Washington Enhanced Driver’s License | DMV.com (2023)

The Washington enhanced driver’s license (EDL) credentials are official identification documents issued by the state Department of Licensing (DOL) that come with various privileges. This enhanced ID credential serves as proof of identity and citizenship, offers standard driving privileges and can be used to travel to the United States by land and sea.

Note that the requirements to obtain an enhanced driving license are slightly stricter than those that apply for a standard driver’s license. To apply for this drivers license passport, you will have to submit your request through a DOL location that accepts EDL applications. You will be required to submit several types of documents proving your eligibility and pay a higher-than-standard fee. Note that if you already hold a standard driver’s license, you will not be required to pass the driving exams when applying for this document.

Apart from issuing enhanced driving licenses in WA, the state DOL also issues enhanced ID cards (EID), which offer the same identification and border-crossing benefits without extending any driving privileges. To apply for an enhanced identification card, you will be required to meet the same documentation requirements. Therefore, you will have to prove your U.S. citizenship and state residency. Note that you will be required to submit your paperwork and fee payments in person, since the DOL staff must verify the submitted documents immediately.

After obtaining your enhanced ID card, you can use it to re-enter the U.S. by land or sea and board domestic flights. Continue reading the sections below to learn more about applying for an enhanced DL and ID card.

What is an enhanced driver’s license in Washington?

Many drivers do not know what the EDL is. In short, the license is a sort of cross between a driver’s license and a passport card. The enhanced driver license benefits allow holders to travel to the United States without a passport, drive your motor vehicle within the states and use it for official identification purposes. However, the enhanced driver’s license states list is limited, and if you would like to travel to other international countries, you will be required to obtain a conventional passport. However, you can still travel by plane within the country with only your enhanced license to drive.

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What is an enhanced ID in Washington?

If you obtain a Washington enhanced ID card, on the other hand, you will be granted the same identification and border-crossing privileges extended to holders of EDL credentials without getting any driving privileges. Therefore, if you are unable or unwilling to drive, you can apply for an EID credential instead. By doing so, you will obtain a state-issued identification and citizenship document, which will also allow you to return to the United States by land or sea. You can likewise utilize the enhanced identification card to board domestic flights.

Washington Enhanced License Eligibility Requirements

Before learning how to get an enhanced license in Washington, you will need to review the requirements for these special DOL credentials. Note that the eligibility criteria for an enhanced ID card or an EDL document are stricter than those that apply for their standard counterparts. To get your enhanced license to drive, the following requirements must apply to you:

  • You are a state resident and a U.S. citizen.
  • You are at least 18 years of age, if applying for an unrestricted enhanced driver’s license.
  • You have passed the licensing exams, if applying for an EDL credential.
  • You have collected the necessary supporting paperwork.
  • You have arranged payment for the WA enhanced driver’s license cost.

If you are applying for an enhanced driving license as a teenage driver younger than 18 years of age, the following must be true:

  • You are at least 16 years of age.
  • You have held a learner’s permit for at least six months.
  • You have completed a driver training course.
  • You have not been convicted of any traffic violations.
  • You have parental permission to apply for your credential.

The above requirement list is not all-inclusive, as it contains only the general eligibility criteria. Depending on whether you are obtaining an enhanced license or an enhanced ID card and your age when you apply, the requirements may vary to a certain degree.

Documents Needed for an Enhanced Driver’s License in Washington

Motorists wondering, “What do you need to get an enhanced driver’s license in Washington?” must note that the state DOL requires the full set of supporting paperwork, including:

Proof of U.S. citizenship:

  • A valid U.S. passport or passport card
  • A U.S. birth certificate
  • A U.S. Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship

Proof of your Social Security status:

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  • A Social Security card
  • An SSA-1099 form or a W-2 form
  • A pay stub with your Social Security Number (SSN)

Two proofs of state residency:

  • A vehicle registration
  • Utility bills
  • A school transcript

Proof of identity:

  • A state-issued identification document
  • A government ID card
  • A military identification document

Proof of name change, if you have recently changed your legal name:

  • A marriage document
  • A divorce decree
  • A court order

Note: The submitted paperwork must be in its original unaltered form or as copies certified by the agency that issued them.

How to Get an Enhanced License in Washington

To obtain the Washington drivers license passport or an EID credential, you will be required to submit an in-person request through a DOL location that processes enhanced credential applications. Note that the procedure to get your enhanced ID document will vary depending on whether you are obtaining a driving license or an ID card. For instance, if you would like to apply for a WA enhanced driving license, you will first have to pass all licensing exams, provided you have not done so already and you are not simply transferring a valid out-of-state credential.

Once you meet the requirements for a travel drivers license or an enhanced identification card, you can visit a nearby EDL/EID office and complete the following steps:

  1. Complete the mandatory interview.
  2. Fill out the corresponding application form.
  3. Submit your supporting paperwork.
  4. Have your photo taken.
  5. Pay the applicable licensing fees.

Note that you will be required to arrive at the DOL location at least 90 minutes before closing time to allow for enough time for the interview and the documentation verification procedure. If you are applying for an EDL or an EID document as a teenage applicant, you must also be accompanied by a parent who will provide his or her signature on your application form. You will receive a temporary enhanced identification card or driving license before leaving the office, which you can use until you receive the permanent document by mail.

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How long does it take to get an enhanced license in Washington?

After approving your Washington enhanced license application, the state DOL will manufacture it and mail it to your address on file within two to three weeks of the date you submitted your request. Note that this longer processing period for an EDL or EID credential is due to the enhanced security features included in the enhanced credential. At the moment, you cannot expedite the manufacturing process for your enhanced license to drive or ID card. However, if you do not receive it within three weeks, contact the department to inquire about the status of your credential.

Enhanced Driver License Cost in Washington

One of the last steps when applying for a Washington enhanced driver’s license is arranging payment for the applicable licensing fees. Note that the total cost of the DOL enhanced ID credentials includes an enhanced license fee in addition to the standard cost for your driving license or ID card. For instance, to get an enhanced identification card in WA, you will be required to pay a $78 fee for a six-year credential, which is $24 higher than the basic $54 ID card fee. The enhanced driving license fee is $113 for the six-year credential, which is likewise higher than the cost for a standard license.

Enhanced Licenses vs. Passports in Washington

If you are wondering about the differences between the Washington DMV enhanced license and a standard passport document, note that these two official documents are dissimilar in various aspects. First, while you must apply with a nearby DMV office to get an enhanced license, you have to go through the U.S. Department of State if you would like to get a passport. Then, even though both an enhanced credential and a passport card serve as proof of identification and citizenship, the enhanced ID card and the EDL only provide limited border-crossing privileges.

If you are planning on traveling internationally, you will need to obtain a U.S. passport. However, while a WA enhanced driving license extends standard driving privileges, you cannot utilize your U.S. passport for that purpose. When choosing whether or not to obtain an enhanced credential, evaluate your current and future needs of owning a document that will allow you to drive legally and return to the U.S. from by land or sea.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 3 2020.

  • FAQs

    Can I get an enhanced Washington license online? ›

    Due to identity verification protocols, enhanced documents must be obtained in person.

    Can I fly without an enhanced ID Washington State? ›

    You must present an acceptable ID, such as a valid passport, state-issued enhanced driver's license or U.S. military ID, to fly within the U.S. You will not be allowed to fly if your identity cannot be verified.

    How many questions can you miss on the Washington drivers test? ›

    There will be 40 questions on your exam, and you'll need at least 32 questions answered correctly to pass and to be eligible for your driver's permit.

    How much does it cost to get an enhanced driver's license in Washington state? ›

    In total, a six-year fee will be $42 and an eight-year fee will be $56. The fee increase also applies to renewals. The DOL is also reminding residents that the enhanced license/ID is needed to fly beginning May 3, 2023, to comply with REAL ID.

    How long does it take to get an enhanced drivers license in Washington state? ›

    Payment for the fee. When someone applies, they must be able to establish, or re-establish U.S. citizenship and Washington residence. Once approved, residents should allow two to three weeks to receive their card. For more specifics, visit the DOL website here.

    Can I use an enhanced license to go to Canada? ›

    License styles

    Enhanced licenses are federally accepted documents that allow you to enter the U.S. at a land or sea border crossing when returning from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean.

    Why do I need an enhanced driver's license in Washington state? ›

    What is an enhanced driver's License? Starting in January 2008, Washingtonians can apply for an Enhanced Driver's License (EDL), a new kind of driver's license that can be used instead of a U.S. passport for some border crossings. The EDL is optional and may not be right for all drivers.

    How do I know if I have an enhanced driver's license? ›

    REAL ID-compliant licenses are marked by a star on the top of the card. Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, and New York states issue REAL ID and state-issued enhanced driver's licenses, both of which are acceptable.

    Can I fly with a regular Washington state driver's license? ›

    Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver's license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel.

    Is Wa State enhanced driver's license a REAL ID? ›

    Washington state's REAL ID-compliant driver's license is called the Enhanced Driver License, or EDL, and says “Enhanced Driver License” at the top.

    What is ID 2023 in Washington state? ›

    Enhanced Identification Card (EID) Federally Recognized, Tribal-issued Photo ID.

    Is the Washington state driving test hard? ›

    Washington has the hardest driving test in the US

    KOMO News recently reported on a study by Siegfried and Jensen, which says that Washington state is the hardest state in the nation to pass the driving test.

    How many times can you take the Washington knowledge test? ›

    You are allowed to make a second attempt in 4 hours. The second time you fail, you can retake the exam in 1 day.

    How many times can you take the Washington drivers test? ›

    Applicants may retake both the written knowledge and drive skills test as many times as necessary with no waiting period to pass. We do recommend that if you do not pass either test that you wait 24 hours and review the driver guide and practice your driving skills.

    Do I need a passport to go to Canada if I have an enhanced driver's license? ›

    Americans with an Enhanced Identification Card (EIC) or Enhanced Drivers License (EDL) from Washington State, Minnesota, South Dakota, Michigan, New York, or Vermont can be allowed to travel to Canada without a Passport.

    Can I get into Mexico with an enhanced driver's license? ›

    An EDL will allow you to make quick trips across the border to Canada or Mexico by car or by boat. However, you should be aware that an EDL cannot be used for travel to countries other than Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean nations included in the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

    What countries can you use an enhanced license? ›

    EDLs are a low-cost, convenient option for entering the United States from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean through a land or sea port of entry, in addition to serving as a permit to drive.

    Can a US citizen enter Canada without a passport? ›

    Entry into Canada: Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry proof of citizenship and identity. A valid U.S. passport, passport card, or NEXUS card satisfies these requirements for U.S. citizens.

    What states have EDL licenses? ›

    EDLs are available to U.S. citizens who reside in the states of Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington.

    Can a US citizen enter Canada with a REAL ID? ›

    No. REAL ID cards cannot be used for border crossings into Canada, Mexico or other international travel.

    What documents are needed for REAL ID in Washington state? ›

    Proof of U.S. citizenship (e.g., a valid U.S. passport or U.S. Certificate of Citizenship) Proof of your identity (e.g., a valid driver's license or passport) Proof of a valid Social Security number (e.g., a Social Security card or W-2 with your SSN) Proof of Washington state residency.

    How long does it take to get a REAL ID in Washington state? ›

    After completing REAL ID application, you should receive your new, REAL ID-compliant license or ID card sometime within the following two weeks.

    What counts as proof of residency in Washington state? ›

    Documents Providing Your Local Address You must provide documents that verify that you live in Washington state. This can include: *Home utility bill (gas, electric, water, garbage, land-line telephone). Not acceptable: cable, internet, or TV bills.

    Can I cross the border with a REAL ID? ›

    No. REAL ID cards cannot be used for border crossings into Canada, Mexico or other international travel.

    Can you fly without a REAL ID? ›

    You're not REAL ID ready!

    Important: if you want to board domestic flights or visit federal facilities beginning May 3, 2023 you must have a REAL ID or another acceptable form of identification.

    What Is a REAL ID license? ›

    A REAL ID is a driver's license or identification card that is also a federally accepted form of identification. It can be used to board a domestic flight within the U.S. and enter secure federal facilities, such as military bases, federal courthouses, and other secure federal locations.

    What is a REAL ID Washington State? ›

    SEATAC, Wash. — By May 3, 2023, anyone taking a domestic flight or visiting certain federal facilities must use a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or ID card. "REAL ID" itself is a federal law, not a specific ID card, so there are multiple options for Washington residents to choose from.

    Can I fly domestically without a passport? ›

    Currently, a passport is not required for Indian nationals when travelling on flights within India. However, passengers are required to have a valid form of identity.

    What do you need for the REAL ID? ›

    REAL ID Checklist
    • Step 1 of 6: Proof of Identity, Date of Birth and U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Status. ...
    • Step 2 of 6: Check Your Name. ...
    • Step 3 of 6: Proof of Your Full Social Security Number (SSN) ...
    • Step 4 of 6: Provide Proof of Residency. ...
    • Step 5 of 6: Written Signature. ...
    • Step 6 of 6: Get Your Documents.

    Can you fly within Canada with a health card? ›

    You do not need a passport to fly between provinces in Canada if you carry a Canadian identification document. In that case, a Canadian driver's licence, firearms licence, or a health card is sufficient. For foreign nationals, a passport or other form of travel document will be required.

    What does federal limits apply mean? ›

    The notation "FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY," “NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR OFFICIAL FEDERAL PURPOSES” or a similar notation on the front or back of a state-issued driver's license indicates it does not meet the standards for the issuance and production of a compliant card under the REAL ID Act . . . .

    Are Texas IDs REAL ID compliant? ›

    REAL ID-compliant licenses and IDs

    Your current Texas driver license or ID is REAL ID-compliant if it has a gold star in the top right corner. If it doesn't have a gold star, you'll get the gold star on your next renewal or request a replacement card.

    Why does Washington have the hardest driving test? ›

    Washington's road test is the most comprehensive, covering 19 maneuvers, including parallel parking, parking on a hill and backing up around a curve. Fawcett said he doesn't know of any other state that tests drivers on the ability to back up around a corner.

    Which state has the hardest DMV test? ›

    SEATTLE -- Seattle may have had a recent reputation of having among the worst drivers in the nation, but it turns out this state is among the toughest to get a driver's license. In fact, a study by Siegfried & Jensen shows Washington is the hardest state in the nation to get a driver's license.

    How long is the road test in Washington? ›

    It should take around 15 minutes, though the amount of time can vary between different testing locations and drivers.

    How much is the written driving test in Washington? ›

    Written (knowledge) test- $30.00 for first two attempts. Washington Driver Education Center 101 (WADEC101) now provides the Department of Licensing (DOL) Knowledge and Skills exams.

    How long is the written driving test in Washington? ›

    It will typically take about 25 to 45 minutes to take the written driver's license test in Washington. In order to be allowed to take the test and successfully pass, you'll typically need to arrive at the DMV at least 1 hour before the office closes. It helps if you make an appointment.

    Can you take the knowledge test online in Washington state? ›

    The first step in getting your license! We offer the official Washington state knowledge test (written test) in all locations, 1-3 times daily. All tests are done by appointment, and you can schedule online, over the phone, via text or email, or in person.

    What are automatic fails? ›

    Regardless of the number of points for errors, the following are some of the reasons for automatic failure: Exceeding the speed limit or driving too fast for the conditions. Failing to stop completely before proceeding through an intersection controlled by a stop sign, or before turning right on a red light.

    How do I study for my permit test? ›

    How to Study for the DMV Permit Test
    1. Tip #1 – Study Your Driver's Handbook. ...
    2. Tip #2 – Try Taking a DMV Practice Test. ...
    3. Tip #3 – Find a Permit Test Study Guide. ...
    4. Tip #4 – Get a Good Night's Rest. ...
    5. Tip #5 – Eat a Healthy Breakfast. ...
    6. Tip #6 – Arrive Early at the DMV with Your Paperwork. ...
    7. Tip #7 – Review Your Knowledge Before the Exam.
    14 Jul 2022

    How should I prepare for my driving test? ›

    1. Be on time
    1. Have a lesson beforehand. ...
    2. Check you have everything you need. ...
    3. Use your instructor's car. ...
    4. Take your instructor along for reassurance. ...
    5. Ask your examiner to repeat, if you need. ...
    6. Don't assume you've failed. ...
    7. Choose where you want to take your test. ...
    8. Get to know your test routes.
    21 Jan 2021

    Where can I get an enhanced driver's license in Washington state? ›

    How do I get an Enhanced Driver's License or Enhanced ID? You can apply for an EDL/EID at any Washington DMV or licensing office during operating hours. Be sure to check wait times on the DOL website.

    How do I know if I have an enhanced driver's license Washington State? ›

    Washington state issues enhanced driver's licenses only. These documents will be accepted at the airport security checkpoint when the REAL ID enforcement goes into effect. If you're not sure, check your state driver's licensing agency on how to obtain a REAL ID compliant card.

    Can I use an enhanced license to go to Canada? ›

    License styles

    Enhanced licenses are federally accepted documents that allow you to enter the U.S. at a land or sea border crossing when returning from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean.

    How long does it take to get a REAL ID in Washington state? ›

    After completing REAL ID application, you should receive your new, REAL ID-compliant license or ID card sometime within the following two weeks.

    Why do I need an enhanced driver's license in Washington state? ›

    What is an enhanced driver's License? Starting in January 2008, Washingtonians can apply for an Enhanced Driver's License (EDL), a new kind of driver's license that can be used instead of a U.S. passport for some border crossings. The EDL is optional and may not be right for all drivers.

    What counts as proof of residency in Washington state? ›

    Documents Providing Your Local Address You must provide documents that verify that you live in Washington state. This can include: *Home utility bill (gas, electric, water, garbage, land-line telephone). Not acceptable: cable, internet, or TV bills.

    Does Washington State Enhanced Driver's License work Mexico? ›

    Washington's enhanced driver licenses (EDLs) and enhanced ID (EIDs) cards are REAL ID compliant, valid for air travel within the United States, and can be used to cross the borders of Canada and Mexico by land or sea.

    Can I fly with a regular Washington state driver's license? ›

    Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver's license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel.

    What states have EDL licenses? ›

    EDLs are available to U.S. citizens who reside in the states of Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington.

    Can you fly without a REAL ID? ›

    You're not REAL ID ready!

    Important: if you want to board domestic flights or visit federal facilities beginning May 3, 2023 you must have a REAL ID or another acceptable form of identification.

    Can you go to Mexico with an enhanced ID? ›

    The EDL allows for a convenient and cost-effective method of crossing the U.S. border by land or sea. However, an Enhanced Driver License cannot be used for air travel, and it can only be used to go to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean.

    Can a US citizen enter Canada without a passport? ›

    Entry into Canada: Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry proof of citizenship and identity. A valid U.S. passport, passport card, or NEXUS card satisfies these requirements for U.S. citizens.

    What countries can you use an enhanced license? ›

    EDLs are a low-cost, convenient option for entering the United States from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean through a land or sea port of entry, in addition to serving as a permit to drive.

    Can I cross the border with a REAL ID? ›

    No. REAL ID cards cannot be used for border crossings into Canada, Mexico or other international travel.

    Can you get into Canada with an enhanced license 2022? ›

    Enhanced Driver's Licenses are only valid for land and marine crossings, however, so you will not be able to fly to Canada with it as your only form of identification. An Enhanced Driver's License or EDL can enable a US citizen to visit Canada for both leisure and business purposes.

    How much is a Washington state ID? ›

    There is a fee associated with getting your ID, so you will need to bring a form of payment as well. It costs $54 to get an ID card, which is valid for six years before it must be renewed. It costs $20 to replace a lost or stolen ID card.

    Videos

    1. Washington state enhanced driver's license fees increase Oct. 1
    (KREM 2 News)
    2. 2009 NASCIO Recognition Awards: Washington - Enhanced Driver License/Identification Card Project
    (NASCIOmedia)
    3. REAL ID: I'll have what I need by May 2023
    (Washington State Department of Licensing)
    4. Enhanced Driver License Commercial 1
    (Washington State Department of Licensing)
    5. What you need to know about the REAL ID Act in Washington
    (KREM 2 News)
    6. I got my Washington State Enhanced Driver’s License!
    (Tanis Leonhardi)
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