Washington state law offers free IDs for the unhoused
The Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) is offering state ID cards to residents for no cost, including renewals. The only requirement for getting a one-time free ID is that you live in the state of Washington or plan on living here for a while.
“Thanks to a new law this year, anyone who is unhoused and is expecting to live within Washington state is eligible for a one-time, no-cost ID card,” said Rob Wieman, supervisor for DOL. “Then, anyone who is receiving public assistance may be eligible for reduced ID for $5. In order to get the reduced fee ID, you would need to present a letter from DSHS and just bring it into any driver’s licensing office.”
You do need an address though
“Yeah, [not having an address] that can be a challenge for sure. And you do need a mailing address,” Wieman said. “If you’re connected to a shelter, or community organization, or church, we would encourage anyone who is experiencing homelessness to ask if you can use their address, and we’ll be happy to mail it there.”
He also said you can request to pick up the ID directly from the licensing office.
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Walk-in or make an appointment
If you can’t make an appointment online, you can always walk and get help. You can make an appointment here.
What if you don’t have the necessary paperwork for an ID?
Wieman said the requirement that must be met is proof of identity, which can be an issue for some unhoused people.
“We can connect them with a licensing supervisor who may also be able to help a person think of qualifying documents that they might have access to and just haven’t thought of as well,” Wieman said.
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