Washington closing Department of Licensing offices amid coronavirus pandemic

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington State Department of Licensing offices will close their doors to the public starting March 31.

The department made the announcement on Monday in an effort to encourage social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Many services, including driver license and ID card renewals, can be completed online. The state has also relaxed some rules to ensure the majority of people are able to utilize online services.

“The safety and health of both employees and customers is paramount. Sanitation products continue to be difficult to purchase and ensuring appropriate social distancing during in person transactions is difficult” said Teresa Berntsen, Director of the Department of Licensing.  “We appreciate patience and understanding as the Department of Licensing does its part to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Previously, the offices were still seeing customers in person by appointment only.

Here is more information from the DOL:

Expanded Online Renewals

Most Washington residents are now eligible to renew their licenses, identification cards, or vehicle registration online. We strongly encourage everyone to take advantage of those services if at all possible.

Many rules have been relaxed to accommodate online services. Persons under age 24 and over 70 may renew online for the next 30 days, or longer if deemed necessary. Additionally, DOL is also suspending the requirement to visit a licensing office every other renewal.

Mail-in options are also available for a number of transactions, such as vehicle registrationoriginal title transactions, and driver's license renewal.

REAL ID Enforcement Date Extended

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced that the REAL ID enforcement date has been extended to October 1, 2021.  Customers who want a REAL ID will have an opportunity to apply at a later date.

Vehicle Titling and Registration online and by mail

Vehicle licensing offices (VLOs) are contracted through county auditors and may be open. VLOs handle vehicle tabs, boat decals, and new license plates, reports of vehicle sale or transfer of ownership, vehicle/boat registrations, trip permits, replacement titles, and disabled parking placards or tabs. It’s a good idea to check a VLO’s status and call ahead.