Department of Licensing (DOL) customers seeking an Enhanced Driver License or ID Card (EDL) within the next few months should come early and come prepared as high demand for the EDL is greatly increasing wait times in many offices.
“Remarkable demand for this new product is driving up wait times and we want to help our customers reduce that wait as much as possible,” DOL Deputy Director Alan Haight said. “The most important things our customers can do are arriving early, allowing plenty of time to complete the transaction, and making absolutely sure they have all of the documents that are necessary.”
The new enhanced licenses and ID cards meet new federal travel requirements under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which requires travelers crossing the U.S. border at a land or sea border crossing station to have a U.S. Passport or other WHTI compliant document. WHTI went into effect June 1, 2009.
To apply for an EDL/ID, people must arrive at DOL offices with acceptable proof of their identity, U.S. citizenship and Washington state residency. A complete list of acceptable documents is available at the agency’s website — DOL.WA.GOV.
DOL is taking immediate action to reduce wait times in the following locations: Lacey, Kennewick, Mount Vernon, Parkland, Renton, Smokey Point, Spokane, Wenatchee, and West Seattle. To better mitigate wait times, DOL is:
• Screening applicants waiting outside beginning at 7:15 am
• Installing a greeter at the front door to separate transactions and encourage people to do their business online or at a self service station if possible
• Not accepting EDL applicants after 2 p.m. weekdays and at noon on weekends
• Adding new office signage and information on the DOL website — dol.wa.gov
A video advisory explaining this issue is available at on DOL’s YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/walicensing.
“Summer is always a busy time in DOL offices because people are moving and teens are getting permits and new licenses. The additional rush of people applying for EDLs is making many offices unusually busy,” Haight said. “Many customers who need to take care of routine transactions like driver license renewals or getting a duplicate license can avoid our offices altogether by taking care of their transactions online.”
EDLs are issued at 14 Licensing Service Offices around the state. North Vancouver is experiencing reasonable demand for EDL. Offices in downtown Seattle, Bothell, Port Angeles and Bellingham issue EDL by appointment. Those not planning to travel soon should consider waiting a few months to come in for an EDL. This could significantly reduce the amount of time spent waiting in a DOL office.