Students, visitors and temporary foreign workers can't get a driver's licence because they don't 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 country
If you are visiting Alberta with a valid driver’s licence (equal to or higher than a Class 5) from your home country, 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 country. You must carry both the International Driver’s Permit and your valid licence from your home country 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
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’re 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
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 don’t need to do a knowledge test. You don't 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.
Exchange a licence from another country with a reciprocal licence exchange agreement
If you’re exchanging a valid driver’s licence from one of the countries in the list below, you can get your Alberta licence without taking a knowledge or road test:
- Australia (Class 5 & 6)
- Austria (Class 5)
- Belgium (Class 5)
- France (Class 5)
- Germany (Class 5)
- Isle of Man (Class 5 & 6)
- Japan (Class 5)
- Republic of Korea (Class 5)
- Switzerland (Class 5 & 6)
- Taiwan(Class 5)
- United Kingdom (Northern Ireland - Class 5 & 6)
- United Kingdom (England, Scotland & Wales - Class 5)
- United States (Class 5, 6 & 7)
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
- prove more than 2 years of driving experience
- learner licences (Class 7)cannot be exchanged
You’ll be given a Class 5 or 6 driver’s licence based on the exchange agreement (not all countries allow the exchange of a motorcycle licence-Class 6).
Exchange a licence with a country that doesn’t have a reciprocal licence exchange agreement
To exchange a licence from a country that doesn’t have an agreement, you’ll need to pass knowledge and road tests.
Step 1. Exchange your driver's licence
Visit a registry agent 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 Graduated Driver’s Licence (GDL) exemption program and will give you an application to complete.
Step 2. Pass a Class 7 knowledge test
Go to a registry agent and take a knowledge test.
Your licence, application for GDL exemption and support documents will be sent to the Alberta Government 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 that you have more than 2 years of driving experience, you’ll need to pass an advanced road test
- if you cannot prove more than 2 years driving experience, you’ll need to pass a road test to get a Class 5 GDL licence
- once you have more than 2 years driving experience, you’ll need to pass an advanced road test to get a full Class 5 driver's licence
Graduated driver's licence exemption program
Drivers coming to Alberta from another country may apply to have your previous driving history credited. If accepted, you'll be exempted from part or all of the graduated licencing program (GDL), depending on your years of experience. This exemption gives you access to a road test without needing to have a class 7 licence for 1 year.
Before you apply
If you’re from one of the countries in the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Exemption Program User Guide (0.5 MB), listed in the 'Minimum Acceptance Standards' section, you’ll need more proof of your driving history.
You won’t 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 (0.5 MB) for documents you’ll need to provide from your country.
Step 2. Fill out the form and submit your documents
Complete a GDL exemption form at a registry agent and submit your documents.
- Submit only original documents, not photocopies or faxes. Provide a written translation of all driver's licences and documents that are not in English from an Approved Document Translator (0.1 MB).
- If you have an official International Driver's Permit from your home country, it must also be handed over.
- Provide additional documents to support the driver’s licence and driving history if your licence can’t be validated.
- All licences and documents for GDL program exemption are sent to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) for validation.
- The documents and/or driver’s licence won’t be returned
After you apply
Visit a registry office after 10 or more 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 Special Investigations Unit (SIU)
International driving permit (IDP)
When used with your Canadian driver’s licence, an International Driving Permit 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 country 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 licencing authority there for more information.