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Getting Your Alabama Learner's Permit
Although getting your Alabama learner's permit can be an exciting experience, it's also incredibly important to go through the process as safely and responsibly as possible. According to the AL Department of Public Health, Alabama is one of the top states in the nation for teen driver fatalities.
This is why the state of Alabama has implemented a Graduated Driver Licensing program (GDL). The GDL sets guidelines and milestones that teens must follow prior to getting their driver's license.
In certain circumstances there are a few exceptions in which teens are exempt from the GDL program, and may obtain an unrestricted driver's license without first having obtained a learner's permit:
- Teens 18 years old or older.
- Teens 17 years old or older with a valid driver's license for 6 months or longer.
- Teens who are age 16 years old or older who are married and considered the head of household.
- Teens who have been legally relieved of minority status (the state or period of being below the legal age).
If none of the scenarios mentioned above apply to you, the first step on your path to your Alabama driver's license is to get your learner's permit. Below you will find everything you need to know—from how to make an appointment to what documents you need to bring to the Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS). You'll even find out why an online practice permit test will save you some valuable time.
If you're a new Alabama resident with a driver's permit from your previous state, you must still adhere to the state's GDL guidelines and follow all steps mentioned below. You cannot transfer your out-of-state permit.
If you need more information, call the DPS at (334) 242-4400.
Driver's Permit Age Requirements
In Alabama, you are not legally allowed to drive until you are 16 years old. However, as part of the GDL program, the DPS has established certain exceptions and restrictions based on age and experience:
15 Years Old
If you're 15 years old, you can get a restricted learner's license if:
- You are enrolled in a Driver's Ed/training program.
- You successfully pass the written exam at the Alabama DPS.
This license will come with a “Y" restriction, which means you may not operate a motor vehicle unless you are accompanied by a person 21 years old or older and who is licensed in Alabama or a certified driving instructor occupying the front seat next to you. Your learner's permit is valid for 4 years.
16 Years Old
If you're 16 years old or older, you can get a learner's permit without having first enrolled in Driver's Ed. This learner's license will come with the same “Y" restriction, meaning you can practice driving, but you must always be accompanied by a licensed driver at least 21 years old occupying the front seat next to you.
Applying for Your Alabama Learner's Permit
When you're ready to apply for your learner's permit, go to your local Alabama DPS office and submit:
- An original or certified U.S. birth certificate. Photocopies will not be accepted.
- Proof of Social Security (e.g. a Social Security card).
- Proof of school enrollment or graduation (e.g. an Enrollment/Exclusion Form (Form DL1/93), GED certificate, certified letter from school officials stating student is enrolled).
- Proof of enrollment in Driver's Ed, if you are 15 years old.
- Payment for the $5 learner's permit test fee and $36.25 license fee (no checks).
When heading to the Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS), it's always a good idea to make an appointment and save yourself some time.
The permit test is comprised of written questions about Alabama state-specific traffic laws, road signs, and rules of safe driving. The test questions have been created from material found in the Alabama Driver License Manual and cover a range of topics including what's a safe stopping distance and who has the right of way. In addition to passing the written exam, you will also need to pass a vision screening.
In order to progress through the Alabama GDL and get your Stage II restricted license, you must:
- Complete at least 30 hours of behind-the-wheel driving practice.
- Hold your learner's permit for at least 6 months.
- Submit a Graduated Driver License form (Form DL-31) signed by a parent/legal guardian or certified driving instructor verifying your driving hours.
For more information please refer to our page on Driver’s Ed in Alabama.
If you need to replace your learner's permit in Alabama, you'll need to visit the DPS in person and bring the documents mentioned above. The fee to replace your learner's permit is $31.25. For more information, please refer to our Replacing a Lost License in Alabama page.
Once you've completed your 30 hours of behind-the-wheel practice and held your learner's permit for at least 6 months, it's time to head to the Alabama DPS for your road exam to get your provisional license.
There are two scenarios under which you may have your “Y" restriction removed from your learner's permit, effectively making it a Stage II restricted driver's license:
- If you obtained your learner's permit at 15 years old:
- You must turn 16 years old AND have completed the required 30 hours of behind-the-wheel driving practice.
- If you obtained your learner's permit at 16 years old:
- You must have completed the required 30 hours of behind-the-wheel driving practice.
For more information, please refer to our Alabama Teen License page. As you head out on the road, please be fully aware of the conditions and distractions that surround you. Together we can make our roads a safer place to travel.
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