How to exchange another driver’s licence for an Alberta licence, and how to get an international driving permit.
Exchanging a licence from another province
If you’re living in Alberta permanently, you must:
- exchange your current driver's licence for an Alberta driver’s licence within 90 days of moving to the province
- this applies even if you travel outside Alberta during those 90 days
- hand in your valid provincial or territorial driver’s licence to a registry agent, including professional class licences
You’ll be given an Alberta’s driver’s licence equal to the class of licence you are exchanging. If you have not held the class 5 or 6 licence for a minimum of two years, you may be placed into the graduated drivers licence (GDL) program.
You don’t need to do a knowledge test. You don't need to do a road test unless you are placed in the GDL program and want to exit the program after you have gained two years experience. At that time, you will need to pass an advanced road test.
Exchanging a licence from another country
Countries with a reciprocal licence exchange agreement
If you’re exchanging a valid driver’s licence from one of the countries in the list below, you can get your Alberta licence without taking a knowledge or road test:
- Australia (Class 5 & 6)
- Austria (Class 5)
- Belgium (Class 5)
- France (Class 5)
- Germany (Class 5)
- Isle of Man (Class 5 & 6)
- Japan (Class 5)
- Northern Ireland (Class 5 & 6)
- Republic of Korea (Class 5)
- Switzerland (Class 5 & 6)
- Taiwan(Class 5)
- United Kingdom (Class 5)
- United States (Class 5, 6 & 7)
To exchange your licence for an Alberta driver’s licence, you must:
- hand in your valid licence that is equivalent or higher than an Alberta Class 5, 6 or 56 licence to a registry agent
- prove more than 2 years of driving experience
- learner licences cannot be exchanged
You’ll be given a Class 5, 6 or 56 driver’s licence based on the exchange agreement (not all countries allow the exchange of a motorcycle licence-Class 6).
Countries that don’t have a reciprocal licence exchange agreement
To exchange a licence from a country that doesn’t have an agreement, you’ll need to pass knowledge and road tests.
How to apply
- visit a Registry Agent office
- hand in your valid driver’s licence that is equivalent or higher to an Alberta Class 5 licence
- check to see if you can apply for the Graduated Driver’s Licence (GDL) exemption program and complete an application
- pass a Class 7 knowledge test and get a Class 7 driver's licence
Your licence, application for GDL exemption and support documents will be sent to the Alberta Government for review.
For a full Class 5 licence:
- if you can prove that you have more than 2 years of driving experience, you’ll need to pass an advanced road test
- if you cannot prove more than 2 years driving experience, you’ll need to pass a road test to get a Class 5 GDL licence
- once you have more than 2 years driving experience, you’ll need to pass an advanced road test to get a full Class 5 driver's licence
Graduated driver's licence exemption program
Drivers coming to Alberta from another country with have 2 or more years of driving experience may apply to have your previous driving history credited. If accepted, you’ll be exempted from the Graduated Driver Licensing program (GDL). You would be able to take the road test without needing to have a Class 7 licence for 1 year. A registry agent can give you more details about the exemption program and what you’ll need to provide.
How to apply
- Submit only original documents, not photocopies or faxes and provide a written translation of all driver's licences and documents that are not in English from an Approved Document Translators (PDF)
- if you have an official International Driver's Permit from your home country, it must also be handed over
- complete a GDL exemption form
- provide additional documents to support the driver’s licence and driving history if your licence can’t be validated
- all licences and documents for GDL program exemption are sent to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) for validation
- the documents and/or driver’s licence won’t be returned
If you don’t have proof of previous driving experience, you may still be able to apply.
Drivers younger than age 25 may be exempted from the minimum 1-year Class 7 wait requirement and apply for a Class 5 GDL licence if you:
- pass a knowledge test
- pass a basic road test
Drivers age 25 and older need to:
complete a government-certified driver education course
- sign a declaration stating you have at least 2 years of driving experience
- pass a knowledge test
- pass an advanced road test
Before you apply
If you’re from 1 of the countries below you’ll need more proof of your driving history. Read the Minimum Acceptance Standards section in the User Guide: Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Exemption Program (PDF, 37 pages).
You won’t be able to apply for GDL exemption until verification requirements have been met.
Countries that require secondary verification include:
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Trinidad & Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- U.S. Virgin Islands
Countries that don’t have a specific GDL exemption, but may have delays in processing include:
- Somalia and Somaliland
- South Sudan
After you apply
- visit a registry office after 10 or more business days from the date you applied
- the registry agent will confirm if your application has been accepted
- if your application is turned down, the registry agent will explain why, and if there are any extra requirements needed by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU)
International driving permit (IDP)
When used with your Canadian driver’s licence, an International Driving Permit will allow you to drive in the other countries outlined in the permit. It includes a photo and a multilingual translation of your Canadian driver’s licence.
If you are driving in Alberta with your foreign drivers licence, it is strongly recommended that you obtain an IDP from your home country before coming to Alberta.
How to apply
The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is the only organization in Canada authorized to issue an International Driving Permit.
To apply for an IDP in another country, please contact the licencing authority there for more information.
In this section
780-427-7013, toll free dial 310-0000 first in Alberta
8:15 am - 4:30 pm, Mon - Fri. Closed statutory holidays.
If you’re living in Alberta as a temporary resident, see visitors, students and temporary residents.