move to the state of Washington, it is mandatory for you to get a new driver’s license as a resident of the state. And to do so, you have a period of 30 days allotted from the day of your move. So, try and plan this event in your timeline accordingly, so that you are not stressed out at the last moment.

As mentioned before, you will have to go to a Washington Department of Licensing office in-person to apply for your new driver’s license. However, you could pre-apply or rather book an appointment in advance online. This could save you some time as well.

You will need to carry all the required documents given below:

  • Your current out of state driver’s license.
  • Proof of Identification (US Passport or Birth certificate would work).
  • Social security number proof (Take your social security card along).
  • Proof of Washington residency (Your Current Bank Statement, Utility Bill, or Pay Stub from new Michigan address, etc).

Good to know: You can either get yourself a standard driver’s license or an Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL), from the Washington DMV. While both would act as a valid driver’s license in the state, you could use the EDL as an alternative for a passport, when re-entering the US from specific countries.

You could check the state official website for further details. As long as your current out of state license is valid and has not expired, you may not have to give a written test and a road test. However, you will have to pass a vision test and if your current out of state license has expired, you will be required to give all these tests. Your license would be valid for a period of 6 years.

You will be charged an application fee of $35, plus the issuance fee of $54 for getting a new standard driver’s license in Washington. The fee would vary depending on the type of license that you opt for. You can check the state’s official website for additional information on the fee structure.

2. Register Your Vehicle In Washington

Just like you need to get your Washington license within 30 days of your move into the state, you have the exact time period of getting your vehicle registered as well. You will have to head to your nearest Washington DMV office in-person and get your vehicle registration done.

Note: There are 2 separate offices for driver and vehicle licensing in Washington. So, you would probably have to make two trips to get both these things done.

You will need to have a valid Washington driver’s license before you can apply for your vehicle registration. Make sure to keep all these documents handy when you are registering your vehicle at the Washington Vehicle Licensing office:

  • Your Vehicle Title Application (Form 42001).
  • Your current out of state vehicle title.
  • Your valid Washington driver’s license.

Do you need proof of insurance to register a car in Washington?

No, you don’t. Washington is one of the only 7 states in the US that does not require a proof of insurance to register your car. However, you would need to show it before being able to drive legally in the Evergreen State.

Registration fee: Since the fee for registering your vehicle in Washington varies depending on your county and type of vehicle, you will have to call the vehicle licensing office and enquire about the fees applicable on you.

Can you update your Washington DMV change of address online?

No, if you’re moving from another state to Washington. However, if you’re moving within the Evergreen State, then you can update your change in address online through the official state website.

Can you drive with a foreign driver’s license in Washington?

Yes, for a maximum period of 1 year, if you are only planning on visiting the state. However, if you plan to move to or become a resident of Washington, then you would need to get a new Washington driver’s license within 30 days of your move.

See also: Moving to Washington State – Relocation Guide

Obtaining A Driver’s License When Moving Within Washington

10 days. Yes, that’s the only time frame you have to update your driver’s license, when you move within the state of Washington. Unlike the new residents of the state, who have a longer period, you would genuinely have to keep the task of updating the address on your driver’s license, within the top few ones of your after-move checklist. Time definitely seems to be of value here, so let’s give you a head-start on how you can go about the process.

You have 3 ways of getting your address updated on your driver’s license and vehicle registration in Washington. You can either do it through Washington DMV’s online service called License eXpress, or you could send your change of address form by mail. You can also visit a Washington Department of Licensing office near you and submit your change in address form in-person. You could choose any of the methods that suits you the best.

1. Online

With only 10 days in hand to get your driver license updated, the quickest way to go about it is by using the Washington DMV’s online portal, called License eXpress. You will just need to log in or create a new account and get the process going.

To get the address on your driver’s license updated:

You only need to fill the Change of Address form available on the state’s official website. There will not be any additional fees, if you only want to update your address on your driver’s license records, when you’re moving within Washington. However, if you need a new license with the updated address, then you will have to pay a fee of $20.

Make sure you have these documents ready, as you will need them to change your address on your Washington driver’s license:

  • Your current Washington driver’s license.
  • Your Change of Address form.
  • Your social security number (specifically, the last four digits).

To update your registration:

Just like the time period for updating your driver’s license, you have only 10 days to get your address changed on your vehicle registration after you move within Washington. You can either complete the process online or you can also do it in-person at the Washington vehicle licensing office. Keep these documents ready for updating your vehicle registration:

  • Your current Washington driver’s license.
  • Your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • Your license plate number.

You will be charged a fee of $14.50 for getting your updated vehicle registration card. Check the official website for additional details.

How long does it take to get a Washington driver’s license in the mail?

According to the estimate mentioned on Washington DMV’s website, it will take around 7 to 10 days for your updated driver’s license to arrive via mail. You could wait for a maximum period of 30 days and if you still haven’t received your driver’s license, then you can contact the Department of Licensing office.

2. By Mail

Another convenient way of getting your address updated on your Washington driver’s license is through mail, if you prefer so. You just need to print and fill a change of address request (Form 500039) and send it via mail to the following address:
Driver Records, Washington Department of Licensing, P.O. Box 9030, Olympia, WA 98507.

3. In Person

For many people, getting things done in your presence is a much more reliable and assuring way. So, if you are also one of those people, then you can visit the Washington Department of Licensing office branch near you and fill the address change form in-person.

See also: Contact Local Moving Companies

When You’re Moving Out Of Washington State

Moving to a new place already brings along a host of things that need to be taken care of. Fortunately though, one thing that you can comfortably tick off that list is, notifying the Washington DMV about your move to another state. You need not worry about that when you are moving out of the Evergreen State, as there is no obligation for you to inform the Washington Department of Licensing, even if your car is registered in Washington. And what about your Washington driver’s license? That also is taken care of, as once you get your license from the new state of residence, your Washington driver’s license will automatically be cancelled.

See also: Top-Rated Out of State Moving Companies | How Much to Move Out of State?

How To Contact The Washington DMV?

Washington Department of Licensing:
Phone: 360 – 902 – 3900
Operational Hours: Monday – Friday (8 am – 5 pm).


Updated documents come handy at all times, and if you don’t want to stress about them at the last minute, then it is always better to keep all your documents organized and up to date with the correct information. As far as your driver’s license is concerned, you need it not only to drive along the roads, but also as an important source of document for many other purposes. So, it’s best that you use the convenient methods offered by the Washington DMV, and get your driver license and vehicle registration documents updated in no time.