​Questions? Call Us Today
General Public: (206) 723-9370
General Public Fax: (206) 722-3728
Dealer/Fleet Services: (206) 403-1327
Dealer/Fleet Services Fax: (206) 723-6056

FAQ & Resources  

Please contact Rainier Vehicle & Vessel Licensing, LLC at your convenience for any inquiries. 

What are your hours of operation?

Rainier Vehicle and Vessel Licensing is open Monday thru Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday’s 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

We are closed for the following 2017 holidays:

  • Monday, January 2: New Year's Day Observed
  • Monday, January 16: Martin Luther King Day 
  • Monday, February 20: Presidents' Day
  • Saturday, May 27: Saturday preceding Memorial Day Holiday
  • Monday, May 29: Memorial Day 
  • Tuesday, July 4: Independence Day 
  • Monday, September 4: Labor Day 
  • Friday, November 10: Veterans Day Observed
  • Saturday, November 11: Veterans Day
  • Thursday, November 23: Thanksgiving Day
  • Friday, November 24: Native American Heritage Day 
  • December 25: Christmas Holiday

We are located in the Rainier Plaza shopping center just south of Safeway and the Ross Department store.  3820 Rainer Ave. S., Suite C Seattle, WA 98118.
Click here for directions and map - links to CONTACT

Can I renew my vehicle/vessel tabs in your office?
Yes, you can either renew them in person at our office or you can renew them online (link online) and have them mailed to you or you can choose to pick them up at our office.  If you choose to pick them up at our office you do not have to wait in line go straight to our express pick-up at station 5.
Can I send someone else to renew my registration in your office?
As the registered owner of a vehicle/vessel, it is your responsibility to renew the registration.  If you cannot renew in person, you can empower someone to renew them for you but they must provide one of the following: 

  • identification that shows the same last name and or same address
  • a check that contains their name and your name
  • proof of their relationship to you

If you do not have any of the above, you must be able to provide written authorization from the registered owner that includes their signature and the vehicle information, such as a plate number or VIN number, as well as the person’s name who is picking up your tabs and registration.  We will require photo ID from the person authorized by you to pick up your tabs and registration as verification.

Can I get my driver license at your office? 
Rainier Vehicle and Vessel Licensing does not renew driver licenses.

Where can I get my driver license?  
The closest location to our office is listed below
Downtown Seattle
205 Spring St.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 464-6845

Driver License Hours are as follows:

  • Monday – Wednesday, 8:30am – 4:30pm

  • Thursday, 9:30am – 4:30pm 
  • Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm
  • Closed on Saturdays and Sundays

Click here for the hours of operation and location nearest to you.


Washington State Vehicle Emission Check Program
Do I need an emission test before I get my tabs?
If an emissions test is required it must be completed before your transaction can be finalized.

Can I use an emissions test from another state?
The only form of emissions test the Department of Licensing accepts is from the Washington State Department of Ecology. If your vehicle is unable to take an emissions test please contact us about what other options are available to you.

Where can I get an emissions test?
The Washington State Department of Ecology is the organization that administers the emissions test. The closest testing station to Rainier Vehicle and Vessel Licensing is located at 3820 Sixth Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98108. Go to www.ecy.wa.gov for more detailed information on emission tests and other locations for testing.

How much does an emissions test cost?
The emissions test is $15.00 and can be paid by cash, check, debit and credit cards.

How do I know if my vehicle needs an emissions test?
These gasoline vehicles never need emissions tests:

  • Motorcycles
  • 2009 or newer models
  • Toyota Prius and Honda Insight

These diesel vehicles never need emissions tests:

  • All diesel powered passenger vehicles weighing less than 6,001 lbs.

  • All diesel vehicles model year 2007 and newer, regardless of weight.

Emissions tests are required on vehicles that are older than 2009 and less than 25 years old.  
Emissions requirements apply in many different situations.  For example, when a vehicle is being transferred, an emissions test performed within the last year is required unless the buyer and seller are immediate family members or co-owners of the vehicle. This is true for both Washington and out-of-state vehicles and is not affected by a current or expired registration.
When you need to renew your Washington registration, just contact our office first and we will let you know whether an emissions test is required. 
 If you have questions about vehicle emissions testing, please call our office

What is the RTA tax? Do I have to pay it?
Residents of King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties who live within the Sound Transit District are required to pay the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) tax upon purchase or renewal of a new or used vehicle.  This tax helps fund construction and operation of Sound Transit’s regional mass transit services.  In 2016 voters in the Sound Transit district approved and additional tax of eight-tenths of one percent (0.8%) for regional transit expansions, raising the rate to 1.1%.  The increase applies to vehicles with tabs beginning or renewing on or after March 1, 2017.

To find out if you’re required to pay and get an estimate of the fee:
New vehicles (never owned before) Estimate your RTA excise tax
Used vehicles Calculate your vehicle tab fees

What is the Transportation Benefit District (TBD) fee?
RCW 36.73.020 allows city or county governments to create transportation benefit districts and impose an additional vehicle registration fee to fund local transportation project

What are the most common types of permits available?

Trip Permits
A trip permit allows you to operate your unlicensed vehicle on public highways.  A vehicle is considered unlicensed if one or more of the following apply:

  • The vehicle tabs are expired.

  • The current gross weight is not enough for the load being carried.

  • The cost is $30.00/per permit.  Each trip permit is valid for 3 consecutive days, beginning with the first day of use.

You can get a trip permit for a single vehicle, up to three (3) permits issued in any 30-day period as well as a single recreational vehicle (RV), up to two (2) permits issued in a one-year period.

You cannot get a trip permit for non-highway and off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles and ORV use class vehicles.

Transit Permits
The transit permit is $5.00 dollars. In order to purchase the transit permit, your ID and the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) are required. This permit is only valid in very limited as:

  • taking a vehicle to get a Washington State Patrol inspection; or
  • taking a vehicle with expired tabs to an emissions testing station;
  • or returning to a licensing office from an inspection.

This permit is not valid for everyday driving. It is only valid for the purposes listed on the permit. If you are using this permit for a use that is not listed, you may be ticketed. The transit permit is not valid on a day where the use listed on the permit is closed (i.e. Emissions Test Station or the State Patrol).

Please check with Rainier Vehicle and Vessel Licensing regarding your situation to find out if a trip permit will help you.

Additional licensing information can be found through the following links.
Online Internet Payment - buy tabs on line, change address or enter a seller's report
Special Plates - personalized and special-design plates
Licensing Offices - locations in King County
Vehicle/Vessel - all questions regarding vehicles and vessels
Drivers License - new driver license, renewals, lost or stolen license
Vehicle Emission Inspection - emission hours and locations
Department of Revenue - sales and use tax explanations
Washington State Patrol  - VIN inspections
Regional Transit Authority  - Why do I need to pay this tax?
DOL Forms: - forms by title for Department of Licensing transactions
Kelley Blue Book - retail value of used vehicles

NADA Guide - retail value of used vehicles
edmunds.com  - retail value of used vehicles