Your License To Drive In Alabama
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 ALEA.
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.
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.
Visit a local driver license 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 ALEA.
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 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.
- 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 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.
An Alabama driver license shall not be issued to:
- Persons under 16 years of age. (See Pages 2-4 for exceptions)
- Any person who's 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 Director of Public Safety 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, 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.
Veteran License Designation
Since May 1, 2013, Alabama veterans have had the option of displaying proof of military service on their driver licenses.
To establish proof of service, a veteran must visit one of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Driver License examining offices, a license commissioner’s office or probate office, and present a DD-214 form from the U.S. Department of Defense that shows an “honorable” or “general under honorable conditions” status.
There is no additional charge for the veteran designation for a first-time driver license applicant or for an individual seeking to renew his or her license. A veteran who chooses to add the designation before his or her renewal date, however, must pay the standard fee for a duplicate license.