How to Apply for Alabama Driver's License: Step-by-Step Guide (2018)

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On this page: Types of licenses How to apply Knowledge test Road test Replace or renew New residents

How Does It Work?

If you are an Alabama driver, or want to become one, you will need an Alabama driver license. Getting your license is quite easy. You will have to pass a knowledge test, vision test, and a road skills test. To save you a considerable amount of time, here is a step by step guide that you will need to follow to get a driver license in Alabama.

Get a learner license

Allows you to practice driving under supervision.

Get a provisional license

Allows you to drive unsupervised with restrictions.

Get a Full (Adult) License

Allows you to drive with no restrictions.

Types of Driver's Licenses in Alabama

For each license type there's a corresponding type of instruction permit
Alabama class D Driver's License
Class D
This is the usual kind of driver's license. It allows you to drive private cars. Read the AL Driver Manual or take a free AL permit practice test.
Alabama class A and B Driver's License
Class A and B
Allows you to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, where Class A allows you to tow vehicles which GCWR is in excess of 10,000 pounds, while Class B doesn't allow you to tow a vehicle with GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds. Read the AL CDL Manual or take a free CDL test.
Alabam Class C Driver's License
Class C
Allows you to operate any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles that either is designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver or is used in the transportation of hazardous materials. Read the AL CDL Manual or take a free CDL test.
Alabama Motorcycle Driver's License
Class M and V
Class M allows you to operate a motorcycle, while class V is for driving a water vessel. Read the AL Motorcycle Operator Manual or take a free AL Motorcycle practice test.

How to Apply for Your Class D Driver License

To apply for your class D driver license you must first take a knowledge test, get a learner license and take a driving skills test. Here is your complete guide depending on your age.

How to Apply for Your Learner License (Permit) for the First Time

Getting a learner license is stage one of Graduated Driver License program. It allows teens to drive supervised at all times by a parent, legal guardian or licensed driver who is age 21 or older in the front seat.

1APPLY IN PERSON

You must apply in person at your local Driver License Office. To locate a nearby office, use this map. You can schedule your appointment online at least 48 hours prior to your preferred date.

2BRING THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTATION

  • Two forms of identification, one of which has your photograph, or three forms of identification otherwise. At least one must be primary identification, such as your birth certificate.
  • Social Security Card (original) or Medicare/Medicaid identification card
  • Proof of school enrollment (Enrollment/Exclusion form (DL1/93) or GED or Graduation certificate)

3PASS A VISION TEST

You should have 20/40 acuity with both eyes and a horizontal temporal field of at least 110 degrees from the center. If you have uncorrected visual acuity of less than 20/40 in each eye, but at least 20/50 in one eye, you will be referred to a vision specialist for examination.

4PAY THE TESTING FEE AND TAKE THE KNOWLEDGE TEST

You should pay the fee of $5.00 by cash or money order. No checks are acceptable.

5PAY THE LICENSE FEE

You must pay the fee of $36.25 if you pass the test and want to get the license. No checks. Cash and money orders are acceptable.

6GET YOUR LICENSE

The learner license will be valid for 4 years and will have a “Y” restriction on it.

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How to Apply for Your Restricted (Provisional) License

If you are between 16 and 17 and hold a learner license (permit), you may go to stage two of Graduated Driver License Program and apply for a restricted (provisional) license.

Tip! If you took part in the Private High School Driver and Traffic Safety Education program at your high school and passed a road skills examination there, your driving test at the Driving License Office can be waived. Once you turn 16 and have held a learner’s license for 6 months you may take the DPS/SDE certificate, along with your learner’s license to the Driver License office and get your provisional license.

  1. HOLD YOUR LEARNER LICENSE FOR AT LEAST 6 MONTHS

    Alternatively, you can hold it till your 18th birthday whichever comes first. If you have a comparable learner license from another state, the rules are the same.

  2. PRACTICE SUPERVISED DRIVING AND HAVE IT CERTIFIED

    You must have a verification form provided by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), signed by a parent, grandparent, legal guardian or certified driving instructor verifying that you have completed a minimum of 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice. Otherwise, submit a completion form supplied by the State Department of Education (SDE) verifying that you have completed a SDE-approved driver education course.

  3. GET YOUR PARENT OR GUARDIAN PERMISSION

    Your parent, grandparent or legal guardian should sign the permission form that allows you to drive without supervision.

  4. SCHEDULE A ROAD SKILLS EXAMINATION

    Walk-ins are welcome at all Driver License Offices, however, some offices offer online scheduling. Appointments can be scheduled up to two weeks in advance. To locate a nearby office, use this map.

  5. BRING YOUR PARENT OR GUARDIAN WITH YOU

    If you are younger than 17, the presence of your parent or legal guardian is required.

  6. BRING THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTATION:
    • Two forms of identification, one of which has your photograph, or three forms of identification otherwise. At least one must be primary identification, such as your birth certificate.
    • Social Security Card (original) or Medicare/Medicaid identification card
    • Proof of school enrollment (Enrollment/Exclusion form (DL1/93), GED or Graduation certificate)
  7. BRING A VEHICLE IN SAFE OPERATING CONDITION

    Be prepared to show proof of car insurance to the examiner.

  8. PASS THE ROAD SKILLS EXAMINATION

    If you pass, the examiner will issue your temporary license. You will receive your permanent license by mail within thirty days. If you fail the test, you can reschedule for a later date.

  9. SURRENDER YOUR LEARNER LICENSE

    Your new license will be valid for the remainder of a 4-year period and is of no cost to you if you had a learner license.

Provisional License Restrictions

You may not have more than one passenger in the vehicle other than parents, legal guardians or family members, you must not use any handheld communication devices.

You may not drive between midnight and 6 a.m. except in the following situations:

  • You are driving to or from school, work, or a religious organization.
  • You are driving because of an emergency.
  • You are accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or licensed driver at least 21 years of age.

Once you reach age 17, visit your local DPS office to get an unrestricted license. Before doing so, you must have held your provisional license for at least 6 months.

How to Apply for Your Adult (Unrestricted Driver License)

To be able to apply for a regular driver license you must be 17 or older. If you are 17 you must have a restricted license for at least six months before applying for a regular one. If you satisfy these requirements, visit your local Driver License Office and exchange your restricted driver license for a restriction-free license. Pay the fee of $ 31.25.

Tip! You may also apply for a regular driving license if you 16 provided that you are married and become the head of a household.

If you are 18 and older and never held a provisional license, you may apply immediately for your adult license.

1APPLY IN PERSON

You must apply in person at your local Driver License Office. To locate a nearby office, use this map. Walk-ins are welcome at every office, but some offices allow you to schedule your appointment online at least 48 hours prior to your preferred date or schedule by phone.

2BRING THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTATION:

  • Two forms of identification, one of which has your photograph, or three forms of identification otherwise. At least one must be primary identification, such as your birth certificate or passport.
  • Social Security Card (original)

    Alternatively you can provide Medicare/Medicaid identification card (if your SSN is followed by the letter "A") , U.S. military form DD 214, or W2 tax form.

  • Proof of school enrollment (Enrollment/Exclusion form (DL1/93),or GED, or Graduation certificate if you are 19 years of age or younger and applying for the first time.

3PASS A VISION TEST

You should have 20/40 acuity with both eyes and a horizontal temporal field of at least 110 degrees from the center. If you have uncorrected visual acuity of less than 20/40 in each eye, but at least 20/50 in one eye you will be referred to a vision specialist for examination.

4PAY THE TESTING FEE AND TAKE THE KNOWLEDGE TEST

You should pay the fee of $5.00 by cash or money order each time you take the knowledge test. No checks are acceptable. If you fail, you cannot proceed to the next stage before you retake and pass the test.

5TAKE YOUR DRIVING TEST

Make sure you bring a licensed driver, proof of car insurance and a vehicle that will pass inspection for the test. If you fail the test, you will be allowed to try again after you have had time to improve your driving. Only one road test per day is permitted.

6PAY THE LICENSE FEE

When you pass the road test, you are required to pay the fee of $36.25 (no checks). License fees are subject to change and may be slightly higher in counties where local legislation permits a higher fee.

7RECEIVE YOUR TEMPORARY LICENSE

Your permanent license will arrive by mail within 30 days. If you do not receive your license in 30 days, call the driver license division at 334-242-4400.

Alabama Knowledge Test

Take a free practice test
What does the test look like?
It’s an automated multiple-choice test which contains questions on Alabama traffic laws, road signs, and rules of safe driving. Subjects will cover sharing the road, meaning of road signs, navigating intersections, speeding consequences, drinking and driving laws.
How many questions should I answer correctly to pass the test?
The test contains 30 questions and you’ll need to answer 24 of them to reach the 80% passing score.
How to prepare for the test?
Study the Alabama Driver Manual as all questions are based on the information provided there. All sections of the manual are important! Then take free practice tests available here. When you feel comfortable with your score, you are ready!
What common errors must I avoid when taking the AL knowledge test?
The most common mistake comes from not knowing enough information out of the manual. This happens when people study solely with practice tests. Make sure you read the manual first. Another problem is rushing through questions. Take your time and remember what you have studied.
May I use the Alabama Driver Manual when I take the actual knowledge test?
No, you are not allowed to use the manual. You are being tested on your ability to recall the rules of the road. Prepare yourself before you go in and you will see that you can do well without the manual.
Can I take the test in other languages?
Yes, the examinations are available in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese. Information on the administration of these tests may be obtained at the Driver License District Office.
Can I take the test if I’m unable to read?
Yes. Oral examinations are available for applicants that are unable to read and comprehend the knowledge tests. The exam may be administered using the automated testing equipment.
What if I fail?
You may take the test again. Each time you will have to pay the fee of $5.00.

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Road Test

Step-by-Step Guide
What to expect during AL road test

This exam is going to test your ability to operate a vehicle under traffic conditions.

You can take the test at a Driver License Office or through the Third-Party Testing Program if available at your high school. Driving license offices welcome walk-ins, but some offices allow you to schedule your appointment online at least 48 hours prior to your preferred date or schedule by phone. To locate a nearby office, use this map.

You must bring a vehicle with proof of current insurance and a licensed driver older that 21 years of age.

No passengers or pets are permitted in the vehicle during the road test. Loose items like cameras or radios should not be in the car during the road test.

Before the test

Your examiner will check your vehicle. It must be in safe operating condition and have the following:

  • rear view mirror
  • horn
  • windshield wipers
  • 2 separate ways of applying brakes
  • muffler
  • headlights, rear tail lights, stop light, and directional signals
  • valid license plate
  • good tires
  • safety glass
  • brakes

You may be asked to demonstrate the location and usage of the following vehicle controls:

  • brake and parking brake
  • light switch and dimmer switch
  • windshield wiper control
  • ignition,
  • gear selector, etc.
During the test

You should be able to show the following maneuvers:

  • Turning (signaling at least 100 feet before reaching the intersection, slowing down and turning into the proper lane)
  • Keeping in lane (staying in the right lane at all times except when you have to pass another vehicle or make a left turn. Always giving a signal before changing lanes and checking blind spots)
  • Backing of vehicle (about 50 feet at a slow rate straight and smooth with your head turned to the right looking to the rear at all times)
  • Observing all traffic signs and signals
  • Observing traffic (turning your head when you observe traffic to indicate to the examiner you are aware of conditions around you)
  • Making a quick smooth stop (Stop your vehicle as quickly and safely as possible, check traffic behind you through your rearview mirror.)
  • General control of vehicle
  • Observation
  • Three point turn (do not bump curb or use driveway)
  • Stop sign actions (come to a complete stop behind the stop sign. If a stop bar line is painted on the street, stop behind it.)
  • Stopping on upgrade (stop your car parallel to the curb and within 18 inches away, turn wheels sharply to the left (when there is no curb turn wheels to the right) and allow car to roll back until the back of the right front wheel comes to rest against the curb.)
  • Starting on upgrade (turn your head and look to the left rear. When the way is clear, pull slowly out into the street without racing your motor or letting the car roll back.)
  • Following (using the "two second rule" to judge proper following distance)
  • Posture (keep both hands on the wheel, no elbows in the window)

Tip! Don't get distracted by what the examiner is writing during the test. The examiner's job is to mark your techniques as "acceptable" or "needs training", that is why the process of writing does not indicate you are receiving all bad marks.

Critical Errors

    You will fail immediately for ANY of the following errors:

    • accident involvement
    • violating the law
    • driving recklessly or dangerously
    • failure to cooperate with the examiner
    • making several mistakes in safe driving practices
After the test
The examiner will tell you whether you passed or failed upon your return to the license office. You will be shown your score sheet and will be able to discuss your errors. If you fail the test, you will be allowed to try again after you have had time to improve your driving. Only one road test per day is permitted.

How to Replace or Renew Your Driver License in Alabama

  • The license may be renewed at any time within 60 days prior expiration at the Offices of Probate Judge, License Commissioner's Offices, DL Examining Offices. There are also Self-Serve Kiosks available in driver license examining offices to renew you license.

    To renew in person

    1. Bring your current AL driver's license.
    2. Bring one form of your primary documentation.
    3. If your license expired more than 3 years ago, you'll have to take and pass the written and driving tests again.
    4. Pay the $36.25 license fee. (Sorry, no checks.)

    Tip! Alabama law grants a grace period of 60 days after expiration date of a driver's license to renew your license. Your old license shall be valid for this time period.

    What happens if my AL driver license expired more than 60 days ago? It may be still renewed without examination within a three-year period after expiration. However, you could not legally operate a motor vehicle before you renew your expired license.

  • If you are out of state because you are attending college or serving in the military, you can renew by mail.

    1. Download application for a renewal .
    2. Fill it out and mail it in along with the $36.25 license fee in the form of a money order only.
    3. Mail the required supporting documentation as stated on the form.
  • You can renew your driver license online once in 8 years. You are allowed to do it as early as 180 days prior to your license expiration day.

    To renew online you'll need to

    1. Go to ALEA online services.
    2. Have your current driver license and SSN ready.
    3. Pay the fee of $36.25 by credit card at the end of the transaction.
    4. Have a working printer available to print your temporary license or download a digital license using a smartphone.
    Your permanent license will be mailed to you within the next 30 days.

    Tip! Alabama law grants a grace period of 60 days after expiration date of a driver's license to renew your license. Your old license shall be valid for this time period.

    What if my AL driver license expired more than 60 days ago? It may be still renewed without examination within a three-year period after expiration. However, you could not legally operate a motor vehicle before you renew your expired license.

New Residents: How to Get an Alabama Driver License

You can continue to drive in AL for up to 30 days after becoming a resident of the state. During that time, you must visit your local ALEA office to transfer to an AL license.
Out-of-state license Foreign license
Not sure if you need to transfer your license?
Are you an Alabama resident?

In Alabama you don't have to transfer the license if

  • You work for the United States Federal Government while driving a vehicle owned or leased by the United States Federal Government.
  • You are a non-resident fulltime student, enrolled and registered in a school, college, university, or trade school in Alabama and hold a valid license from your home state or country.
  • You are a non-resident at least 16 years old who has a valid driver license issued to you in your home state or country. This includes military personnel from other states and their families stationed in Alabama, even if their assignment in Alabama may be of long duration.
  • You are a non-resident at least 16 years old whose home country does not require licensing of drivers, you operate a vehicle not more than 90 days in any calendar year and the vehicle operated is duly registered for the current year in your home country.

I’ve Got a Valid Out-of-State Driver License

Moving from another US state? Welcome to Alabama!
Moving from another state?
Plan of Action
    1. Visit your local ALEA office to transfer to an AL license. To locate a nearby office, use this map. Walk-ins are welcome at every office, but some offices allow you to schedule your appointment online at least 48 hours prior to your preferred date or schedule by phone.
    2. Please bring the following:
      • Your out-of-state driver license
      • One form of primary identification, such as your birth certificate or passport
      • Social Security Card (original).
        Alternatively you can provide Medicare/Medicaid identification card (if your SSN is followed by the letter "A"), U.S. military form DD 214, or W2 tax form.
      • Proof of school enrollment or graduation (if younger than 19). It may be the Enrollment/Exclusion form (DL1/93), GED or Graduation certificate.
    3. Surrender your out-of-state license.
    4. Pay the transfer fee of $5.00 and the license fee of $36.25 (no checks).

    Please note: You will have to take a driving exam (the fee is $5.00) if your out-of-state license expired more than one year ago.

driver's license in Alabama

You will be issued a temporary license; your permanent license will arrive by mail within 30 days. If you do not receive your license in 30 days, call the driver license division at 334-242-4400

I've Got a Valid Foreign License

Moving from another country? Welcome to Alabama!
  1. Visit your local ALEA office to transfer to an AL license. To locate a nearby office, use this map. Walk-ins are welcome at every office, but some offices allow you to schedule your appointment online at least 48 hours prior to your preferred date or schedule by phone.
  2. Please bring the following:

    Non-U.S. Citizens

    • Your foreign driver license
    • A valid foreign passport with an acceptable visa or resident alien card
    • Social Security Card (original) or letter from Social Security stating non-eligibility
    • Document from the secondary list authorizing presence in the U.S. for more than 160 days

    U.S. Citizens

    • One form of primary identification, such as your birth certificate or passport
    • Social Security Card (original)
    • Proof of school enrollment or graduation (if younger than 19)
  3. Surrender your foreign license.
  4. Pay the transfer fee of $5.00 and the license fee of $36.25 (no checks)

Please note: You will have to take a driving exam (the fee is $5.00) if your foreign license expired more than one year ago.

You will be issued a temporary license, your permanent license will arrive by mail within 30 days. If you do not receive your license in 30 days, call the driver license division at 334-242-4400

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