Verifying Identification

Verifying Identification

In Washington state, it is illegal to sell or serve alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age or to allow a person under 21 to possess or consume alcohol on your premises. (RCW 66.44.270)

Before serving a customer alcohol, assess if the person appears to be less than 21 years old or is of questionable age. We recommend that you check the ID of any customer who appears younger than 30. Following are the acceptable forms of ID for age verification. (RCW 66.16.040, and WAC 314-11-025)

A Driver’s License or Instruction Permit

A driver’s license or instruction permit issued by any U.S. state, territory, tribe or any Canadian province. (If the customer’s Washington license has expired, he or she must also show either a valid temporary driver’s license with the expired card, or have a current expiration extension sticker on the card). You may see Washington driver’s licenses presented for identification that are punched. These punched IDs are acceptable if:

  1. The card is not expired
  2. The punch is not through the photo, date of birth, expiration date, or signature. Vertical format licenses are issued only to persons under 21.

A U.S. Military ID

An official U.S. Military ID card, including active duty, reserve, retired, and/or dependent card. U.S. Military identification cards come in different styles and colors. Usually the expiration date is on the front and the date of birth is on the back. Some U.S. Military ID cards do not contain signatures—but they are still acceptable to verify age.

A Merchant Marine ID

A Merchant Marine ID issued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

A State ID Card

An official state ID card issued by any U.S. state or Canadian province.

An Official Passport or Passport Card Issued by any nation.

Tribal ID

Indian Tribal enrollment cards may be used as official identification to verify the age of a person purchasing alcohol and tobacco if:

  • The Tribe has notified the Liquor Control Board (LCB) that it intends to use the card for this purpose
  • The enrollment card has a photo, a signature and a date of birth
  • The enrollment card has security features comparable to state Driver’s License

The following enrollment from the following Tribes may be used as official ID for age verification for purchasing alcohol and tobacco:

  • Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation (effective Sept. 1, 2006)
  • Kalispel Tribe (effective April 26, 2011)
  • Lummi Nation (effective Sept. 13, 2013)
  • Muckleshoot Indian Tribe (effective Dec. 14, 2005)
  • Nez Perce Tribe (effective April 24, 2014)
  • Nooksack Tribe (effective Dec. 13, 2006)
  • Puyallup Tribe of Indians (effective Aug. 14, 2007)
  • Skokomish Tribe (effective July 2, 2012)
  • Snoqualmie Tribe (effective June 11, 2007)
  • Spokane Tribe (effective July 30, 2013)
  • Stillaguamish Tribe (effective Dec. 19, 2011)
  • Suquamish Tribe (effective Dec. 23, 2007)
  • Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (effective July 29, 2014)
  • Tulalip Tribes (effective Dec. 14, 2005)

This list is current as of December 2014. For a visual of each card, as well as more information, please visit the Liquor Control Board website:

For more information please visit

Rev. 12/13/14


This article is an excerpt from the Handbook for Excellent Restaurant Operations (HERO), published by the Washington Hospitality Association.  Want a hard copy of the whole manual?  It’s one of the many benefits of becoming a member!  Find out more about joining the Washington Hospitality Association here.

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Categories: HERO