Like all other states, Washington requires vehicle owners to pay to have their car registered. Registration must be renewed each year. The money obtained from registration is used by the state to maintain the roads, to operate the public transportation system and more.

Note that you do not need to wait for a renewal notice to arrive by mail. You can renew your registration up to six months ahead of time if you prefer. The state of Washington provides three options to renew your car registration as well – in person, by mail, or online.

To renew your registration in person:

To renew your registration in person you will need to:

  • Take proof of emissions testing (if applicable)

  • Take your renewal notice or registration

  • Take photo ID

  • Take proof of insurance

  • Take proof of residence

  • Pay the fee with cash, check, money order, or credit/debit card

    Note: You’ll need to renew your registration at a DOL office
    Note: Not all DOL offices accept credit/debit cards

To renew your registration by mail:

To renew your registrations by mail you will need to:

  • Review the information on your renewal notice for accuracy
  • Include proof of emissions testing (if applicable)
  • Send a check or money order for the amount required
  • Mail your documents to the address provided on the DOL renewal notice
  • Your registration should be mailed within 5 business days

To renew your registration online:

To renew your registration online you will need to:

  • Make sure you’ve completed your emissions testing if applicable

  • Make sure the DOL has your current address

  • Use the renewal page on the DOL website to start the process

  • Enter the required information (last name and/or the last four digits of your car’s VIN), the DL numbers for all registered drivers

  • Choose how you’d prefer to receive your renewal (by mail or pickup in person)

  • Pay the fee (credit or debit cards only)

  • Print your receipt

    Note: If you opted for delivery by mail, expect your renewal within 5 business days
    Note: If you opted to pickup in person, you can do so immediately

Finally, you can also use the DOL LicenseExpress system:

If you would like to use Washington's LicenseExpress system you will need to:

  • Go to the DOL LicenseExpress site

  • Enter your driver’s license number (or your state ID card number)

  • Provide your date of birth

  • Provide your Social Security number

  • Provide your car’s VIN

  • Provide your license plate number

    Note: Once you enter this information in the LicenseExpress site, you will not need to do so again.

For more information, see the Washington DMV website

This article originally appeared on as How to Renew Your Car Registration in Washington and was authored by Valerie Johnston.

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