How to Get an Alabama Learner’s Permit

Under Alabama law, you are eligible for a learner’s permit when you turn 15. Here’s what you need to know before you go to your local Alabama DPS.
Written by Natalie Todoroff
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
When you turn 15 in Alabama, you’re eligible to apply for your learner’s permit. Before you apply, you must either complete 50 hours of behind-the-wheel training with a parent or guardian or complete a State Department of Education-approved driver’s education course.
Like many other states, Alabama utilizes a Graduated Driver’s License program. Meaning, you first get your learner’s permit, then a restricted license, and then you’ll be on your way to riding solo. So, if you’re wondering where to begin and what you need to receive your Alabama learner’s permit, check out our guide below. 
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How to get an Alabama learner’s permit

To get your learner’s license—Alabama’s version of a  learner’s permit or Stage I license—you must be
at least 15 years old
. But, just because the clock strikes twelve on your birthday and you’re one year older doesn’t mean that you can roll up to your local Department of Public Safety (DPS, Alabama’s term for the DMV) and walk out with a license. 
Alabama is one of those states that does not require that new drivers take a driver’s education course in order to obtain their learner’s permits. You’ve got two options: log 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice with a parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or certified driving instructor, or you can complete a State Department of Education-approved driver’s ed course
If you go for the first option, you should know that DPS won’t just take your word for it when it comes to your driving hours. You’ll need your parent, guardian, grandparent, or driving instructor to fill out and sign
Form DL-31
, an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency-approved form.
If you decide that a classroom setting is more of your vibe, you can take a course instead. But, before you sign up for one, just double-check and make sure it’s an approved course. Typically, they’re divided into two segments: thirty hours of classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel practice. 
While there is no set hour requirement for the behind-the-wheel segment, it’s recommended that students clock in at least six hours. Instead of Form DL-31, you’ll need a
certificate of completion
signed by your instructor. 
Regardless of which route you take, be sure to study up on the
Alabama Driver's Handbook
, as it’s full of information that will show up in the written exam. 
Once you’ve got either form signed, it’s time to head down to your local branch of the Alabama DPS. 

What to bring to DPS

Make sure to
schedule an appointment
at least 48 hours in advance of when you plan your visit, and bring the following documents with you:
  • Original birth certificate 
  • Social Security card 
  • Form DL-93
    , which confirms enrollment in school, a GED program, or a job training school 
  • Form DL-31 or certificate of completion of your driver’s education course 
Additionally, you will need a total of $41.25. This includes $5 for the testing fee and an additional $36.25 to purchase your license. Cash is the best method to pay, as credit cards are subject to a 4% convenience fee—and checks are not accepted. 
From there, you must pass a vision and a written test. For the vision test, you must have at least 20/40 vision in both eyes. And, for the written exam, you must answer at least 24 of the 30 multiple-choice questions correctly. This is where time spent studying the Alabama Driver’s Handbook will come in handy! 
MORE: How education level affects car insurance

Alabama learner’s permit restrictions

When you pass your written and vision exams, you’ll be issued your learner's license. To get technical about it, you’ll be issued a driver's license with a “class Y” restriction, which means:
  • You can only drive with a parent, legal guardian, 21-year-old with a valid license, or certified driving instructor with you in the front seat
  • You may not use any wireless communication devices under any circumstances while driving
The next step would be to earn your
Stage II restricted license
. In order to do so, you must:
  • Be at least 16 years old or older
  • Pass a road test
  • Have your permit for at least six months or turn 18, whichever comes first
  • Have no driving violations 
  • Log 30 hours of practice behind the wheel 
With a restricted license, you’ll still need to obey a couple of rules. You cannot drive with more than one passenger in the vehicle except for parents, legal guardians, or family members. 
And it’s not just who you drive, it’s also a matter of when. With a restricted Stage II license, you cannot drive between the hours of midnight and 6 am unless it’s in one of the following circumstances: 
  • Driving to or from school, work, or a religious organization 
  • Driving because of an emergency 
  • You are with a parent, legal guardian, or licensed driver at least 21 years old
Once you turn 17 and you’ve held your restricted license for a minimum of six months, you’re eligible for an adult Stage II unrestricted license. 
MORE: How to get cheap car insurance for young drivers
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