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Students, visitors, Canadians working temporarily from another province, and temporary foreign workers under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program can't 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
If you are visiting Alberta with a valid driver’s licence (equal to or higher than a Class 5) from your home jurisdiction, you may drive a standard passenger vehicle in Alberta for up to 1 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. 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 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 from another province
If you are living in Alberta permanently, 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
- hand in your valid provincial or territorial driver’s licence to a registry agent, including professional class licences
- provide proof that you live in Alberta
- provide proof of residence 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 two years, you may be placed into the graduated drivers licence (GDL) program.
You do not need to do a knowledge test. You do not need to do a road test unless you are placed in the GDL program and want to exit the program after you have gained 2 years of experience. At that time, you will need to pass an advanced road test.
Class 1 (truck) and Class 2 (bus) licences from outside of Alberta may not be exchangeable, depending on when and where you got your licence.
If you transfer your Class 1 or Class 2 driver’s licence from another Canadian jurisdiction to Alberta after March 1, 2019, you will be subject to Alberta's new commercial driver training policies. For more information, visit Mandatory Entry-Level Training for Class 1 and 2 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:
- hand in your valid licence that is equivalent or higher than an Alberta Class 5 or 6 licence to a registry agent
- provide proof of 2 or more years of driving experience, if you want to be issued a full Class 5 licence
- provide proof that you live in Alberta
- provide proof of residence in Canada
You’ll be given a Class 5 or 6 driver’s licence based on the exchange agreement (not all jurisdictions allow the exchange of a motorcycle licence-Class 6).
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 with a jurisdiction that doesn’t have a reciprocal licence exchange agreement
To exchange a licence from a jurisdiction that doesn’t have an agreement, you’ll need to pass a knowledge and road test.
Step 1. Pass a Class 7 knowledge test
Visit a registry agent and take a knowledge test.
Step 2. Exchange your driver's licence
Visit a registry agent and hand in your valid driver’s licence that is equivalent or higher to an Alberta Class 5 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.
Step 3. Get a full Class 5 licence
There are 2 ways you can get a full Class 5 licence:
- if you can prove you have more than 2 years of driving experience, you can challenge an advanced road test. After you pass the test, you can apply for a full Class 5 licence.
- if you have less than 2 years driving experience, you will need to pass a basic road test to get a Class 5 GDL licence.
- You can challenge the Class 5 advanced road test once you have been a GDL driver for 2 years without any driving prohibitions
Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Exemption program
If you are coming to Alberta from another jurisdiction, 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
If you are from one of the jurisdictions in the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Exemption Program User Guide listed in the 'Minimum Acceptance Standards' section, you will need more proof of your driving history.
You will not be able to apply for GDL exemption until verification requirements have been met.
Read the 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 Program User Guide for documents you will need to provide from your country.
Step 2. Fill out the GDL Exemption Application form and submit your documents
Visit a registry agent to complete the form, or download the Application for Graduated Driver Licensing Exemption (PDF, 63 KB) and the checklist (PDF, 60 KB), 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 (PDF, 60 KB) 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.
After you apply
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 (IDP)
When used with your Canadian driver’s licence, an 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 drivers 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.
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