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Alberta Newcomers – Driving in Alberta

If you prefer to drive, you will need to have a valid driver’s licence before you can get behind the wheel of a car in Alberta.

Getting an Alberta driver’s licence

If you have a valid driver’s licence from within Canada or any country with a reciprocal licensing agreement (see list of countries below), you have 90 days from your date of arrival in Alberta to exchange your existing licence for an Alberta driver’s licence.

The best thing to do is to go to an Alberta registry to get the process started. You can search for a registry agent here.

To obtain an Alberta driver’s licence, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age. (If you are under 18 years of age, consent for a minor, or proof of self-sufficiency or marriage is required)
  • Have proof that you are now a legal resident in Alberta. The document must have your full name and current Alberta address on it. You can bring a utility bill (telephone, heat, gas or cable), a bank or credit card statement, or written confirmation of employment in Alberta
    • Have your current valid driver’s licence and one piece of identification such as:
      • Valid Canadian passport
  • NEXUS card
  • Canadian Provincial/Territorial Government issued birth certificate
  • Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS) Card (Federal issued)
  • Canadian Citizenship Certificate (issued after February 2012) or Canadian Citizenship Card (issued prior to February 2012)
  • Pass a vision screening test
  • Disclose all medical conditions or physical disabilities that may affect their ability to safely drive a motor vehicle. If you are 75 or over, or have a medical condition that affects your ability to drive, you will be asked to submit a medical report
  • Meet all requirements for the class of licence you are applying for

Alberta has a Graduated Driver Licensing Program (GDL) to ensure that all drivers have the proper support, skills and experience they need to navigate Alberta’s roads. There are seven licence classes. Most Alberta drivers have their Class 5 licence. If you have less than two years of driving experience, you will be required to enter the GDL program, which includes training and road testing.

Countries with a Reciprocal Licensing Agreement

To make it easier for individuals who are lawfully entitled to be in Alberta to obtain a driver’s license, Alberta has a reciprocal licensing agreement with all Canadian jurisdictions and territories, and these countries:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • England
  • France
  • Germany
  • Isle of Man
  • Japan
  • Northern Ireland
  • Republic of Korea
  • Scotland
  • Switzerland
  • United States
  • Wales

If you have moved to Alberta from one of the following countries, you can exchange your valid driver’s licence for an Alberta Class 5 licence without the need for additional training.

Note that it is the law in Alberta that you must surrender your foreign driver’s licence when you obtain any class of Alberta driver’s licence. It is illegal to hold another driver’s licence and an Alberta driver’s licence at the same time.

Owning a car in Alberta or Canada

It is illegal to drive anywhere in Canada without car insurance. If you own a car, you must get insurance coverage for it.

There are different types of car insurance plans available. Some plans cover only the costs of damages and injury to others if you are at fault in an accident. Other plans also cover injuries to yourself and damage to your car.

The cost of car insurance depends on the insurance plan you choose and:

  • your age
  • your years of driving experience
  • your driving record
  • the age and type of car you are insuring

If you are bringing a vehicle from another province or country, you will need to get your car inspected and registered. Getting your car inspected and registered falls within the same 90-day period you have to get your Alberta driver’s licence.

Staying safe on the roads means understanding the rules and being a courteous driver. Ensure that you are qualified and comfortable driving in Alberta, and you can safely travel many miles while you discover your beautiful new home province.

Alberta Newcomers – Driving in Alberta

In Alberta, there are many ways to get around. You can use public transportation such as buses, trains or taxicabs.