This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in Washington State. In order to serve process in Washington, a person must enroll with the county auditor and deposit a ten-dollar registration fee in order to serve process in that county. This comes with no tests or insurance, or bonding requirements. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

How Process Service Works


The issuance of the summons comes wherein the plaintiff signs and dates the documents for Washington Process Service. Further, they must direct this to the defendant calling for their defense as well as Washington Process Service on the individual whose name is written on the summons. The defendant must include a copy of their appearance or defense to comply with Washington Process Service. The summons being sent out means that the defendant now has twenty days to serve a copy of their defense, exclusive of the day of Washington Process Service.  A notice of appearance should be done in writing and must be signed by the defendant and should be served upon the person whose name is signed on the summons.  In condemnation cases, a notice of appearance is only served on the person whose name is signed on the petition as per Washington Process Service. Click here for information on What Do Process Servers in Washington State Do!

No summons is necessary for a counterclaim or cross-claim for any person who previously has been made a party to the Washington Process Service.  The summons for personal service must contain [A.]  the title of the cause, specifying the name of the court in which the action is brought, the name of the county designated as the place of trial, and the names of the parties to comply with Washington State Process Service; [B.]  a direction to the defendant summoning them to serve a copy of the defense within a time stated in the summons; [C.]  a notice that, in case of failure so to do, judgment will be rendered as per Washington Process Service against the defendant by default. Click here for information on Washington Rules of Civil Procedure.


However, if service by publication is justified and if the serving party submits evidence showing that service by mail is just as plausible to provide actual notice as other Washington Process Service, the court may issue anyone over the age of eighteen who is qualified to be a witness but who is not a party to the case to serve the other party. Washington Process Service is then done by sending copies of the summons and another process to the party to be served at their last known address or any other ad hoc address. Click here for information on How To Identify A Good Process Service Agency

First-class mail will be used for the copy. This kind of mail that requires a signed receipt confirming where and to whom it was delivered and will be used for the second copy. The envelopes must have the sender’s return address. The defendant must attend and address the complaint within ninety days from the date of mailing, according to the summons, which includes the date it was sent.  Washington Process Service has the same impact as publication service in terms of jurisdiction.


It must be known that just because a defendant makes a voluntary appearance, this does not preclude their right to challenge lack of jurisdiction over the person or insufficiency of process.  All processes other than a subpoena may be served anywhere within the state’s territory. However, this will require the process to be served by the sheriff or his deputy, the return of the sheriff or his deputy endorsed upon or attached to the summons. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

If the process is served by any other person, the affidavit of service must be endorsed upon or attached to the summons. If served by publication, the affidavit of the newspaper showing the same, together with a printed copy of the summons as published, should be included.  If Washington Process Service is done by mail, there should be an affidavit from the serving party stating that copies of the summons and other processes were sent by mail in accordance with the rule and directions by the court and stating to whom and when the envelopes were mailed. Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation.

For all services, the written acceptance or admission of the defendant should be included. In case of personal service out of the state, the affidavit of the person doing the service is sworn to before a notary public, with a seal attached, or before a clerk of a court of record.

In the case of Washington Process Service that is not service by publication, the return, acceptance, admission, or affidavit must state the time, place, and manner of Washington Process Service. Failure to make proof of service does not affect the validity of the Washington Process Service. Unless considerable injury occurs in the party’s substantial rights against whom the process was issued, the court may allow any process or evidence of service to be changed at any time and on such conditions as it considers reasonable.


As long as the person served is not a resident of or located in the state, it is adequate if service is done on that party in a foreign nation, as long as the summons and complaint are likewise served. This Washington Process Service should be done [A.] in the manner prescribed by the law of the foreign country for service in that country in action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction; [B.] as directed by the foreign authority in response to a letter rogatory or a letter of request; [C.] upon an individual by delivery to them personally, and upon a corporation or partnership or association by delivery to an officer, a managing or general agent; [D.] by any form of mail, requiring a signed receipt, to be addressed and mailed to the party to be served; [E.] pursuant to the means and terms of any applicable treaty or convention; [F.] by diplomatic or consular officers when authorized by the United States Department of State; or [G.] as directed by order of the court.

Proof of service may be made by the foreign country’s law, by a method provided in any applicable treaty or convention, or by order of the court. Proof of service should include a receipt signed by the addressee or other delivery evidence to the addressee satisfactory to the court.

Failing to come to the door to receive Washington Process Service does not constitute evasion of Washington Process Service.  Those who are to be served with Washington Process Service are under no obligation to arrange a time and place for service or to accommodate the process server otherwise. 


Any party outside the state may be served personally with a summons or another Washington Process Service procedure. The Washington Process Service will have the same practical effect as personal service inside Washington if made on a citizen or resident or someone who has consented to the jurisdiction of the courts. If not, it will be served by publication. 

There is no difference in the summons issued on the party who is out of state, except that it will compel the party to attend and answer within sixty days after such personal service outside of the state, and it will be served in the same way.


A subpoena may be presented in the name of the State of Washington and under the seal of the court when presence is necessary or where the issue is pending to demand presence before a court of record or at the trial of a matter within. To the extent that such a subpoena may be served with comparable effect by the party’s attorney of record, the structure of the subpoena would be the same as when issued by the court, other than the signature of an attorney only subscribing to the subpoena when issued by that party. 

To require attendance before a court of record or at the trial of an issue of fact, the subpoena may be issued by the clerk in response to a praecipe or by an attorney of record.  

If a subpoena specifies books, papers, records, or physical items, it might order the individual to whom it is sent to produce those items. On any occasion, before the time is specified in the subpoena for compliance, the court may either quash the subpoena or modify it if it is unreasonable and oppressive. Otherwise, the court may also condition denial of the motion on an advance by the person whose behalf the subpoena is issued of the reasonable cost of producing the books, papers, documents, or tangible things with respect to compliance with it.

Any suitable person may serve a subpoena if they are over eighteen by exhibiting and reading it to the witness, giving them a copy, or leaving it where they stay. 


Those mentioned or described in the proof of service may be subpoenaed by an officer or an attorney of record who holds a deposition or has legal representation. This authorization is enough.  The subpoena may ask the subject of the inquiry to provide documents and physical things that are part of or pertain to the investigation’s scope.

Any specified documents that have been served on the person to whom the subpoena is intended may be objected to being reviewed or duplicated within ten days after service of the subpoena by serving the attorney named in the subpoena. If the subpoena was issued without a court order, the person serving it will have no access to view or copy the documents. If an objection is made, the party delivering the subpoena might ask for an order before or during the deposition.


It is only in the county where a resident lives, works, or transacts business in person that an examination may be ordered. There are some counties where nonresidents must appear, or within forty miles of the county where the subpoena was issued, or at any other convenient location as determined by order of the court.

Depositions from outside the country in support of local efforts require different procedures. It is possible to obtain the issuing of a subpoena or comparable procedure under the laws of the state, territory, or country where the examination will take place to oblige the deponent to appear at the examination. 

When any officer or person is authorized to take depositions in Washington by the law of another state, territory, or country, with or without a commission, a subpoena to require attendance before such officer or person may be issued by any judge or justice of the peace of this state for attendance at any places within his jurisdiction.

Failure by any person without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena served upon him may be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena is issued.


Unless one of the parties moves openly in court for the witness to remain in attendance and the court so orders, a witness summoned to appear in a civil case is dismissed and excused from further attendance after he has given his testimony and been cross-examined thereon. Witness fees will not be enabled to any witnesses after the day on which their testimony is given, except when the witness has in open court been required to remain in further attendance. The clerk will have to record this occurrence when composing the minutes.

how to domesticate an OUT-OF-STATE SUBPOENA in Washington State

Issuing an out-of-state subpoena pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDDA) in Washington State, the clerk of the court in the county where discovery is to be performed in this state must be presented with a foreign subpoena before it may be requested that a subpoena be issued under this section. Subpoenas issued under this law do not obligate a person to appear in court in Washington State.

Second, the clerk of a court in this state must swiftly issue a summons to the person to whom the international subpoena is sent, in line with that court’s process.

A subpoena issued for a foreign defendant must include: [A.]   the terminology appropriate for the subpoena from abroad; and [B.]  part of the subpoena, it must include or be accompanied with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all counsel of record and of any party that is not represented by counsel.


A person who serves legal process for a fee in Washington must register as a process server with the county’s auditor wherein they stay or retain their principal place of business. This does not apply to a sheriff, deputy sheriff, marshal, constable, or government employee who is acting in the course of employment. Additionally, this would not be applicable to [A.] an attorney or their employees who are not serving the process on a fee basis; [B.] any person who is court-appointed to serve the process; [C.] an employee of a person who is registered; and [D.] anyone who does not receive a fee or wage for the serving of  Washington State Process Service.

Renewing a process server’s registration requires that the registrant’s name, business name, business address, and business telephone number be changed within a year after the initial setup. If the process server’s identification information has changed and renewal is necessary, the process server must update the registration within ten days of the identification information changing. When the registration is renewed, the process server is responsible for paying the registration cost.

Any proof of service that a process server acknowledges must include the process server’s registration number and the county in which the process server is registered.

Upon signing any proof of service, a process server’s personnel who are required to register must include the registration number and the county where the process server is registered. 

Any person who is otherwise entitled to collect the costs of service of process is not entitled to collect those costs if the person does not use a process server that is required to register or is exempt from the registration requirement. The person may collect the costs of the service of the process if the process server registers within forty-five days after serving the process.


Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed, mailed, or dropped off at any of our locations. We do require pre-payment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; All documents are received by our receptionist.


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New York: (212) 203-8001 – 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022
Brooklyn: (347) 983-5436 – 300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201
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New Jersey: (201) 630-0114 – 101 Hudson Street, 21 Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302
Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 – 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Suite 300, Washington DC 20004


Pick up the phone and call Toll Free (800) 774-6922, or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all of your process service needs; no job is too small or too large!  For a complete list of our Washington State Process Service Coverage Areas, Click Here!

Contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all of our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.

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1. If a statute or rule other than this provides a different time to serve a defense, that time shall be stated in the summons.

2. It shall be signed and dated by the plaintiff, or his attorney, with the addition of his post office address, at which the papers in action may be served on him by mail.

3. Service under (C) or (G) above may be made by any person who is not a party and less than 21 years of age or who is designated by order of the court or by the foreign court. The method for service of process in a foreign country must comply with applicable treaties, if any, and must be reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to give actual notice.

4. Weiss v. Glemp, 127 Wash.2d 726, 903 P.2d 455 (1995).

5. To require attendance out of such court before a judge, justice of the peace, commissioner, referee, or other officer authorized to administer oaths or to take testimony in any matter under the laws of this state, it shall be issued by an attorney of record or by such judge, justice of the peace, commissioner, referee or another officer before whom the attendance is required.

6. When any other person does service other than an officer authorized to serve process, proof of service shall be made by affidavit.

7. RCW 18.180.010 Registration – Exceptions.

8. RCW 18.180.020 Registration renewal.

9. RCW 18.180.030 Identification of process server on proof of service.


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