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New Dept. of Licensing process works with residents with past criminal convictions

Starting this week, the Department of Licensing will begin to review “preliminary applications” through a Criminal Conviction Screening form from individuals with past criminal convictions who want to receive certain professional licenses.

The review does not guarantee approval of the license. It will determine whether the type of conviction is related to the license.

The change comes following the passage of House Bill 1399, which adds a new chapter to Title 18 RCW and specifically applies to only licenses, certifications, or recognitions administered by the Department of Licensing or a board or commission with the support of the Department of Licensing. 

The law was passed to provide a reliable process for individuals with past criminal convictions to apply for a professional license, and to allow these individuals to obtain a license if the criminal conviction does not directly relate to the applicable profession, business, or trade.

Before applying for a professional license, individuals with a criminal conviction can request a review to determine whether it would disqualify them from obtaining a professional license from the Department of Licensing.

This service is optional. It is intended to give applicants information before they spend time or money taking any required classes or exams or paying licensing fees. 

 The new chapter in the RCW outlines the full list of Title 18 professions impacted by this bill. Please note, this list includes other professions outside of Title 18.

How to get screened

  1. Submit a completed Criminal Conviction Screening form. You can include supporting documents if you wish. Access our fillable form at Professional License Criminal Conviction Screening Request form.
  2. We’ll review the form and any documents to determine if you would be eligible to apply for a license. We may ask you for more information or documents so they can make an accurate decision.
  3. We’ll give you a decision in writing within 60 days after receiving your request.

What you’ll need

You’ll need information for every criminal conviction that occurred within the last 5 yearsDon’t include traffic convictions. Include details about:

  • what led to the offense?
  • where it occurred.
  • the date of conviction.
  • sentencing information (jail or prison time, fines, etc.).

Provide as much information as you can recall and any supporting documents. You can contact the county or district clerk where the conviction(s) occurred to get information.

License eligibility

The conviction review can help you decide whether to apply for a new license. When you apply, you may not be eligible for a license due to:

  • A change in your circumstances,
  • The discovery of new information about your conviction(s), or
  • A change in the law or related policies.

You can appeal the decision.

Note: We verify licensing requirements during the licensing process.

Does my profession qualify for this new professional licensing service? 

This service is available only to professions we license or certify. Professions managed by a board or commission we support are also included.

These professions are:

  • Architects
  • Auctioneers
  • Cosmetologists, hair designers, barbers, manicurists, and estheticians
  • Embalmers/Funeral directors
  • Real estate broker and managing brokers
  • Real estate brokerage relationships
  • Landscape architects
  • Regulation of business professions
  • Certified real estate appraiser act.
  • Court reporting practice act.
  • Private investigators
  • Security guards
  • Bail bond agents
  • Geologists
  • Home inspectors
  • Body art, body piercing, and tattooing,
  • Appraisal management companies
  • Military spouses – professional licensing

Related information

Questions? Need help?

Please email us at  [email protected]

Phone 360.664.6645



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