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Drivers License Numbering Changes

Get ready for a big change!
At DOL, we are very familiar with the
Personal Identification Code (PIC),
which is the current driver license
number. The current PIC is 12
characters long, and uses data from
the driver’s name and date of birth.

What is changing?
• We are no longer using the term
PIC – we are using the term DLN
(Driver License Number). This
is the industry standard in other
• All cards issued after September
4, 2018 will have WDL as the
first characters. This includes
driver licenses (standard and
enhanced), identification cards,
and commercial driver licenses.

How will the DLN be
Each DLN will start with the letters

‘WDL’– this is how you’ll recognize
that it is in the new format. WDL was
selected because no one currently
has that series of letters as the first
three letters of their license.
• DRIVES supports the ability to
search for a customer by either the
old PIC or the new DLN.
• The randomly generated DLN will
not relate to an individual’s name
or birthdate – it is more secure
because it does not use protected
personal information.
• Each of the 12 characters
(alphabetical characters or
numbers) will have the same
characteristics as they do on the
current PIC.

––For example, the first seven
characters of the PIC are
alphabetical. The new DLN
will also start with seven
alphabetical characters. The
same holds true for numbers –
any digits in the current PIC will
still be digits in the new DLN
––However, certain letters and
characters are excluded,
--Special characters that are not
standard letters or numbers
(for example, *, etc.)
--Vowels (A, E, I, O and U)
--The letters Q and V
• Elimination of these letters
reduces both confusion (for
example, between a zero and
the alpha character O) and the
creation of unacceptable words.

Why change?
The new DLN format is more
sustainable. We are running out of
possible combinations using the
old PIC format. The new, randomly
generated DLNs will give us
billions of possible combinations,
so we will not run out in the near
future. Additionally, this will allow a
customer to maintain their license
number even after a name or
credential change.

When will this change
We will implement the new DLN
when we launch DRIVES/Drivers
September 4, 2018. 

How will we make the
change happen?
• After September 4th, every person
receiving a license for the first time
in Washington will receive the new
DLN format.
• People who already have a license
will get the new DLN at their next
issuance event after September
4th – when they renew their
license, or replace it.

How long will it take
to change to the DLN?
It will take six years from September
2018. Conversion will happen
gradually as DOL issues first-time
licenses and as we issue renewals
and replacements. This means we’ll
have both versions in circulation until
This long roll out will make it easier
for DOL staff and our customers to
get used to the change.

How will we notify
our customers and
stakeholders of this
big change?
We are building plans to notify our
stakeholders of this change. We
expect to begin sending formal
communication about this change in
the next few months.
We will update our external website
to inform customers of this change
and why we are making the change.
We will also provide brochures to
the LSOs to give customers more
details about the change.
Washington State Department of Licensing

If you have any questions, please contact: 
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