Apply for Escrow Agent License / Form an Escrow Company
Before You Apply
Before you apply for the Escrow Agent License please read through the information on the following links. You will find information on barriers to getting the license, the cost of obtaining and maintaining the license, as well as a summary of some of the WACs that a company should be aware of once they obtain the license. None of these lists are all inclusive and are only intended to help you make an informed decision on whether you want to continue on the path to obtaining the license. If you have any questions you can call Consumer Services Licensing at 360-902-8703 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
If you are planning to form a new corporation, limited liability company (“LLC”) or other legal entity to conduct your escrow agent business, you must file organizing documents with the Corporations Division at the Secretary of State's Office for review and approval before legal existence can begin.
If you intend to operate under a trade name (“dba”) you must register that name with the Department of Licensing, Master Business Licensing. Master Business Licensing can also assist you in obtaining other licenses you will need to conduct your business.
Effective July 28, 2013, the legislature modified several definitions in the Escrow Agent Registration Act. RCW 18.44. The definition of "escrow" now includes the collection and processing of payments and the performance of related services by a third party on seller-financed loans secured by a lien on real or personal property. This definition excludes vessel transfers. In addition, the new law clarifies that entities licensed under the Escrow Agent Registration Act that process payments on seller financed loans secured by liens on real or personal property are exempt from regulation under the Consumer Loan Act.
Apply For a Designated Escrow Officer and Escrow Officer License
To obtain your Escrow Officer license, you must be associated with an actively licensed escrow agent. You must also have taken and passed the Escrow Officer Examination within the past year.
Escrow Agent License Amendments
Fill out the Escrow Agent Amendment Application Form if you are changing any of the following:
- Main office address
- Branch office address
- Main office name
- Branch office name
- Change of ownership or company personnel
Escrow Officer License Amendments
Fill out the Escrow Officer Application Form if:
- Your name has changed
- You are transferring from one escrow agent to another
- You are currently inactive, and wish to reactivate your license
- You are changing the Designated Escrow Officer
- You are changing positions from Escrow Officer to Designated Escrow Officer
- You are transferring from a main office location to a branch location (and vice versa)
Limited Practice Officer (LPO) Licensing
The LPO license is issued by the LPO Board, not by the Division of Consumer Services. Visit the Washington State Bar Association for information about obtaining an LPO license. You may contact the Board by e-mail at email@example.com or phone (206) 443-9722 or (800) 945-9722.
Frequently Asked Questions
- I want to be the Designated Escrow Officer for my escrow agent main office, and also an Escrow Officer at one of our branch locations. How do I get a second license to hang at the branch location?
You cannot have more than one license. You can choose to be a Designated Escrow Officer or an Escrow Officer, but you cannot have both licenses at the same time.
- How do I get an escrow officer license?
All escrow officers must take and pass the Escrow Officer Examination, and then submit an Escrow Officer License Application within one year of passing the exam. See the testing information section to sign up for the Exam.
- How much does an escrow officer license cost?
The fee to take the Escrow Officer Exam is $168.00. The Escrow Officer Application fee and annual renewal fee is $179.26.
- Can I apply for my escrow officer license on an inactive status?
No, you must apply for your first license on an active status and be affiliated with an actively licensed escrow agent. (RCW 18.44.101)
- I am a designated escrow officer. One of my escrow officers is leaving the company. How soon do I have to notify DFI that they are leaving?
The escrow agent must notify DFI within three days of the termination of an escrow officer’s employment, and within ten days the escrow agent must submit that escrow officer’s license to DFI.
- I just received my escrow officer renewal notice, but it says I have to renew online. Can I still send in a check to renew my license?
No, you cannot submit your renewal payment via check or any other paper form. You must use the online escrow officer license renewal system. DFI will reject any paper renewal for an escrow officer license. An escrow officer operating without the required license is subject to penalties as authorized by RCW 18.44.171 and RCW 18.44.430.