Feb 11, 2020
Learn About Alberta's Graduated Driver's License (GDL) Classes And Common Questions
Getting a driver’s license in Alberta isn't too much different from other provinces. Much like in Ontario and other provinces, Alberta drivers must complete a graduated licensing system to become a fully licensed driver.
This involves passing a knowledge test, road test, and successfully completing learner’s and probationary periods. It is a process that the more than 3 million licensed drivers in Alberta have completed.
Whether you are a new driver just learning to drive, it’s time to renew your Alberta driver’s license, or you are new to the province, this Alberta driver’s license guide will answer your questions and provide you with the information you need.
What Is GDL Licensing In Alberta?
Alberta uses a graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) system. The GDL license system was designed to ensure all new drivers gain the necessary experience, knowledge, instruction and support to pass the required road tests and knowledge test. The GDL license is comprised of stage one learner and stage two probationary periods.
How Much Does An Alberta Driver’s License Cost?
The cost of an Alberta driver’s license depends on the number of years it’s valid. The maximum cost to renew your driver’s license is $93 for 5 years :
- 1 year : $26
- 2 years : $43
- 3 years : $60
- 4 years : $77
- 5 years : $93
How Do I Get My Driver’s License In Alberta?
All new drivers must complete the two-stage process to become a fully licensed driver. It takes a minimum of 3 years to complete both stages of the graduated driver’s licensing system in Alberta.
Stage One Learner
To qualify for your stage one learner’s license, you must :
- Be at least 14 years old.
- Pass a vision and knowledge test.
- Have valid identification.
- Have parental consent if you are under 18.
You must follow these conditions :
- You must have your learner’s for at least one year.
- You must be accompanied by a fully licensed driver at all times when driving.
- Have zero alcohol level.
- You are not allowed to drive from midnight to 5am.
- Your license will be suspended if you accumulate 8 demerit points (15 for fully licensed drivers).
Stage Two Probationary
To qualify for your probationary driver’s license, you must :
- Be at least 16 years old.
- Have a learner’s driver’s license for one year.
- Pass the basic Alberta Class 5 road test.
You must follow these conditions :
- You must have your probationary driver’s license for at least 2 years.
- Your license will be suspended at 8 demerit points (15 for fully licensed drivers).
- Have zero alcohol level.
- You cannot upgrade to a commercial driver’s license.
- You cannot act as an accompanying driver for learner drivers.
Becoming A Fully Licensed Driver In Alberta
To become a fully licensed driver in Alberta, you must :
- Pass the advanced Alberta Class 5 road test.
- Be suspension free for the last year of the probationary stage.
Common Questions About Getting A Graduated Driver’s License In Alberta
Here are some common questions about Alberta driver’s licenses and the GDL system :
How Long Do You Have To Wait To Get Your Driver’s License In Alberta?
It will take a minimum of 3 years to become a fully licensed driver in Alberta. It takes 4 years if you get your learner’s license at age 14. You must have your stage one learner’s license for 1 year and spend 2 years as a stage two probationary driver.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Get A Learner’s License?
You must be 14 years of age to get a learner’s license in Alberta. You are required to pass a vision and knowledge test.
Which Alberta Driver’s License Tests Do I Have To Pass?
As part of the graduated driver’s license system, you are required to pass three Alberta driving tests to get your full license :
- Class 7 Knowledge Test
- Class 5 Basic GDL Road Test
- Class 5 Advanced GDL Exit Road Test
Where Can I Get The Alberta Driver’s License Handbook?
You can download a copy of the Alberta Driver’s License Handbook for free from Alberta Transportation. Get it here. You can also go online and take practice exams to test your knowledge.
What Are The Alberta Driver’s License Classes?
There are 7 different classes or types of driver’s licenses in Alberta. These driver’s license classes allow you to drive cars, trucks, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles. Alberta driver’s license classes are :
- Class 1 : Professional license to drive any vehicle
- Class 2 : Professional license for buses
- Class 3 : Vehicles with 3 axles plus - trucks
- Class 4 : Professional license for taxi, ambulance, small bus
- Class 5 : Standard driver’s license for cars, light trucks, motorhomes
- Class 6 : Motorcycles and mopeds
- Class 7 : Learner’s license for cars and motorcycles
To qualify for certain driver license classes, additional driver’s training may be required.
What Is The Alberta Driver’s License Renewal Process?
It’s important to renew your driver’s license prior to expiry. Alberta licenses have a 1 to 5 year expiry date based on your license class and other factors. Your expiration date will be on the back of your driver’s license.
Here’s what you need to know about the driver’s license renewal process in Alberta :
What Do I Need To Renew My Driver’s License?
To renew your Alberta driver’s license, you will need to present the following :
- Your current driver’s license. Copies are not accepted.
- A completed renewal form.
- You may also be required to provide a medical form if you are over 75 years old, or have a class 1, 2, or 4 driver’s license.
Can I Renew My Alberta Driver’s License Online?
No. Driver’s licenses in Alberta must be renewed in person. You cannot renew your driver’s license online.
How Much Does It Cost To Renew Your License In Alberta?
It costs $93.65 to renew an Alberta driver’s license. This is applicable for all classes on a 5 year renewal. If you have an out of province driver’s license, an additional $7.00 will be applied.
Can You Renew A Driver’s License After It Expires In Alberta?
Yes. You have up to six months once your driver’s license expires to renew it. Once your license expires, you are no longer legally allowed to drive.
If it has been more than 6 months, you will be required to provide a birth certificate, passport, and other documentation, such as proof of residency in Alberta to renew.
If your Alberta driver’s license expired more than 3 years ago, you will need to pass the written knowledge test and road tests before you can get a new driver’s license.
Is There A Fine For Driving With An Expired Alberta Driver’s License?
Yes. It is an offense to drive without a valid driver’s license. If caught, you could receive a fine of $200 or more.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Lost Driver’s License In Alberta?
I lost my Alberta driver’s license, now what? Visit a registry agent in person if your driver’s license has been lost, stolen, or damaged. You will be charged a $28.00 replacement fee. If your license has been stolen, it’s recommended you file a police report.
Is There A Fee For An Alberta Driver’s License Address Change?
Yes. There is a $28 fee to update your personal information on your driver’s license. You are required to update your driver’s license and vehicle registration within 14 days of an address change or other changes to your personal information.
Visit a registry agent in person to complete the address change. You will be issued a temporary license until your newly updated license arrives in the mail.
How Do You Exchange A License From Outside Alberta?
If you are new to the province of Alberta, you have 90 days to exchange your current driver’s license for an Alberta driver’s license. You will be given a license that is equivalent to the class of license you are exchanging.
You do not need to exchange your driver’s license if you are visiting from another Canadian province to study or work temporarily.
Learn more about how to exchange a license from outside Alberta.
How Do I Upgrade To A Professional License In Alberta?
There are 4 types of professional driver’s licenses in Alberta (class 1, 2, 3, 4). To upgrade, you will be required to :
- Have a full class 5 driver’s license and be at least 18 years of age.
- Take a knowledge test – cost is $17.
- Pass a vision test.
- Pass a road test – cost varies by registry agent and location.
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