- 1 Introduction
- 2 What you must do
- 3 Rules of the Road
- 4 Graduated driver licensing
- 5 Class 5 Licence permits an operator to drive:
- 6 Where to exchange your licence
- 7 When to exchange your licence
- 8 Length of Validity
- 9 Cost
- 10 Medical
- 11 DVLA
- 12 Visitors
- 13 International Driving Permit (IDP)
- 14 Students
- 15 More information
Alberta has a reciprocal agreement with Great Britain dependent upon certain conditions.
- If your full GB license was issued before January 1st 1976 it cannot be exchanged for an Alberta license. You will have to retake your test according to the Alberta Driving License Program.
- If your license was issued after this date you will be able to exchange it for a full Alberta Class 5 license providing it is a UK class B or class A if issued before 1st April 1990.
- Only GB licenses can be exchanged, there is no exchange of Northern Ireland, Isle of Man or Channel Island licenses. Nor can licenses from any British overseas territory (eg Gibraltar, Bermuda etc) be exchanged.
What you must do
- Within 90 days of moving to Alberta, a person coming from the United Kingdom (excluding Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands) can exchange their driver’s license for an Alberta Class 5 driver’s license when presenting an equivalent GB license.
- In order to obtain an Alberta driver’s license you must hand over your UK licence (both parts if it is a photo card licence.)
- You must then provide proof that you:
- are lawfully entitled to be in Canada (by showing your temporary work permit, permanent residence card, or such)
- are who you say you are (your passport would be an ideal document for this purpose)
- have taken up residence in Alberta (by showing an offer to purchase a property, a residential lease agreement, a letter from an Alberta based employer, a utility bill addressed to your residence, or something of that nature).
- Here is a list of acceptable identification documents.
- The registry agent will record your hair colour, eye colour, height, weight and take your photo.
- The registry agent will collect your payment, which may be up to $64 plus 5% GST.
- The registry agent will give you an interim licence that is valid for 30 days.
- You will receive your photo card licence in the mail within a couple of weeks.
Rules of the Road
- Although a licensed British driver does not have to do a theoretical or practical driving test in order to exchange his/her UK driver's licence for an Alberta one, it's still a good idea to learn the rules of the road in Alberta.
- You can read the Basic Licence Driver's Handbook online.
- Alternatively, you can get a hard copy version of the same book for free from any Service Alberta - Registry Agent.
- For information about driving in winter, please see the BE Wiki article called Winter Driving-Canada.
Graduated driver licensing
- In May of 2003 Alberta went to a system of graduated driver licensing for all new drivers. This also affects anyone new Albertans coming to Alberta from other locations, including the United Kingdom.
- A person must prove that they have held a driver’s license for a two-year period. If such proof is not available, or if the person has not held a driver’s license for two years, then a probationary license will be issued.
- Proof consists of any document which states the original date of issue of your driver’s license and/or confirms two years previous driving experience is acceptable (i.e., the actual driver license, driver abstract).
Class 5 Licence permits an operator to drive:
- a two axle single motor vehicle, excluding a motorcycle.
- a two axle motor vehicle towing a trailer with one or more axles, if the trailer is not equipped with air brakes.
- a recreational vehicle or any combination of a recreational vehicle and a trailer, if the trailer has not more than two axles and is not equipped with air brakes.
- a moped.
- Class 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 type vehicles, for learning only.
Please note that if you had a licence that permitted you to operate a bus, large goods vehicle (LGV) or motorcycle in the UK, you will lose your authorization to operate those vehicles in Alberta, and will have to re-take the test.
Where to exchange your licence
- Can be done at any Registry Agent in Alberta.
- There are Registry Agents are in virtually every town.
- To find one close to your location go to the Service Alberta - Registry Agent search page.
When to exchange your licence
- If you are a new resident in Alberta (and that includes a person on a temporary work permit), you must obtain an Alberta driver’s licence within 90 days of moving to the province.
Length of Validity
- A driver’s licence in Alberta is valid for five years from your next birthday or until your visa expires, whichever is earlier.
- The costs for an Alberta driver’s licence can vary from registry office to registry office but cannot exceed $64 plus 5% GST for a full five year licence.
- The basic cost is $11 per year up to the five years, but there is an additional service fee that can be added - a maximum $6 on a one year license, $7 on a two year license, $8 on a three and $9 on a four or five year.
- If a medical is required in order to renew a driver’s license the license may be valid for a shorter period than five years.
- The cost of such a medical is not covered under Alberta Health Care and must be paid for by the individual.
- You do not have to notify DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in the UK) that you are exchanging your licence for an Alberta one.
- If you returned to the UK, you would get your UK licence back by applying for a duplicate licence.
- If you are a visitor in Alberta, you may drive for up to 12 months on a valid driver's licence that was issued outside of Canada.
- If your foreign licence is in English or French, it does not have to be accompanied by an International Driving Permit. There has been some debate about this on the BE forum, but the matter seems to have been settled by consultation of ALBERTA REGULATION 320/2002 Traffic Safety Act OPERATOR LICENSING AND VEHICLE CONTROL REGULATION. (See Part 1, Division 1, International licence.)
International Driving Permit (IDP)
- If your foreign driver's licence was issued in a language other than English or French, it must be accompanied by an International Driving Permit (IDP), which translates your driver's licence into several foreign languages, including English and French.
- Note that an IDP is a supplement to a standard driver's licence, and is valid only when it's accompanied by a standard driver's licence.
- You cannot exchange an IDP for an Alberta driver's licence.
- If you are visiting Alberta from outside Canada and need an IDP because your foreign driver's licence was issued in a language other than English or French, you may drive in Alberta for up to 12 months using the IDP in conjunction with your valid home jurisdiction licence.
- As long as you are in Alberta on a study permit, you are allowed to drive on a licence that is valid in your home jurisdiction.
Driver Handbooks are available in either HTML or PDF format from the link.