Can’t get new-license date? Try again

PORT ANGELES — If you couldn’t get an appointment to apply for an enhanced driver’s license last week, try again by phoning 866-520-4365.

Demand for the cards has been so high in Port Angeles that the number of appointment slots available was increased twice last week.

Soon after the first day appointments were taken on Tuesday, the number was doubled — from 10 to 20 per week over two or three days each week.

Then, as of noon Friday, the office apparently began to offer as many as needed.

“If you called in and were told that there weren’t appointments available, you should try again, because we are working to accommodate everybody who would like to make an appointment,” Brad Benfield, media relations manager for the state Department of Licensing, said Friday.

The enhanced driver’s license will work like a U.S. passport to re-enter the United States by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean as of Jan. 31.

The Port Angeles office, which is in Armory Square at 228 W. First St., is the only location in Clallam and Jefferson counties where applications will be taken for enhanced driver’s licenses or enhanced state ID cards.

Appointments can’t be made at the Port Angeles office for processing applications there.

Instead, people must phone a toll-free number that rings in West Seattle.

Port Angeles’ demand for the cards, measured in terms of the percentage of appointments scheduled out of the slots available, is among the highest in the state, Benfield said.

“Based on what I’m looking at, I would say, in terms of percentages, you are exactly equal with Bellingham,” which has the strongest demand in the state, Benfield said.

As of early Friday, Port Angeles had 111 appointments scheduled for February alone, while Bellingham, which offers appointments five days per week, had February fully booked with 217 appointments.

The demand in Port Angeles surprised state officials, Benfield has said.

Port Angeles was the only one of the 11 offices in the state offering the enhanced driver’s license that wasn’t prepared to process applications five days per week.

Benfield said that decision was made on “population-based assumptions and we’ve adjusted that.”

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