Alabama Drivers License Application
The most common problem faced by Alabama drivers license applicants is the abundance of information and advice on how to apply for a drivers license. First time applicants are usually swamped by the amount of information that is dropped on them - testing procedures, age requirements, graduated license rules. We will try to join all those things together in an attempt to make the process of applying for the Alabama driver license a little easier for you. The exact requirements that are presented before Alabama driver's license applicants are age dependent, so we have broken the instructions into two separate sections.
Driver License Application - Under 18 Years of Age
Due to the fact that teenage drivers have significantly higher crash rates than an average driver does, the Department of Public Safety has developed a separate licensing procedure for those who choose to apply for a drivers license before reaching the age of 18 years. This licensing procedure is known as Alabama's graduated drivers license law. Also called a law, it is a really a combination of laws and regulations that specify that every teenage drivers license applicant is to go through the multi-stage licensing process. The GDL program also mandates a number of restrictions that are places on the licensee at certain stages of the program.
Your first step towards obtaining a drivers license in Alabama start at applying for an Alabama learner's license. Also called a license, it is really more like a drivers permit, the term that is commonly used around the country. You have to be at least 15 years of age to be eligible for a learner license and you must pass a DPS permit test and go through vision screening before you are issued with a permit.
Once you got your permit, practice driving under the supervision of a licensed driver. If you are under 16 years of age, your supervising driver must be no younger than 21. If you are already 16 or older, there are no limitations as to the age of the supervising driver. Other Alabama driver permit restrictions apply at this stage, so make sure to check them out.
The permit must be held for not less than six months and the applicant must be at least 16 years of age before proceeding to the next stage. During these months, the applicant is to complete a DPS-approved Alabama drivers education course or to receive at least 30 hours of supervising driving practice from parents.
When all of the above requirements are met, you are good to apply for your first driver's license. Schedule the driving test with the DPS and should you pass, you receive your first Alabama drivers license. However, one thing to keep in mind is that this license still doesn't grant you full driving privileges. Under the law, you must observe all Alabama provisional license restrictions for at least six months. You must also be at least 17 years of age in order to be able to apply for a full unrestricted drivers license in Alabama.
Applying for Drivers License - 18 Years of Age and Older
Although all testing procedures remain the same, the good news is that you do not have to follow the GDL rules, which will save you quite a bit of time. Having said that, we must also stress the importance of learning the rules and practicing driving when it comes to applying for a drivers license. Even though the DPS does not force you into taking any special courses or programs, there is no rule that says that you cannot do so for your own benefit.
Your first step is to obtain an Alabama learners license. In order to do so, visit your local DPS office, take the written knowledge exam, the vision test and file all of the required paperwork. If you pass the tests and your paperwork checks out, you get your learners permit and can start practicing driving.
While operating under a permit, you cannot drive alone and must be supervised by someone who holds a valid Alabama drivers license. The DPS treats this restriction very seriously, if you are caught driving without a supervisor seated next to you, you will be charged with operating a vehicle without a drivers license.
There is no minimum amount of time that you need to hold the permit for before you can apply for the Alabama driver license, however we advise that you take your time and practice as much as possible before you attempt to pass the driving test at the DPS. There is no way you will pass the test just by taking a few driving lessons with a professional instructor. Of course, a professional can teach you what is being assessed and scored on the drivers license test, he can even run a mock up driving test for you, but what the examiner will look at is your familiarity with the vehicle. Trust us, it will not do you any good if the instructor catches you searching for the turn indicator or the switch to turn the windshield wipers on. Once again, take your time and get familiar with the vehicle you will be taking your driving test in.
Once you pass the road test, you are granted a full unrestricted drivers license. Note that you are not issued with a real license on the spot, it is mailed to you. The DPS will provide you with a temporary license that can be used until you receive your real Alabama drivers license in the mail.
Every first time drivers license applicant in Alabama is required to take a vision exam, a knowledge test and the driving test. Those who are transferring they out-of-state or out of country driver license may be able to avoid taking the knowledge exam or the drivers test. Check with the DPS for details.
The following minimum standards must be met by every Alabama driver license applicant:
- visual acuity 20/40 with both eyes
- peripheral vision of 110 degrees
If you do not meet these minimum standards, you are referred to an eye specialist that will need to examine your vision and write a report to the DPS. If your do not have a visual acuity of at least 20/60 or better in at least one eye, you will be denied a driver's license.
If you are wearing glasses or contact lenses regularly, you must also wear them when you take the vision test. An appropriate restriction will be placed onto your drivers license and you will need to wear glasses or contact lenses every time you drive.
Learners License Test
Taking the Alabama learners license test is one of the most feared experiences for teenage drivers, mostly due to anticipation of failure. The anticipation is born of the fact that half of the first time test takers fail. There is nothing surprising in this fact, since most of the people who failed did not spend even 10 minutes reading the drivers handbook, they thought that general knowledge of driving rules should get them through just fine. Fortunately, that is not the case and you are advised to study if you do not want to be among those who failed.
If you want to see whether you are ready to take the real exam and apply for your driver license, go ahead and take a free Alabama drivers practice test. The questions on this practice test are not identical to the ones on the real exam, but they cover the same rules, so if you do well on the practice test, there is a pretty good chance that you will pass the real one as well.
This is the ultimate test of your knowledge of the state's driving rules and your ability to control the vehicle. There is a common misconception that during the drivers license test, the examiner only checks for your ability to control the vehicle. That is not true, you knowledge of the driving rules will also be assessed, so tracking back and reviewing the drivers license manual prior to taking the road exam is a very good idea.
The drivers license test in Alabama must be per-scheduled. You can make an appointment for the test via the DPS website or by calling a local drivers license office.
The following is just a basic list of documents that you are required to produce while applying for a driver license in Alabama. The Alabama drivers license handbook contains more details about documentation requirements.
The DPS requires you to submit the following documents along with your application:
- proof of authorized presence in the US
- proof of name
- proof of birth date
- Social Security Number
If you are applying for an Alabama drivers license prior to your 18th birthday, one of your parents is required to consent to your application. The consent is granted by co-signing your application form at the DPS.