How to Get a (Adult) Driver’s License in Washington

Drivers License
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Washington uses a graduated driver’s license program to help teens understand the rules of the road while giving them behind-the-wheel experience, starting at age 15. WA teens willing to respect road laws, practice driving, and take a driver’s ed course can get their learner’s permit.

The second stage of this GDL program lets the teen get their intermediate license granting more freedom. Before long, when they turn 18, they can get their full (adult) driver’s license.


Those 18 and older can get their driver’s license without a permit if they pass the knowledge and driving test. Or, do their knowledge test, hold a permit, and then pass a road test. There’s also an option to do a driver’s ed course, get a permit, and pass the road test, too.

Getting a driver’s license in Washington requires you to:

  1. Go through their graduated licensing program
  2. Be of-age, pass requirements, and take the tests

However, you get there – we’re sharing what’s done once you’re ready to upgrade your permit or provisional license into a full-fledged one in the state of Washington.

The Full WA Driver’s License: Requirements and What to Do

A Washington license is available for those who graduate from the GDL program at 18. Or, as noted, those 18 and older are willing to hold a permit, do driver’s ed, and take the tests.

The WA DMV requires everyone to pass a driver’s education course along the way, regardless, so try to get this in as soon as you can. Check for local companies offering the service or use an online search.

You’ll also want to spend the gap getting behind-the-wheel experience and practicing safe driving without earning traffic violations. Do this, and you can go to the DMV for your license.

Steps to get a full driver’s license:

  1. Schedule and visit a WA DMV
  2. Provide personal identification
    1. Passport
    2. Birth Certificate
    3. Social Security Card
    4. W-2 or 1099
  3. Provide proof of residency
    1. Mortgage statement
    2. Utility bill
    3. Medical card
    4. Registration
  4. Provide a valid provisional license
    1. If doing the GDL program
    2. Not suspended or revoked
  5. Provide proof of insurance
  6. Pass the tests
    1. With GLP: Road Test
    2. Without GLP: Knowledge and road test
  7. Get your vision exam
  8. Pay the application fee
    1. 6-year: $54 registration and $35 fee
    2. Extended: $78 registration and $35 fee

Those who did not undergo the state’s GDL program must pass a written and vision test when applying for their driver’s license. They will take a driver’s test, too. Consider using a practice test before going to the DMV to increase your chances of passing.

The DMV driving test verifies adult drivers can show respect for the road. This includes checking for safety, controlling the vehicle, and obeying traffic signs. The test also checks if you can signal properly and observe/communicate your driving abilities. If you have behind-the-wheel experience, then you shouldn’t have trouble passing.


You’re now a new, proud owner of an unrestricted license! This is good for 6-years until you’re ready to renew your Washington license. You should receive your license within 2-weeks by mail. Now is a good time to process and register your vehicle!

Note: Those unable to respect road rules & laws may see their license suspended. Are you in this situation? If so, refer to our suspended license guide for more details on how to get it reinstated.