Temporary residents

Students, visitors, Canadians working temporarily from another province, and temporary foreign workers under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program cannot get a driver's licence because they do not live in Alberta permanently. However, they may be able to continue using a driver’s licence from their home province or country.

Visitors from another jurisdiction

Visitors from another jurisdiction can drive the same type or Class (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7) of motor vehicle in Alberta on a valid driver’s licence from their home jurisdiction for up to one year. If your licence is not in English, it is strongly recommended that you carry an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) from your home jurisdiction, as it translates what your home jurisdiction driver’s licence allows you to drive. You must carry both the IDP and your valid licence from your home jurisdiction when driving in Alberta.

Canadians from another province

Canadians working temporarily in Alberta can drive using your provincial driver’s licence if you continue to live in your home province for more than 6 months each year.

Students

Students can continue using your licence from your home province or territory if you are:

  • studying in Alberta at an accredited educational institution, or
  • working as part of a co-op program of study

Members of the armed forces

If you are a member of the armed forces, you are not required to obtain an Alberta driver’s licence when you have a valid driver’s licence issued by your home province, state or country and are driving your privately-owned vehicle. This applies to members of Her Majesty’s forces and members of armed forces of a country other than Canada who are in Canada under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement.

If your driver’s licence issued from your home province, state or country has expired, in order to legally drive a privately-owned vehicle in Alberta, you must:

  • renew your home province, state or country driver’s licence, or
  • apply for an Alberta driver’s licence

Members of the armed forces of a country other than Canada cannot exchange an armed forces driver’s licence or permit for an Alberta driver’s licence of an equivalent class. You must exchange a valid driver’s licence from your home state or country.

Family members accompanying an armed forces member must exchange their home province, state or country driver’s licence within 90 days of taking up residency in Alberta.

Temporary foreign workers under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP)

Temporary foreign workers brought into Alberta under the SAWP to meet labour needs during peak periods are not required to obtain an Alberta driver's licence or identification card. These workers are not classed as Alberta residents.

Exchange a licence

Exchange a licence from another province

To exchange your driver’s licence from another jurisdiction in Alberta, you must surrender it to an Alberta registry agent. Once your licence is surrendered, it will not be returned to you.

If you are living in Alberta permanently, you must exchange your current driver’s licence within 90 days of becoming a resident. This applies even if you travel outside Alberta during those 90 days.

To exchange a licence, you must:

  • exchange your current driver's licence for an Alberta driver’s licence within 90 days of moving to the province
    • This applies even if you travel outside Alberta during those 90 days.
  • surrender your valid provincial or territorial driver’s licence to a registry agent, including professional class licences
  • surrender any other driver’s licences that may be in your possession, including those that have expired
    • The Operator Licensing and Vehicle Control Regulation of the Traffic Safety Act requires that people surrender any and all out-of-Alberta issued driver’s licences prior to being issued an Alberta licence.
  • provide proof of residence in Alberta
  • provide proof that you have a legal status in Canada

If you have a Class 3, 4, 5 or 6 licence you’ll be given an Alberta’s driver’s licence equal to the class of licence you are exchanging. If you have not held the Class 5 (standard driver's licence) or Class 6 (motorcycle) licence for a minimum of 2 years, you may be placed into the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program.

You do not need to do a knowledge test or road test. If you do not have 2 years of driving experience and are placed in the GDL program, you can reduce your probation period by up to 6 months by completing a Class 5 or Class 6 driver training program from a driver training school licensed by Transportation and Economic Corridors, provided you meet all other eligibility requirements. For more information on eligibility to exit the GDL program, visit Changes to driver licensing system.

Class 1 (truck) licences from outside of Alberta may not be exchangeable, depending on when and where you got your licence.

If you transfer your Class 1 driver’s licence from another Canadian jurisdiction to Alberta, you will be subject to Alberta's new commercial driver training policies. For more information, visit Mandatory Entry-Level Training for Class 1 driver’s licences.

Exchange a licence from another jurisdiction with a reciprocal licence exchange agreement

If you are exchanging a valid driver’s licence from one of the jurisdictions in the list below, you can get your Alberta licence without taking a knowledge or road test:

  • Australia (Class 5 and 6)
  • Austria (Class 5)
  • Belgium (Class 5)
  • France (Class 5)
  • Germany (Class 5)
  • Isle of Man (Class 5 and 6)
  • Japan (Class 5)
  • Netherlands (Class 5)
  • Republic of Ireland (Class 5 and 6)
  • Republic of Korea (Class 5)
  • Switzerland (Class 5 and 6)
  • Taiwan (Class 5)
  • United Kingdom (Northern Ireland – Class 5 and 6)
  • United Kingdom (England, Scotland and Wales – Class 5)

To exchange your licence for an Alberta driver’s licence, you must:

  • surrender your valid licence that is equivalent or higher than an Alberta Class 5 or 6 licence to a registry agent
  • surrender any other licences that may be in your possession, including those that have expired
    • The Operator Licensing and Vehicle Control Regulation of the Traffic Safety Act requires that people surrender any and all out-of-Alberta issued driver’s licences prior to being issued an Alberta licence.
  • provide proof of 2 or more years of driving experience, if you want to be issued a full Class 5 licence
  • provide proof of residence in Alberta
  • provide proof of legal status in Canada

You will be given a Class 5 or 6 driver’s licence based on the exchange agreement (not all jurisdictions allow the exchange of a Class 6 motorcycle licence).

Exchange a licence from the United States

Licence holders from the United States, can exchange their class 5, 6 or 7 without additional testing requirements. Any class of licence other than those in the class 5, 6 and 7, must complete all testing requirements.

Exchange a licence from Ukraine

Licence holders from Ukraine can exchange their class B or BE driver’s licence without additional testing requirements. Any class of licence other than those in the class B and BE, must complete all testing requirements.

Exchange a licence with a jurisdiction that does not have a reciprocal licence exchange agreement

To exchange a licence from a jurisdiction that does not have an agreement, you will need to pass a knowledge test, surrender a valid driver’s licence and pass a road test.

To exchange your licence for an Alberta driver’s licence you must:

  • attend a registry office and take a Class 7 knowledge test
  • surrender all valid and expired licences in your possession
    • The Operator Licensing and Vehicle Control Regulation of the Traffic Safety Act requires that people surrender any and all out-of-Alberta issued licences prior to being issued an Alberta licence.
  • provide proof of residence in Alberta
  • provide proof of legal status in Canada

Upon successful completion of the knowledge test, you will be issued a Class 7 licence. The registry agent will check to see if you can apply for the GDL Exemption Program and will give you an application to complete. Your licence, application for GDL exemption and support documents will be sent to the Service Alberta Special Investigations Unit (SIU) for review.

While the SIU is reviewing your file, you will be able to drive with a Class 7 licence under the supervision of a driver who is 18 years of age and holds a full Class 5 (or higher class) driver’s licence.

Visit a registry office after 10 business days from the date you applied. The registry agent will confirm if your application has been accepted, and if eligible, book a road test to obtain a Class 5 licence. If you are not eligible for the GDL exemption program, you must continue to meet the requirements of the Class 7 licence until you are eligible to get a Class 5 licence. More information about the Class 7 licence is available at Get a Class 7 learner's licence.

If you are eligible to get a Class 5 Alberta driver’s licence

  • You must complete a Class 5 road test. After you pass the test, you can apply for a Class 5 licence.
  • If the driver’s licence(s) you surrendered can prove you have 2 years of driving experience or more, you will be issued a full Class 5 licence.
  • If you have fewer than 24 months driving experience, you will be issued a Class 5 GDL licence. You can reduce your probation period by up to 6 months by completing an approved driver training course, providing you meet all other eligibility requirements. For more information on when you will be eligible to exit the GDL program, visit Changes to driver licensing system.

GDL Exemption Program

The GDL program is a 3-stage program designed to help new drivers in Alberta, regardless of age, acquire the knowledge and skills needed to safely operate a motor vehicle. For more information on the GDL program, visit Changes to driver licensing system.

The GDL Exemption Program was developed to reduce red tape while ensuring traffic safety as it gives new drivers in Alberta that have a genuine driver’s licence from outside of Canada access to a road test without needing to wait as a learner (Class 7 driver) for one year or as a Class 5 GDL driver for a full 2 years, depending upon years of experience credited.

If you are coming to Alberta from another jurisdiction that does not have a reciprocal licensing agreement with Alberta, you may apply to have your previous driving history credited. If accepted, you will be exempted from part or all of the graduated licensing program, depending on your years of experience. This exemption gives you access to a road test without needing to have a Class 7 licence for one year or a Class 5 GDL for a full 2 years.

Before you apply

Read the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Exemption User Guide carefully for detailed instructions on application requirements.

Step 1. Gather your documents

Check the ‘Minimum Acceptance Standards’ section of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Exemption User Guide. If you are from one of the jurisdictions listed in this section, you will need more proof of your driving history. It is recommended that you do not apply for GDL exemption until verification requirements have been met.

Step 2. Fill out the GDL exemption application form and submit your documents

Attend a registry office to complete the form, or download the Application for Graduated Driver Licensing Exemption and the checklist,  and submit the completed form to a registry office.

Instructions and tips for completing the GDL exemption application form:

  • Read the instructions in bold to make sure you complete the GDL exemption application properly.
  • Carefully read each of the declarations on the form, then initial.
  • Sign, date and write the time you completed the application
  • Download the Application for Graduated Driver Licensing Exemption – Checklist to make sure your application is complete.
  • Submit only original documents, not photocopies or faxes.
  • All documents must be submitted in English, or must include a written translation of all documents not in English from an Approved Document Translator.
  • If you have an International Driver’s Permit from an out-of-country jurisdiction, you must surrender it along with your out-of-country driver’s licence.
  • All licences and documents for the GDL exemption program are sent to the SIU for validation.
  • The documents and driver’s licence will not be returned, and copies will not be provided.

Step 3: Visit a registry office

Visit a registry office after 10 business days from the date you applied. The registry agent will confirm if your application has been accepted.

If your application is turned down, the registry agent will explain why, and if there are any extra requirements needed by the SIU.

International Driving Permit

When used with your Canadian driver’s licence, an International Driving Permit (IDP) will allow you to drive in the other countries outlined in the permit. It includes a photo and a multilingual translation of your Canadian driver’s licence.

If you are driving in Alberta with your foreign driver’s licence, it is strongly recommended that you obtain an IDP from your home jurisdiction before coming to Alberta.

How to apply

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is the only organization in Canada authorized to issue an International Driving Permit.

  • To apply for an IDP in Alberta, visit the AMA in Alberta, the CAA website or your local CAA club.
  • To apply for an IDP in another country, please contact the licensing authority there for more information.

Contact

Connect with Motor Vehicles:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-7013
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]