Under the laws of Alabama, every person (with some exceptions) must be licensed to operate a motor vehicle upon public streets and roadways. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Driver License Unit, issues driver licenses. This page will cover the Alabama driver license requirements for residence.
This chapter tells you who may qualify and what you must do to obtain an Alabama driver license. If applying for a motorcycle license, you should study the motorcycle manual.
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 driver 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.
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.
- 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.
- Any person while driving any farm tractor or implement of husbandry temporarily operated or moved on the highway.
- A 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Any non-resident full time 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
An Alabama driver license shall not be issued to:
- Persons under 16 years of age.
- Any person whose driving rights or privilege is suspended or revoked in any state.
- Any person afflicted with or suffering from a physical or mental impairment which, in the opinion of the ALEA or examining officer, will prevent such person from exercising reasonable and ordinary control over a motor vehicle.
- Any person failing to pass the examination when required.
- Any person who is a habitual drunkard or addicted to the use of narcotic drugs.
•Any person who is under the age of 19 that is not in compliance with Alabama Act 93-368, which requires secondary school graduation or current attendance, with limited exclusions.
All applicants for an original Alabama driver license or identification card must submit proof of authorized presence in the United States as authorized under federal law. This will help us safeguard the accuracy and integrity of the Alabama Law Enforcement Driver License documents and reduce the high cost involved as a result of using fraudulent identification in obtaining goods and services.
Applicants for an Alabama Driver License or Identification card must:
1. Present two (2) forms of identification, at least one of which contains a photograph, (one form must be from the “Primary Listing”).
2. Present three (3) forms of non-photo identification (one form must be from the “Primary Listing”).
3. Applicants transferring an Out of State driver license must present their Out of State driver license, Social Security card (or one of the other acceptable documents for social security number) AND one other form from the “Primary Listing”.
For the purpose of administering the licensing of non-working authorized foreign national applicants for an Alabama driver license and non-driver identification cards, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency presumes their status in the United States to be unauthorized until the applicant presents documents evidencing, to the satisfaction of the Department, that their presence in the United States is authorized.
In addition to the identification requirements above, an applicant who has been deported from the United States must present proof from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that their legal presence status has been restored.
Legal Date of Birth Requirements
All applicants for any type of Alabama driver license or non-driver identification card must meet the age requirements relevant to the license or permit.
A record existing on the driver license database, as a result of a previously issued Alabama driver license or Alabama non-driver identification card may be considered proof of birth date. If no such record exists, only an original or certified copy of one of the “Primary Listed” documents could be accepted as proof of birth date.
Only a document, which is an original or a copy certified by the issuing agency, will be accepted. If a document is a copy, the certification attached to it must be original. A document would be unacceptable if:
- (a) Correction fluid (white-out) has been used on pertinent informa-
- (b) Erasure markings appear on pertinent information.
- (c) Pertinentinformationismissing.
- (d) Pertinent information is illegible.
- (e) Alterations appear in pertinent information.
- (f) A fold, crease, tear or hole obliterates or distorts pertinent information
- (g) A staple obliterates or distorts pertinent information.
- (h) The document is not properly signed.
Social Security Number Requirements
Proof of Social Security Number must be presented by the applicant under the following circumstances, unless the number is already in the database:
(a) When applying for any class driver license, driver license renewal, vessel license, or non-driver identification card, whether or not the applicant wishes to have the number appear on the license.
- An original of one of the following documents is required as proof of a Social Security number:
(a) Social Security Card
(b) A certified letter (on letterhead) from the Social Security
Administration stating the person’s name and Social Security
number. (c) United States Military Identification Card.
(d) United States Military form DD 214.
(e) Medicare/Medicaid Identification Card (if Social Security number
is followed by the letter A). (f) W2 Tax Form.
- (a) The notary’s seal or stamp must be affixed to the document and must be legible.
- (b) The notary’s name must be legible.
- (c) The notary’s signature must be present.
- (d) The complete date that the notary’s commission expires must be
legible and must have been current on the date the document was
- (e) The state in which the notary is commissioned must be legible.
Acceptable documentation for proof of name, date of birth and authorized presence documents must be original or copies certified by issuing agency. Unless otherwise noted, documents must be current or be of the type that does not expire. Immigration documents must reflect at least 160 days allowable time remaining in the United States.
All applicants under the age of 19 must present a current Student Enrollment/Exclusion Form (DL-1-93). Forms may be obtained at your school or any driver license office. Forms must be completed and signed by authorized personnel.
Social Security card (Required for all applicants who have been assigned and/or are eligible for the assignment of a social security number by the Social Security Administration.)
- Certified U.S. Birth Certificate issued by an agency designated by state or federal authority
- US Passport (current)
- Alabama Identification Card
- Alabama Driver License
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Certificate of Citizenship
- US Certificate of Birth Abroad
- Resident Alien Card
- Valid Foreign Passport with a valid United
States Immigration Document
- U.S. State Issued Driver License
Non-Driver ID Card
Current International Driver License/Permit
- Marriage License
- US Armed Forces Driver
US Military DD-214
Professional License Issued by a State or Federal Agency
- Selective Service Card
- Medical Insurance ID Card
United States Military ID Card
- ID card issued by School with Photo
School Enrollment Form (DL-1/93) Certified School Record.
- Current Transcript
Most recent report card
- Certified Letter from School
- GED Certificate
Certificate of Graduation
- W2 Tax Form along with a copy of the previous year’s filed tax forms Documents from Court of Record
- Divorce Decree Adoption Decree Name Change Decree Bankruptcy Decree.
Probation or release documents issued by State or Federal Departments of Correction with Photo ID cards issued by the same authority or Felon ID card issued by the Sheriff of the county of applicant’s residence
ACCEPTABLE VISA CLASSIFICATIONS
Any person lawfully present in the United States in the following nonimmigrant categories is eligible to apply for an Alabama driver license/learner license/non-driver identification card/vessel license: A, B, except B-1, E, F, G-4, H, I, J, K, L, M, NATO, O, P, Q, R, S, T, TN, TD, TPS or U or V visa categories.
Note: F and M visa holders must also present Form I-20; J-1 and J-2 visa holders must also present Form DS-2019 or IAP-66.
Driver License written examinations are available in foreign languages: 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.
HEARING IMPAIRED EXAMINATIONS
The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, in cooperation with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, has made it possible for driver license written examinations to be administered to the hearing impaired in American Sign Language. This is administered using our automated testing equipment and is available only at certain Driver License offices. Information on the administration of these tests may be obtained at the Driver License District Office.
Examinations are available for applicants that are unable to read and comprehend the knowledge tests. Oral Examinations may be administered using our automated testing equipment.
THE LEARNER LICENSE AND RESTRICTED LICENSE
Alabama Drivers License Graduated License law became effective October 1, 2002. Contact your local driver license office for information or log on to www.alea.gov. The minimum driving age in Alabama is 16. There are certain exceptions and restrictions:
RESTRICTED LEARNER LICENSE – Any person 15 years of age may obtain a restricted Learner 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 Manual. Upon passing the required examination, the applicant will be issued a Class D 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. After the holder’s sixteenth birthday, the holder may operate a motor vehicle with any licensed driver occupying the seat beside the driver. This Learner License is valid for four years, and can be renewed once.
LEARNER LICENSE 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 License upon passing the required examination. The examination for this license is taken from information in the Alabama Driver Manual. After passing the required examination, the applicant will be issued a Class D Alabama driver license with a “Y” restriction. The “Y” restriction indicates that the holder may operate a motor vehicle with a licensed driver occupying the seat beside the driver. This license is valid for four years.
A Learner License 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.
DRIVER LICENSE – Any person 16 years of age but under 18 years of age who has held a Learner License (to include a comparable license issued by another state) for six months or until their 18th birthday and has developed the necessary skills to safely operate a motor vehicle may present himself to his local driver license examiner for the road test. He must surrender his Learner License at the time of the road test. Upon passing the road test, the applicant will be issued a new regular license with the “Y” restriction removed for the remainder of the four year period. This will be at no cost to the applicant.
MOTOR DRIVEN CYCLE LICENSE – Any person 14 or 15 years of age 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 Manual. Upon passing 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 – Any person 16 years of age or older may obtain a 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 Manual. Upon passing 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 licenses, the Director of ALEA 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.
VESSEL LICENSE – Any person 12 years of age or older may obtain a vessel license upon passing the required vessel examination at your local driver license office. You may also present an approved Certificate of Completion of a Boating Safety Course. Applicant must meet identification requirements.
Those restricted to corrective lenses must wear them when taking the road test.
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.
The fee for each knowledge test is $5.00, no checks accepted. This test contains questions on Alabama traffic laws, road signs, and rules of safe driving. The test will be taken from material found in this booklet. This manual can also be found in digital format on the ALEA web site at: dps.alabama.gov.
If you are applying for a learner license and pass the knowledge test, the examiner will issue your learner license upon payment of the required fee.
If you are applying for a regular driver license and pass the road test, you will
be issued your driver license upon payment of the required fee
If you are applying for a motor driven cycle license and a learner license, you will be required to take both the motor driven cycle and the learner 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. You may pick this manual up at a Driver License Examining Office, State Trooper Office, Probate Judge or License Commissioner Office.
Automated testing is available to all applicants taking the driver license knowledge test.
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 will administer the road test. You must furnish a vehicle for the road test. Sixteen year old applicants must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. A seventeen year old applicant doesn’t have to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The examiner will check the vehicle before the test begins. It must be in safe operating condition and have the required equipment or the road test will not be administered. You must furnish a vehicle with required documents, proof of insurance and vehicle registration, for the road test.
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, directional signals, seat belts, and, if applicable, window tint compliance sticker. The license examiner may refuse to give the road test in event of hazardous weather, road conditions or an inability to effectively communicate.
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
- 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.
- Parking (uphill or downhill)
During the test, you should turn your head when you observe traffic and look over your right shoulder while backing 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 skills.
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 fail.
When you have passed all tests, had your photo taken, and paid the required fees, you will receive a temporary license with your photo that gives you the privilege of driving a motor vehicle. You will receive your permanent license by mail. We must have your current mailing address to receive your license. The license must be carried on your person at all times while driving.
|Class A Commercial License
||Motor Driven Cycle License
|Class B Commercial License
|Class C Commercial License
|School Bus Only
|Class D Operator License
License fees shown above are subject to change and will be slightly higher in counties where local legislation permits a higher fee.
The minimum age requirements for Alabama Driver License and Non-Driver Identification cards are as follows:
Class D Learner License Class D
Motor Driven Cycle Vessel License
CDL Class A Unrestricted CDL Class B Unrestricted CDL Class B Restricted CDL Class C
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 from 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 Alabama 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. The Identification Cards are available wherever driver licenses are available.
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’s Office.
Military personnel, their dependents, students attending college, or other licensed Alabama drivers who are temporarily out of state due to their job requirement may be eligible to apply if you have obtained an Alabama driver license with your picture and signature in the last four years. Application available on www.alea.gov/driver license.
You must submit the required fee of $36.25 for renewal license or $31.25 for duplicate license by money order payable to the Driver License Unit. No personal checks. Mail to the Driver License Unit, P.O. Box 1471, Montgomery, Alabama 36102-1471. The licensee’s full name, date of birth, 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.
Alabama law provides a grace period of 60 days after expiration date of a driver license for the purpose of driver license renewal and the driver license shall be valid for this time period. An Alabama driver license may be renewed without examination within a 3-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 cannot legally operate a motor vehicle with an expired license.
DUPLICATING YOUR LICENSE
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. 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), Perjury (Title 13A-10-102) or both under the Criminal Code of Alabama and punished accordingly by fine, imprisonment or both.
CHANGE OF NAME, ADDRESS
If you wish to change your name, you should present proper documents (marriage certificate or court order) to your probate judge or license commissioner. A duplicate fee will be charged for a corrected license. Commercial Driver License operators must go to a Driver License Office.
After changing your address within Alabama, you have 30 days
in which to notify the Driver License Unit, P. 0. Box 1471, Montgomery, Alabama 36102-1471 or contact the department thru the web site at www. alea.gov. To update your address on your driver license or non-driver identification card, apply for a duplicate license at a driver license examining office or renewal office (judge of probate or license commissioner’s office). A $31.25 fee will be charged for the corrected, duplicate license. Before leaving the office, be sure and confirm your correct mailing address to ensure you will receive your license or non-driver identification card. Alabama driver licenses and non-driver identification cards are not forwarded.
ORGAN DONOR PROGRAM
The Alabama Organ Center (AOC) is the federally designated organ procurement organization for the state of Alabama. The Alabama Organ Center (AOC) encourages all Alabamians to make an informed decision about organ and tissue donation. Anyone can register to be a donor via the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) or through our website, alabamaorgancenter.org. It is important for people to share their donation decision with their families. If you are a minor, under the age of 18, you can register your wishes to be a donor, but a parent’s consent is required for donation to take place. For more information, please contact the Alabama Organ Center toll-free at 1-800-252-3677
SPECIAL RESTRICTIONS MAY APPLY
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, & 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.
N – Tanks 1,000 gallons or greater H – Hazardous materials
X – Tanks and Haz Mat
T – Double/triple trailers
P – Greater than 15 passengers including driver S – School bus
Commercial Drivers Manuals and information are available at your local driver license office.
In 1994, the Alabama Boating Safety Reform Act was passed requiring operator certification for all operators of motorized watercraft. Persons ages 12 years old and older may obtain a vessel license.
In 2001, The Boating Safety Enhancement Act was passed mandating anyone who turned 12 years old after January 1, 2002, may, after obtaining a vessel license, operate a vessel only if an adult 21 years old or older with a vessel license, is onboard and in a position to take immediate control of the vessel. A licensed operator, 14 years old or older, may operate alone.
Persons born before April 28, 1954 are exempt from examination but are required to go to their driver license office to have vessel class issued. Vessel manuals are available at your local driver license office. The same identification is required for first time applicants getting a vessel license if they do not already have an Alabama Driver License or Non-Driver Identification Card.
PRESENT YOUR LICENSE
In Alabama, a driver must have an appropriate driver license (or learner permit) in his or her possession while operating a motor vehicle and be prepared to present that driver license to any law enforcement officer upon his or her request.
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