Alabama Permit and Driver's License FAQ

  • Applying for Your AL License
  • Preparing for the AL Permit Test
  • Taking the AL Permit Test
  • Preparing for the AL Driving Test
  • Taking the AL Driving Test
  • Renewing Your AL License
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Applying for Your AL License: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the age requirements for getting started?

The Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS) has instituted a graduated driver licensing (GDL) program. This program requires new drivers to earn their license in stages that each has certain restrictions before receiving a full unrestricted license. Alabama’s stages include:

  • 15 years old: Eligible for learner’s permit.
  • 16 years old: Eligible for restricted or provisional license.
  • 17 years old: Eligible for unrestricted license – must have had learner’s permit and restricted license.
  • 18 years old: Eligible for unrestricted license with no learner’s permit or restricted license required.

What documents am I required to bring with me when applying for a permit or license in Alabama?

If you are applying for a learner’s permit, you need:

  • Your original U.S. birth certificate
  • Your Social Security card
  • Proof of school enrollment or graduation, which can include: – Enrollment/Exclusion form (DL1/93). – Certified letter of enrollment from your school – GED or graduation certificate.

If you are applying for a provisional license, you need:

  • Valid learner’s permit.
  • One form of acceptable primary identification. Visit Alabama DPS website for examples.
  • Social Security card.
  • Proof of school enrollment or graduation: – Enrollment/Exclusion form (DL1/93) – GED or graduation certificate – Certified enrollment letter from your school
  • One of the following: – Form DL-31 (Graduated Driver License form) signed by your parent/guardian – Driver’s Education course certificate of completion
  • Vehicle registration and proof of insurance for car you will be driving in driver’s test

If you are applying for an unrestricted license,

  • Visit your local Driver’s License Office and exchange your Stage II provisional license for a Stage III unrestricted driver’s license.

Where do I file my AL driver’s license application?

Go to your local Alabama Department of Public Safety Driver Office to start the process.

How can I contact my local Driver office?

You can call the Department of Public Safety at (334) 242-4400. You may also visit the department’s website.

Do I have to take a Driver’s Ed Course?

No, in Alabama Driver’s Education is an elective. However, it is highly encouraged that you enroll in a course to learn safe driving habits.

What if I am New to Alabama?

If you already have a valid driver’s license from another state you need to transfer it to an Alabama driver’s license within 30 days of residency. To do this, visit your local DPS driver office.

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Preparing for the AL Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

What subjects are commonly covered on the written test?

The Alabama permit test covers the content of its state driver’s manual, which includes safe driving rules, traffic laws and road signs. Sample content taken from the state driver’s manual that may be covered on the test include:

  • When turning across a bicycle lane, the driver should drive into the bicycle lane prior to making the turn and then only make the turn as long as his or her preparation for the turn does not encroach upon the safety of a person riding a bicycle in the lane.
  • When entering a road construction area, drivers should be on the look-out for flagman, one-way traffic and other signs or obstructions. Drivers should proceed with caution and obey signs and instructions.

How is the test formatted?

Questions are multiple-choice.

Are there are lot of “trick” questions on the written test?

No, there are no questions designed to purposefully trick you. However, the test does contain “difficult” questions where more than one answer may appear to be right or where there is no clear answer. The best way to ensure you get these questions correct is to study the state driver’s manual extensively.

How many questions are on the test and how many do I need to answer correctly to pass?

The Alabama Permit Test features 30 multiple-choice questions. To pass, you need to answer 26 of the questions correctly.

What are the best ways to prepare for the written test?

Study the Alabama Driver manual. You can also take practice tests online that are formatted like the real thing. Take a practice test to gauge your Alabama driving knowledge now.

Where can I get a free Alabama driver’s manual to study?

This website offers free copies of the Alabama driver’s manual.

How can I improve my odds for passing the first time I take the test?

To improve your odds for passing, be sure to study the state driver manual cover to cover. You should also take practice tests online to assess your current knowledge and identify areas that you need to study more. Take a practice test now.

What should I do the night before the test?

In addition to studying the state driver’s manual and taking an online practice test, you should be sure to get a good night’s sleep. Upon waking, you should eat a good breakfast and be sure to give yourself plenty of time to reach the driver office so that you don’t feel rushed or stressed for your test.

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Taking the AL Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to make an appointment to take the written test?

It’s always a good idea to make an appointment if your local driver office offers them. This way you can reduce the time you spend in the waiting room.

Where do I take the written test?

You will take the test at your local Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS) office.

What do I need to bring when I sit for the written test?

When sitting for the permit test, you need:

  • Your original U.S. birth certificate
  • Your Social Security card
  • Proof of school enrollment or graduation, which can include: – Enrollment/Exclusion form (DL1/93). – Certified letter of enrollment from your school – GED or graduation certificate.

Who should accompany me to the written test?

A parent or guardian will need to accompany you and sign your application form at the DMV.

Do I need to pay a fee to take the written test?

Yes, you must pay a $5 testing fee and a $36.25 license fee. Please be aware: you must pay with cash or money order. Checks are not accepted.

What should I expect when I sit for the written test?

Your test will include 30 multiple choice questions and you must answer at least 26 of them correctly to pass. You can take your time on the test as there is no time limit. One way to get a feel for the exam is to take a practice test that is formatted like the real thing and contains similar questions. Take a practice test.

What happens after I pass the written test?

After you pass the written test, you will be issued your learner’s permit, which entitles you to practice driving with a licensed driver age 21 or older in the car with you. Your learner’s permit is valid for four years.

What happens if I fail the written test?

You can retake the test. You must pay a $5 test fee each time you take the test.

How many times can I retake the written test?

You can take the test until you pass but you must pay a $5 test fee each time you take it.

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Preparing for the AL Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve passed the written permit test, what are the next steps?

After passing the written test, you must complete the following to qualify for a Stage II restricted license:

  • Complete a minimum of 30 hours of behind-the-wheel driving practice
  • Have your learner’s permit for 6 months, at least
  • Complete and submit a Graduated Driver License form (Form DL-31). This form, which verifies your driving hours, must be signed by a parent, guardian or driving instructor.

How long after getting my Learner’s Permit can I apply for a Provisional License?

You must hold your learner’s permit for at least six months before applying for a Stage II restricted license.

Can I drive anywhere in Alabama with my Learner’s Permit?

If you have a learner’s permit and are accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years of age or older you can drive on any public road or street in Alabama.

Should I practice driving solely during the day?

A portion of your 30 hours of practice driving should be done at night so that you can get used to the different conditions this type of driving offers.

Does anyone have to be in the car with me when I’m driving with my Learner’s Permit?

Yes, you must have a licensed driver age 21 or older in the car with you at all times.

What should I do if I have a lost or expired Alabama Learner’s Permit?

To replace your learner’s permit, you’ll need to visit your local DPS office. Be sure to bring the identification documents that you submitted when you obtained your learner’s permit. You’ll also need to pay $31.25 for your new permit.

How can I be sure I’m prepared to ace the driving test?

To ensure success on the driving test be sure to practice a lot and be sure to not only learn the rules of the road but also put them into action whenever you are practicing driving.

Are there particular driving maneuvers I should practice?

Yes, the typical driving test includes parking, making two and three-point turns, lane changes, stopping and defensive driving techniques, including following a vehicle at a safe distance. Be sure to practice all of these maneuvers thoroughly.

How can I simulate the driving test?

Talk to friends and relatives who have taken the test and then practice the maneuvers they say you need to know. It may also help if you practice on the same roads that you are going to be driving on during the test.

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Taking the AL Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule my driving test?

You may be able to schedule your test by phone or online. Visit the Alabama DPS website to learn more.

Where do I take the driving test?

You will take the test at the nearest driver license office that offers it.

What should I bring to the driving test?

You will need to bring:

  • A vehicle to drive
  • Proof of registration and insurance for that vehicle
  • Learner’s permit (or other acceptable documents)
  • Proof of behind-the-wheel hours, if necessary

Who should bring me to the driving test?

A parent or guardian should accompany you if you are under 18 years of age.

What will I be asked to do on the driving test?

You will need to complete a series of maneuvers, which may include parking, 3-point turn, accelerating and stopping, using vehicle signals and checking mirrors. You will also be asked to drive in traffic and demonstrate good defensive driving techniques as well as thorough knowledge of the rules of the road. Before the test begins, you will need to be able to turn on and off various systems, such as the wipers, the lights and more.

What are the most common reasons new drivers fail the driving test?

Reasons for failure include nerves, speeding, not practicing enough, failure to come to a complete stop, improperly changing lanes, hitting a cone when parking, driving a vehicle that’s in poor condition and more.

What are five things should I be sure to do when taking the driving test?

  • Drive with your hands in the proper position.
  • Always check your mirrors before changing lanes.
  • Always signal when turning.
  • Stay under the speed limit.
  • Maintain a safe following distance when in traffic.

What happens if I fail the driving test?

You can retake the test. Be sure to practice the maneuver or maneuvers that led to your failure before retaking it.

How many times can I retake the driving test?

You can take one road test per day.

I’ve passed the road test, now what?

You will be immediately issued your temporary license to show that you are now a licensed Alabama driver. Your permanent license will arrive in the mail in thirty days.

What restrictions come with an AL Provisional License?

Restrictions include not being allowed to drive between midnight and 6 a.m.

What are the insurance requirements for drivers in AL?

You must have insurance to drive in Alabama and will be required to show proof of insurance before receiving your restricted or unrestricted driver’s license. More specifically, Alabama requires car owners to carry liability insurance in the following minimum amounts: $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person; $50,000 total for bodily injury or death per accident; and $25,000 for property damage.

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Renewing Your AL License: Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need to renew my license or replace a lost/stolen license?

You are allowed to renew your driver’s license 60 days before it expires. There is also a grace period of 60 days after it expires in which your license will still be considered valid. If you have lost your license, you may be able to order a replacement. Contact your local driver license office for more information.

Where can I renew my Alabama driver’s license?

You can renew your Alabama driver’s license by any of the following methods: online, by mail, or in person at your local driver license office.

Will I be required to take a vision test when renewing my license?

No, the eye test is not required when renewing your Alabama license. You will take a vision test when first getting your license and if the exam finds that you need to wear corrective lenses to improve your vision you will be required to wear them while driving.


The Alabama DMV Permit Test — What You Need to Know

So it’s finally your turn to get your Alabama learner’s license and start learning how to drive.  This is an important moment, as a permit represents both freedom and independence.  Finally, you can stop bugging friends and family for rides and get behind by the wheel.  However before you can begin exploring Alabama’s roads and highways, you’ll need to pass the permit test.  The local Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS) office is responsible for licensing all drivers in Alabama as well as administering the permit test.  This driver’s knowledge test contains multiple-choice questions that will assess your knowledge of the rules of the road, Alabama traffic laws, and road signs.

Get Ready With AL DMV Practice Permit Tests

With over 50% of students failing the test every year, it’s now more important than ever to start preparing for the test.  To help prepare you to pass the Alabama permit test and get your learners license we’ve put together some essential test prep resources.  Our Alabama practice permit test has been developed to simulate the format of the real exam while the Alabama drivers handbook makes a great reference.

Remember, the sooner you start preparing, the sooner you can start exploring the state on your own terms.  Get started now!