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Frequently Asked Questions


Your License to Drive in Alabama
Alabama's Driver License Requirements
An Alabama Driver License is not required for these people
Who cannot be licensed in Alabama?
What is the difference between learner's license and restricted license?
What does the vision screening consist of?
What does the written test consist of?
What does the road test consist of?
Do I ever have to be re-examined?
How do I get a non-driver Identification cards?
How do I renew my Alabama license?
What is the grace period to renew my license?
My Driver License is expired, can I renew or must I take the test again?
How do I replace a lost, destroyed or damaged licenses?
How do I change my name or address?
How do I get a Commercial driver license, what is the cost and where can I take the test?
I want to inquire about mandatory liability insurance and how to get titles replaced on vehicles?

Your License To Drive In Alabama

Click here for a list of the requirements, fees, and restrictions for obtaining a new license or identification card.

(FROM CHAPTER ONE IN ALABAMA DRIVER LICENSE MANUAL)

Under the laws of Alabama, every person (with some exceptions) must be licensed to operate a motor vehicle upon public streets and roadways. Driver licenses are issued by the Alabama Department of Public Safety.

This chapter tells you who may qualify and what you must do to obtain an Alabama driver license. If applying for a motorcycle driver license, you should also study the motorcycle operator manual.

License Requirements

Every Alabama resident who operates any motor vehicle (except a farm tractor or implement of husbandry temporarily upon any street or highway) must have a driver license. All applicants who have not been licensed in Alabama or whose Alabama license has been expired for over three years must pass the required drivers examination. A holder of an out of state license which has not been expired over one year does not have to pass a driver examination.

Station schedules and locations are available from the office of your local probate judge, license commissioner, or Trooper office.

An Alabama driver license will not be issued to an individual unless-and until all driver licenses in the person's possession are surrendered to the Department of Public Safety. You may view the station locations and schedules online by Clicking Here.

An Alabama Driver License is not required for these people

The following persons may drive a motor vehicle upon the streets or highways in Alabama without an Alabama driver license.
  1. Any person in the employ or service of the United States Federal Government while driving or operating a motor vehicle owned or leased by the United States Federal Government.
  2. Any person while driving any farm tractor or implement of husbandry temporarily operated or moved on the highway.
  3. A non-resident at least 16 years old who has in his immediate possession a valid driver license issued to him in his home state or country. This includes military personnel from other states and their families stationed in Alabama, even though their assignment in Alabama may be of long duration.
  4. A non-resident at least 16 years old whose home country does not require licensing of drivers may operate a motor vehicle as a driver of not more than 90 days in any calendar year, if the vehicle operated is duly registered for the current year in the home country of the non-resident.
  5. A non resident who has a valid driver license from the state of previous residence may drive without an Alabama license for 30 days after becoming a resident of the state.
  6. Any non-resident fulltime student, properly enrolled and registered in a school, college, university, or trade school in this state, who holds a valid license from his home state or country.

Who cannot be licensed to drive in Alabama?

An Alabama driver license shall not be issued to:
  1. Persons under 16 years of age. (See Pages 2-4 for exceptions)
  2. Any person who's driving rights or privilege is suspended or revoked in any state.
  3. Any person afflicted with or suffering from a physical or mental impairment which, in the opinion of the Director of Public Safety or examining officer, will prevent such person from exercising reasonable and ordinary control over a motor vehicle.
  4. Any person failing to pass the examination when required.
  5. Any person who is a habitual drunkard or addicted to the use of narcotic drugs.
  6. Any person who is under the age of 19, not in compliance with Alabama Act 93-368, which requires secondary school graduation or current attendance, with limited exclusions.

The Learner's License and Restricted License

The minimum driving age in Alabama is 16. However, there are certain exceptions and restrictions:

Learner's License - Fifteen year olds may obtain a restricted Learner's License for the purpose of learning to safely and effectively operate a motor vehicle. The examination for the license is taken from information in the Alabama Driver's Manual. Upon satisfactory completion of the required examination, the applicant will be issued a regular Alabama driver license with a "Y" restriction. The "Y" restriction indicates that the holder may operate a motor vehicle while accompanied by a person who is 21 years of age or older and, who is duly licensed in this state or a licensed or certified driving instructor occupying the seat beside the operator. This Learner's License is valid for four years.

Learner's license - Sixteen Year Olds - Any person 16 years of age or older who, except for his lack of Instruction In operating a motor vehicle, would otherwise be qualified to obtain a driver license, may obtain a Learner's License upon satisfactory completion of the required examination. The examination for this license is taken from Information in the Alabama Driver's Manual. After satisfactory completion of the required examination, the applicant will be issued a regular Alabama driver license with a "Y" restriction. The "Y" restriction indicates that the holder may only operate a motor vehicle with a licensed driver occupying the seat beside the driver. This license is valid for four years. Both Learner's Licenses may be suspended or revoked in the same manner and for the same cause as a driver license and may also be revoked for any violations of the terms and conditions on which it was issued.

Learner's License -"Y" Restriction Removal - Any person 16 years of age or older who holds a Learner's License and has developed the necessary skills to safety operate a motor vehicle may present himself to his local driver license examiner for the road test. He must surrender his picture Learners License at the time of the road test. Upon satisfactory completion of the road test, the applicant will be issued a new regular license for the remainder of the four- year period. This will be at no cost to the applicant.

NOTICE: Before any restrictions can be removed or any other changes in your driver license status takes place, it is mandatory that you have your permanent picture license in your possession at the time of requesting a change. If you have lost or destroyed your license, you must obtain a duplicate and wait for the permanent picture license before any changes can be made.

Motor Driven Cycle License - Fourteen and 15 year olds may obtain a restricted license to operate a motor driven cycle weighing not more than 200 pounds, nor exceeding 150cc engine displacement. The examination for this license is taken from the Alabama Motorcycle Operator Manual and the Alabama Drivers Manual. Upon satisfactory completion of the required examination, the applicant will be issued a Class M Alabama driver license with a "B" restriction. The "B" restriction indicates that the holder may operate a motor driven cycle only. This license is valid for four years.

Motorcycle License - Sixteen year old and older may obtain a restricted license to operate a motorcycle. A motorcycle is defined as a motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground but excluding a tractor. The examination for this license is taken from the Alabama Motorcycle Operator Manual and the Alabama Driver's Manual. Upon satisfactory completion of the required examination, the applicant will be issued a Class M Alabama driver license. Class M indicates that the holder may operate a motorcycle only. The license is valid for four years.

In addition to the above restricted licenses, the Director of Public Safety has the authority to impose restrictions on your driver license when it appears that these restrictions are necessary for you to operate a motor vehicle safely. A common restriction is the requirement of wearing corrective lenses while driving. Another is the use of mechanical devices that aid physically impaired persons. Operation of a motor vehicle in violation of restrictions may result in the loss of your license.

Vision Screening

Those who wear corrective lenses should wear them when taking any part of the driver license examination, including the road test. Neglect to do so may cause delay or postponement in subsequent steps of the examination.

IF, AS A RESULT OF THE VISION EXAMINATION, IT IS FOUND THAT LENSES ARE NEEDED TO IMPROVE EYESIGHT, YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO WEAR CORRECTIVE LENSES WHILE DRIVING. IF YOU DON'T PASS YOUR VISION EXAMINATION, YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO HAVE YOUR EYES EXAMINED BY A LICENSED EYE SPECIALIST AND RETURN THE REPORT TO THE EXAMINER. IF THE REPORT SHOWS THAT YOU CAN SEE WELL ENOUGH TO OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE SAFELY, YOU WILL BE ALLOWED TO TAKE THE REMAINDER OF THE TEST.

Written Test

This test contains written questions on Alabama traffic laws, road signs, and rules of safe driving. The test will be taken from material found in the Alabama Driver License manual.

If you are applying for a learner's license and pass the written test, the examiner will issue you a temporary learner license, upon payment of required fee, with your picture that shows you have the privilege of driving a motor vehicle in Alabama. If you are applying for a regular driver license, the examiner will issue your license upon successful completion of the road test and payment of required fee. You will receive your permanent license by mail within thirty days.

If you are applying for a motor driven cycle license and a learner's license, you will be required to take both the motor driven cycle and the learner's license examination.

If you are applying for a motor driven cycle or a motorcycle license, you will need to study the material found in the motorcycle manual that the Department of Public Safety publisher. You may pick this manual up at the Driver License Examining Station, State Trooper Office, or Probate Judge or License Commissioner Office.

The Road Test

The road test is the final step toward qualifying for the privilege of driving on public streets and highways. A driver license examiner of the Department of Public Safety gives all road tests. You must furnish a vehicle for the road test.

The vehicle will be checked by the examiner before the test begins. It must be in safe operating condition and have the required equipment.

The equipment required for the examination includes rear view mirror, horn, windshield wipers, two separate methods of applying brakes, muffler, headlights, rear tail lights, valid license plate, stop light, and directional signals. This equipment must be in good operating condition. The license examiner may refuse to give the road test in event of hazardous weather or road conditions.

The driving test will determine your ability to operate a motor vehicle properly under traffic conditions. Ordinary maneuvers may include:
  • Right and left turns
  • Signaling (hand or approved electrical devices)
  • Use of marked and unmarked lanes of traffic
  • Backing of vehicle
  • Observance of traffic signs and signals
  • Making a quick stop
  • General control of vehicle
  • Observation
  • Three point turn. Stop vehicle at right edge of curb. When safe, make sharp left turn; back vehicle. Move forward in right lane. Do not bump curb or use driveway.
During the test, you should turn your head when you observe traffic to indicate to the examiner you are aware of conditions around you. The examiner must mark items during the test indicating "acceptable" or "needs training". Do not be distracted by the scoring, as it does not indicate you are receiving all bad marks. 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.

Causes for immediate failure and termination of the road test are:
  • Violation of a traffic law.
  • A dangerous action.
  • Any accident which you could have prevented, regardless of legal fault.
  • Lack of cooperation or a refusal to perform any maneuver.
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.

Unless you already have a legal right to drive in Alabama, you must come for the road test in a vehicle driven by a licensed driver. The licensed driver must remain to drive the vehicle away if you fall.

When you have passed all tests, and paid the required fee, the examiner will issue your temporary license with your picture that shows you have the privilege of driving a motor vehicle in Alabama. You will receive your permanent license by mail with in thirty days.

If you do nor receive your license in 30 days, call the driver license division at 334-242-4400. The license must be carried on your person at all times while driving.

Re-Examination

When it appears that you have some physical or mental impairment which might affect your driving ability, you may be required to furnish a statement by a doctor showing your medical history and present condition as it pertains to your driving ability.

Under some circumstances, you may be required to appear before a driver license examiner at any time after you have been issued a license to prove your ability to drive a motor vehicle. If you fail to report for such a driver test or fail to submit any required statements from your doctor, your driver license can be revoked.

Identification Cards (Non-Driver)

A citizen of Alabama may apply to the local driver license examiner for a non-driver identification card. The same degree of proof of identification required of applicants for driver licenses in the state shall be required of applicants for non-driver identification cards. Identification cards are issued to applicants who do not physically qualify for a driver license, do not have a current driver license, or who wish to discontinue driving and surrender their license. The non-driver identification card bears a number and the name, date of birth, address, description of the person, and a color photo. (May be higher in counties where local legislation authorizes a higher fee.) The I.D. Cards are available wherever driver licenses are available. They are not issued to holders of a valid Alabama driver license.

Renewing Your License

Your driver license expires four years after it is issued and the expiration date is shown on the license. The license may be renewed at any time within 60 days prior to expiration at your Probate Judge or license Commissioner Office.

Grace Period

Alabama law grants a grace period of 60 days after expiration date of a driver's license for the purpose of driver license renewal and the driver license shall be valid for this time period.

Active Duty with Armed Forces (or any person out of Alabama at License Renewal Time)

Military personnel, their dependents, college students, or other licensed Alabama drivers who are temporarily out of state due to their job requirements may be eligible to apply if you have obtained an Alabama driver license with your picture and signature in the last four years. Please visit the Driver License Forms Page to download an application.

The required fee should be submitted by money order made payable to the Driver License Division and mailed to the Driver License Division, P.O. Box 1471, Montgomery, Alabama 36102-1471. The licensee's full name, birth date, and driver license number, social security number and out-of-state address should be included along with documentation providing reason for being out-of-state. A license will be issued, provided a photo and signature are on file and mailed to the licensee's out-of-state address. The license must bear an Alabama address. This does not apply to holders of a commercial driver license.

Renewal of License

An Alabama driver license may be renewed without examination within a three-year period after expiration. A license issued under these circumstances will be valid for a four-year period from the last expiration date instead of four years from date of issue. Even though license renewal is possible up to three years after expiration, a person could not legally operate a motor vehicle with an expired license.

Lost, Destroyed or Damaged Licenses

If your license is lost, destroyed, or becomes illegible, but has not yet expired, you should apply for a duplicate license at your Probate Judge or License Commissioner Office with acceptable identification. No examination is necessary but proof of identity such as a certified birth certificate is required at time of application.

Any person making a false affidavit in obtaining a duplicate driver license may be charged with Forgery (Title 13A-9-3) or Perjury (Title 13A-I 0-102) or both under the Criminal Code of Alabama and punished accordingly by fine and imprisonment or both.

Change of Name, Address

After changing your address within Alabama, you have 30 days in which to notify the Driver License Division, P. 0. Box 1471, Montgomery, Alabama 36102, giving your full name, your driver license number, and your new address. If you desire to change your address on your license, apply to your probate judge or license commissioner's office. A duplicate fee will be charged for a corrected license.

If you wish to change your name prior to license expiration, you should present proper documents (marriage certificate or court order) to your probate judge or license commissioner. A duplicate license will be issued with the corrected information for the normal duplicate fee.

Organ Donor Program

All persons age 18 and older may participate in Alabama's Organ Donor Program by indicating their desire to be an organ donor on the back of their Alabama driver license or photo ID card. If you hold a current driver license or ID Card and wish to be a donor, fill in the information on the back of your license or ID card using a pen or pencil.

By signing the back of your license or ID card as a donor, you are making a commitment to become an organ donor. The Alabama Organ Center strongly recommends you discuss this decision with your family. For more information, please contact the Alabama Organ Center toll-free at 1-800-252-3677.

Your gift remains effective as long as your driver license is properly renewed and remains current. Upon the expiration, cancellation, revocation or suspension of your driver license, your gift is invalidated.


Commercial Driver License

Alabama adopted the Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, and is part of a nationally uniform system of classifying, testing, and licensing commercial vehicle drivers.

If you drive a commercial vehicle that falls into one of the following classifications, you must secure an Alabama Commercial Driver License (CDL).

CLASS A - This classification applies only to "combination" vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) exceeding 26,000 pounds, provided the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed exceeds 10,000 pounds. The holder of a Class A license, which includes any appropriate endorsements, may operate all vehicles included in Class B, C, and D

CLASS B - This class includes single or combination vehicles where the GVWR of the single vehicle exceeds 26,000 pounds. The vehicle in tow must not exceed 10,000 pounds. Class B licensees, with appropriate endorsements, may drive all vehicles in Class C or D.

CLASS C - Vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, and vehicles placarded for hazardous materials, that do not meet the criteria for Class A or B above fall under this classification and may drive all vehicles in Class D.

CDL Endorsements are required for double/triple trailers, tanker vehicles, passenger vehicles and vehicles placarded for hazardous materials. If a hazardous material endorsement is required, Click Here to find out more information.

Commercial Drivers Manuals and information are available at your local driver license office. Click Here to view a list of driver license examination sites.

Commercial Driver License Fees:
NOTE: Some counties add additional processing fees to the cost of a license or test.
  • Knowledge Tests - $25.00
  • Skills Fee - $20.00
  • Class A CDL - $53.50
  • Class B CDL - $43.50
  • Class C CDL - $23.50


Mandatory Liability Insurance and Title Replacements

Please contact the Alabama Department of Revenue for information regarding mandatory liability insurance and title replacements.

Driver License Division


Major Terry Chapman
Division Chief

Alabama Department of Public Safety
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