How to Get an Alaska Learner’s Permit

Young drivers in Alaska are eligible for an instruction permit upon turning 14—but the rules for applying may depend on where you live.
Written by Kathryn Kurlychek
Once you turn 14 in Alaska, you’re ready to apply for your first learner’s permit. But before you head to your local DMV in The Last Frontier, you’ll need to fill out a permit application, get a signed parental consent form, and study up for a multiple-choice knowledge exam.
  • Alaskan residents who are at least 14 years of age or older can apply for their instruction permit at a local DMV
  • However, members of Alaskan rural communities may be eligible for off-system licensing, which foregoes these traditional requirements. 
  • Instruction permits are valid for two years and come with driving restrictions for new drivers
Getting a driver’s license is an exciting milestone—but before you can get that, you’ll have to get your instruction permit first. Here’s what you should know before applying for your learner’s permit in Alaska.
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How to get an Alaska learner’s permit

To qualify for your first learner’s permit—or an instruction permit, as they’re called in Alaska—you must be at least 14 years of age. Once you’ve reached that magical birthday, you’re ready to apply!
Start by getting your hands on a copy of a
Permit Application (Form D1)
, as well as a copy of
Form 433
, which is a parental consent form. You’ll need some identifying documents as well, which we’ll get to below.
Once you’ve filled those two applications out (with parental supervision, of course), you’ll want to brush up on your knowledge of Alaska’s road rules—as you’ll be tested on them before receiving your permit. 
A knowledge test is a pretty standard permit requirement in most states. In Alaska, the test consists of 20 multiple-choice questions, and you’ll need to get at least 16 of them right to pass. The good news is, you can practice online prior to the exam using the state’s official
practice test
, which can be found on the Alaska DMV’s website.
Once you’ve filled out the right forms and studied up on road signs and laws, you’re ready to hit the DMV, where you can apply for your instruction permit in person. 

How to get an Alaska off-highway license

The Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offers additional services for members of certain Alaskan rural communities. There are a number of communities across the state that remain separated from Alaska’s connecting road systems. Many “off-highway” communities often lack access to DMV services—which is why the usual rules for getting a license don’t apply. 
If you’re a member of an Alaskan rural community that:
  • Does not have land-connected road access
  • Does not have a local DMV location, business partner, or commissioned agent
  • Has not been visited by a DMV business partner or commissioned agent in the past 12 months
Then your community likely qualifies for off-system licensing. In that case, you may forego the traditional application process and instead apply for your off-highway license via mail. You won’t need an instruction permit in this case—but you can still get one if you want to (you’ll just have to complete all the necessary steps listed in the section above).  

What to bring to the DMV

Before you hit the DMV, make sure you have a copy of your completed permit application and parental consent form. You’ll also need your parent or guardian to bring along proof of parentship either in the form of your birth certificate, adoption documents, or guardianship documents. 
You’ll also need to round up the following documents: 
  • One for proof of your legal name, date of birth, and citizenship (e.g. your birth certificate, a valid US passport, a valid foreign passport, Alaska state ID card, etc.)
  • One for proof of residency (e.g. utility bill, paycheck stub, etc.)
Make sure you also bring your social security card along for the ride (or at least know the number). If you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to be able to provide the necessary documentation from the Social Security Administration that says so.
Once you arrive at your local DMV, you’ll have to present all the necessary documents and pay a $15 fee in exchange for your instruction permit. You’ll also have to pass your knowledge test along with a vision test to ensure you meet the state’s requirements for safe driving. 

Alaska learner’s permit regulations

Congratulations—you’ve now got your Alaska instruction permit and successfully completed the first step toward receiving your unrestricted driver’s license! But in the meantime, you’ll have to abide by certain rules and restrictions while driving. 
Most notably, permit holders must be accompanied by a licensed driver at least 21 years of age or older who has at least one year of driving experience in the type of vehicle you’re driving. Whether you choose to have a parent, guardian, or older sibling accompany you as you practice your driving skills, make sure that person is seated in the passenger seat at all times. 
Violating these restrictions could jeopardize your ability to apply for your unrestricted license down the road—so make sure to follow them to the letter!
You’ll need to hold your instruction permit for at least six months before you can apply for your provisional license, which is the next step in the process of obtaining your first Alaska driver’s license. But it’s okay if you wait a little longer—your Alaska instruction permit is technically valid for two years from the date it is issued and can be renewed one time. 
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