How to Get Your Alabama Driver’s License: Step-by-Step

Ohio License Renewal Guide
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The state of Alabama has a graduated driver’s licensing program helping first-time drivers learn road rules and gain behind-the-wheel experience before their unrestricted driving. This program is operated through the Alabama Department of Public Safety, its intent is to improve road safety for all.

The GDL process includes:

  • Learner’s Permit
  • Provisional License
  • Unrestricted License

Every applicant needs to either go through the GDL program (getting their learner’s permit) or pass a driving test to get their Alabama driver’s license.

Getting an Alabama driver’s license is easy if you practice driving and take tests through the state’s graduated licensing program. Most drivers will get a Class D license.

Before going to the DMV, you’ll want to collect:

  • Proof of identification
  • Proof of residency
  • Payment method

You will visit an AL DMV throughout each of these applications.

The following is a recap of the requirements for getting a license. Then, shares what you’ll do when upgrading the learner’s permit into a full Alabama driver’s license.

Getting Your Learner’s Permit

Teens, starting at 15 years old, can begin getting their learner’s permit (stage 2). Those 16 years old with driver’s ed and driving experience can apply for a restricted license (Stage 2). Those 17 with a Stage 2 license and 18 without a Stage 2 license can apply for their unrestricted (Stage 3).

15 Years Old:

  1. Visit a local AL DMV
  2. Show proof of identification/citizenship & SSN
  3. Show proof of school enrollment
  4. Show proof of a driver’s education class
  5. Pay the $5 permit fee
  6. Pay the $36.25 license fee

16 Years Old & Older

  1. Visit a local AL DMV
  2. Show proof of identification/citizenship & SSN
  3. Show proof of school enrollment or graduation
  4. Pay the $5 permit fee
  5. Pay the $36.25 license fee

Note: Those 18 and older can take all tests at one time if they bring a licensed adult to accompany their testing. Their vehicle must pass inspection and have proof of insurance, too.

Those wanting a STAR ID can include proof of residency when applying. A written and vision test comes during permit testing. The written test examines one’s ability to recognize road signs and obey traffic laws & safe driving. The vision test exams one’s eye-sight (bring corrective lenses if needed).

Consider taking a practice test or study your Alabama driver’s manual to review materials before taking the written test. This practice can greatly help improve your chances of success.

Getting Your Provisional License

First-time drivers in the licensing program may apply for their conditional license when they turn 16 (given they began the process at 15). Those 17 can get their unrestricted license by holding a provisional license. Then, those 18 and older are eligible for an unrestricted without a learner’s or provisional.

A Stage 2 restricted license becomes available for those 16 years old and has held their learner’s permit for at least 6 months. The driver will take a driving test during the application unless they opt for a driver’s education course (this is completely elective).

You’re expected to make an appointment and bring a registered & insured vehicle for the driving test. A parent or guardian will accompany you during this test, too.

Do the following when there:

  1. Provide proof of ID/citizenship & residency & SSN
  2. Provide proof of school enrollment or graduation
  3. Provide your learner’s permit
  4. Submit your driving log
    1. Graduated Driver License Form (DL-31)
  5. Pass a driving test
  6. Pay the $36.25 licensing fee

Congrats! You’re one step closer to an unrestricted license which you can apply for after holding this provisional license for 6 months and turn 17 years old.

Restrictions vary while drivers have their provisional license.

  • Cannot drive between 12 AM to 6 AM unless with a parent/guardian over 21 or driving from approved locations like school, work, and church or an emergency
  • Only 1 passenger (besides being family)
  • No cell phone use at the wheel

Follow and do these steps and you can upgrade a provisional license into an unrestricted one.

Getting Your Unrestricted License

Those having held their provisional license for 6 months and turned 17 can get their unrestricted license when going through the licensing program. Else, anyone 18 and older will need a learner’s permit to quickly run through the process before applying.

Complete the following when you’re ready:

  1. Bring proof of ID/Citizenship & SSN
  2. Turn in your learner’s or provisional
  3. Show proof of school enrollment or graduation (19yo and under)
  4. Pass the exams/tests:
    1. Vision
    2. Driving test
    3. Written exam
  5. Pay the fees:
    1. $5 testing fees
    2. $36.25 license fee

You will schedule a driving exam else you should visit (walk-in) at an applicable location. Otherwise, you can turn in your driver’s education certificate showing you gained behind-the-wheel experience. There, you’ll show your permit or provisional, take another vision test, and conduct your road skills test.

Provide proof of insurance for the vehicle when taking the driving test.

Out-of-State Drivers

Licensed drivers coming from out-of-state will apply within 30-days of residency. The state doesn’t require driver testing if their license is valid (not expired for longer than a year). But, out-of-state drivers will take a vision exam and swap their license at a local DPS office.


Following these steps will earn you a temporary license until the permanent Alabama driver’s license arrives in the mail (usually within 30 days). This license is valid for 4 years or until you choose to renew your license. Practice safe driving and you’ll have a wonderful time on the roads of Alabama!