Alabama DMV Handbook and Regulations FAQ

If you’re preparing to apply for your Alabama driver’s license, then you should already have a copy of the Alabama Driver’s Handbook. All of the information covered by your written knowledge test will be contained within, so make sure you read it cover to cover and study with a solid practice test to help you anticipate what you can expect from the test itself. You may also wish to peruse the following FAQ for a preview of what you can expect from the process of dealing with the DMV.
Hold old do I need to be before I’m eligible to apply for my Alabama learner’s permit?
In Alabama, you need to be a minimum of 15 years old before you can apply for and obtain your learner’s permit.
What documents will I need to bring with me to the DMV when I apply?
In Alabama, you will need to bring state-accepted proof of your date of birth, identity, address, and social security number. To prove your identity, make sure you bring at least one of the following:
  • Valid U.S. passport
  • Certified copy of your birth certificate
  • Certificate of U.S. citizenship
  • Valid permanent resident card
  • Consular report of birth abroad
  • Valid employment authorization document
To prove your social security number, bring at least one of the following:
  • Social security card
  • W-2 tax form
  • Medicare or Medicaid card
  • Certified letter from the Social Security Administration that states your name and social security number
To prove your address, you will need at least two of the following:
  • Current voter registration card
  • Utility bill less than 90 days old
  • Proof of property tax payment
  • School enrollment papers
  • Social security benefits statement
Do I need to bring anyone else with me when I arrive to apply for my Alabama license?
If you’re not taking public transportation, then you can arrive at the DMV with any licensed driver that is at least 21 years of age or older. Underage drivers usually choose a parent or guardian just in case they need help with documentation.
Will I need to get a physical before I can drive in Alabama?
No. Some states require applicants to take and pass a physical, but Alabama isn’t one of them. However, you should bear in mind that people with mental or physical conditions that could impair their ability to drive safely may be deemed unfit to drive by an examining officer. Also, everyone will be required to take a vision exam and receive a passing score. Make sure you are wearing any corrective lenses you require when you arrive to apply.
Are there any requirements as to how I can dress, fix my make-up, or wear my hair for my driver’s license photo?
There are no official requirements as to how you are allowed to look for your driver’s license photo. However, you’re generally advised to wear your hair and make-up the way you’d wear it on an average day. The whole point is to be able to recognize you from your driver’s license photo. Be prepared to look straight into the camera and keep a straight face as well.
What happens next after I apply for my Alabama driver’s license?
Once you’ve successfully obtained your learner’s permit, it’s time to start learning how to drive on a practical level. If you are under 18, you will need to acquire at least 30 hours of supervised behind the wheel driving practice before you can schedule your road test. You are also required to hold your permit for at least 6 months before taking your road test. If you are 18 years of age or older, you are free to take your road test whenever you feel ready. You don’t need to worry about holding your permit for a certain length of time or completing a set number of practice hours.
What are my options for renewing my license in Alabama?
In Alabama, you can renew your license in person, by mail, or online. However, it’s important to note that you may not be eligible to renew by mail or online if it’s been a while since you last renewed in person. Among other things, the DMV will need to take a new photo of you periodically. You can apply to renew your license up to 60 days before your expiration date, as well as up to 3 years after it expires without the need to retake any of the associated tests. You will receive a renewal notice in the mail a couple of months before your license expires. The notice will tell you which of the above renewal options you are eligible for at that time.
I’m new to Alabama. How long do I have to transfer my out-of-state license?
If you’ve only recently moved to Alabama (or are planning on doing so in the near future), you have 30 days to have your existing license transferred. The process of doing so has much in common with the process of applying for a new Alabama license. You will need to bring and show all of the necessary documentation. You will also be required to surrender your out-of-state license, as well as take a vision exam. If your out-of-state license has been expired longer than one year, you will need to retake your driving test.
Who isn’t eligible for an Alabama driver’s license?
If you are a teenaged driver that has not successfully completed all stages of the Alabama GDL program, you are not eligible for a license. The same goes for those younger than 19 that cannot prove they’re enrolled in school, have graduated, or have completed a state-recognized GED program. You may also be denied Alabama driver’s privileges if you are deemed unfit to drive for any reason. Possible reasons may include being deemed a habitual drug or alcohol abuser by a court of law. Some people with certain physical or mental disabilities may also be deemed unfit to drive. (Only the Director of Public Safety or a licensing examiner can make that call.)
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