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Alabama
Welcome to our Online Guide for the Alabama DMV, otherwise known as the AL Department of Motor Vehicles.  Here, you will find tons of helpful information about the Alabama DMV.  To get started, please choose an option from our menu now or read below for our Alabama frequently asked questions.  

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Alabama DMV Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to GoDMV.com’s Alabama DMV Information Guide.  From this page you can choose from our menu of Alabama online driver services or learn about a specific topic related to Alabama driving. 

Our Alabama DMV Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) contain the following sections:

  • Alabama driver license information
  • Alabama vehicle registration
  • Alabama vehicle title issues
Choose from the menu now or read below for our Alabama Driver Frequently Asked Questions.

The DMV, or “Department of Motor Vehicles,” is often the generic term used for the agency that enforced driver license laws in a State.  The agency responsible for administering driver license laws in Alabama is the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Driver License Division.  The agency responsible for administering registration and car title laws in Alabama is the Alabama Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division.

Alabama is a busy place; over 5 million residents are in transit every day, traveling from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa, and everywhere in between.  Alabama has 67 counties, and there are approximately 80 drivers license offices located throughout.  The DMV, being a governmental entity, is not the easiest agency to deal with.  The same is true of the locations within Alabama, so feel free to enjoy our online resource!

Please use the information and frequently asked questions below to navigate at your convenience.  Our goal is create a resource that will address your needs every time that you visit.


Alabama DMV Driver’s License FAQs

  1. What agency in Alabama provides driver licenses?
  2. What are the age requirements for getting an Alabama driver’s permit or driver’s license (noncommercial)?
  3. What are the restrictions for an Alabama driver’s permit or driver’s license?
  4. What tests must I take to obtain an Alabama learner’s permit or driver’s license?
  5. I recently moved to Alabama.  How long do I have to get an Alabama driver’s license?
  6. Must I notify the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Driver License Division about a change of address?  What if I want to change my name?

1.What agency in Alabama provides driver licenses?

The Alabama Department of Public Safety, Driver License Division.

2.What are the age requirements for getting an Alabama driver’s permit or driver’s license (noncommercial)?

A learner’s license can be obtained at age 15 in Alabama.  You must be 16 years old to obtain a regular driver’s license in Alabama.

3.What are the restrictions for an Alabama driver’s permit or driver’s license?

Learner's License - Fifteen Year Olds - Fifteen year olds may obtain a restricted Learner's License for the purpose of learning to safely and effectively operate a motor vehicle. The examination for the license is taken from information in the Alabama Driver's Manual. Upon satisfactory completion of the required examination, the applicant will be issued a regular Alabama driver license with a "Y" restriction. The "Y" restriction indicates that the holder may operate a motor vehicle while accompanied by a person who is 21 years of age or older and, who is duly licensed in this state or a licensed or certified driving instructor occupying the seat beside the operator. This Learner's License is valid for four years.

Learner's license - Sixteen Year Olds - Any person 16 years of age or older who, except for his lack of Instruction In operating a motor vehicle, would otherwise be qualified to obtain a driver license, may obtain a Learner's License upon satisfactory completion of the required examination. The examination for this license is taken from Information in the Alabama Driver's Manual. After satisfactory completion of the required examination, the applicant will be issued a regular Alabama driver license with a "Y" restriction. The "Y" restriction indicates that the holder may only operate a motor vehicle with a licensed driver occupying the seat beside the driver. This license is valid for four years. Both Learner's Licenses may be suspended or revoked in the same manner and for the same cause as a driver license and may also be revoked for any violations of the terms and conditions on which it was issued.

Learner's License -"Y" Restriction Removal - Any person 16 or 17 years of age who has held a Learner's License for a minimum of six months and has developed the necessary skills to safely operate a motor vehicle may present himself to his local driver license examiner for the road test. He must surrender his picture Learners License at the time of the road test. Upon satisfactory completion of the road test, the applicant will be issued a new regular license for the remainder of the four- year period. This will be at no cost to the applicant.

Learner's License -"Y" Restriction Removal - Any person 18 years of age or older who has held a Learner's License for a minimum of six months and has developed the necessary skills to safely operate a motor vehicle may present himself to his local driver license examiner for the road test. He must surrender his picture Learners License at the time of the road test. Upon satisfactory completion of the road test, the applicant will be issued a new regular license for the remainder of the four- year period. This will be at no cost to the applicant.

4.What tests must I take to obtain an Alabama learner’s permit or driver’s license?

Learners permit: Alabama requires drivers to take a vision test and a written examination for a learner’s permit.

Driver’s license: Alabama requires drivers to take a vision test, a written examination and a road test.

The written test includes questions about Alabama rules of safe driving, road signs and traffic laws, all found in the Alabama Driver License manual.

The road test includes driving maneuvers such as:

(a) Right and left turns
(b) Signaling (hand or approved electrical devices)
(c) Use of marked and unmarked lanes of traffic
(d) Backing of vehicle
(e) Observance of traffic signs and signals
(f) Making a quick stop
(g) General control of vehicle
(h) Observation
(i) Three point turn. Stop vehicle at right edge of curb. When safe, make sharp left turn; back vehicle. Move forward in right lane. Do not bump curb or use driveway.

If any of the following occur, you can fail the exam:
 
(a)If you violate a traffic law
(b)You commit a dangerous action
(c)You are in an accident that you could have prevented, regardless of legal fault
(d)You fail to cooperate or refuse to perform any maneuver

If you fail the road test, you will have a chance to retake it, but only one road test is allowed per day.

If you pass all exams, you will have a picture taken, pay fees, and receive a temporary license.  You should receive a permanent license by mail within 30 days.

5.I recently moved to Alabama.  How long do I have to get an Alabama driver’s license?

A non resident who has a valid driver license from the state of previous residence may drive without an Alabama license for 30 days after becoming a resident of the state.

6.Must I notify the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Driver License Division about a change of address?  What if I want to change my name?

Change of Address: You have 30 days after changing address within Alabama to notify the Driver License Division: PO Box 1471, Montgomery, Alabama, 36102.  Include your driver license number, full name and new address.  If you want to change the address on your license, apply to the probate judge or license commissioner’s office near you.  You will be charged a duplicate fee.

Change of Name: You must present proper documents to the probate judge or license commissioner near you, such as a marriage certificate or court order to change your name, prior to license expiration.  A duplicate license will be issued with the new information, and you will be charged the duplicate fee. 



Alabama DMV Vehicle Registration FAQs

  1. Where do I go to register my motor vehicle in Alabama?
  2. What are the prerequisites for registering a vehicle in Alabama?
  3. Am I required to provide proof of liability insurance to register my vehicle in Alabama?
  4. Do I have to put my car through an emissions test before I can register the vehicle?
  5. If I have lived in Alabama and just bought a car, how many days do I have to title and register the vehicle?
  6. If I recently moved to Alabama, how long do I have to register my car with the State?
  7. Do I have to keep registration documents in my car in Alabama?
  8. Can I get a personalized (vanity) license plate in Alabama?
  9. How much will I have to pay for a personalized (vanity) license plate in Alabama?

1.Where do I go to register my motor vehicle in Alabama?

You must register your car through the offices of county license plate issuing officials.  Exception: trucks and tractors operating to places outside of Alabama should be registered through the Alabama Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division, Motor Carrier Services Section.

If you own a vehicle, you have 20 calendar days from the day you purchase or otherwise acquire the vehicle to register it in the State of Alabama.

2.What are the prerequisites for registering a vehicle in Alabama?

If your motor vehicle requires a certificate of title (click HERE to find out if you must obtain a certificate of title for your vehicle, and how to do so), you must obtain an Alabama certificate of title to register your vehicle in Alabama.

For registration of trucks and truck tractors with gross vehicle weight of 55,000 lbs or more, you must provide proof of payment of the federal heavy vehicle use tax. 

3.Am I required to provide proof of liability insurance to register my vehicle?

No.  You do not need to present proof of insurance before you can register your car.  However, you are legally required maintain liability insurance for a registered vehicle. When you sign your registration receipt, you affirm that the vehicle being registered is insured.

4.Do I have to put my car through an emissions test before I can register the vehicle?

No.  You do not need to have an emissions test for your car before getting it registered in Alabama.

5.If I have lived in Alabama and just bought a car, how many days do I have to title and register the vehicle?

You have 20 calendar days from the day of acquisition, under Alabama law, to register your car and obtain a license plate.  Titling your motor vehicle is a prerequisite to registration.

6.If I recently moved to Alabama, how long do I have to register my car with the State?

You must register a non-commercial vehicle with a valid registration from another jurisdiction within 30 days from the date the vehicle enters Alabama.

7.Do I have to keep registration documents in my car.

Yes.  Under Alabama law, the vehicle owner must retain  in the vehicle the Motor Vehicle Registration Tag and Tax Receipt for possible presentation to law enforcement.

If you trade a vehicle, you are required to retain inside the vehicle, before transferring registration, a copy of the title application or the bill of sale (or temporary tag if that has been obtained).

8.Can I get a personalized (vanity) license plate?

Yes, Alabama law permits personalized/vanity plates for automobiles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight not to exceed 10,000 lbs. and, in many cases, motor homes.

Alabama law authorizes the issuance of distinctive and personalized license plates to automobiles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight not to exceed 10,000 lbs, and, in many cases, motor homes. 


9.How much will I have to pay for a personalized (vanity) license plate?

The registrant must pay the standard registration fee, which is based on the vehicle type, and an annual additional fee, which is generally $50 (but the fee may vary for certain distinctive license plates).

   


Alabama DMV Vehicle Title FAQs

  1. Does Alabama require my vehicle to be titled?
  2. Where do I get an Alabama certificate of title?
  3. What is the fee for an Alabama certificate of title application?
  4. What documents do I need to show to apply for an Alabama certificate of title?
  5. How long does it take to receive an Alabama title?


1.Does Alabama require my vehicle to be titled?

If your motor vehicle model is from 1975 or after, and it is domiciled in Alabama and required to be registered in Alabama, it must have an Alabama certificate of title.  Travel trailers and mobile homes designated as 1990 and subsequent year models also must have an Alabama certificate of title.

The term motor vehicle here includes every automobile, motorcycle, semitrailer, truck, truck tractor, trailer and other devices which are self-propelled or drawn upon a public highway.

EXCLUSIONS: No Alabama certificate of title shall be obtained for: (a) a vehicle owned by the United States or any thereof; (b) a vehicle owned by a manufacturer or dealer and held for resale, even though incidentally moved on the highway or used for the purpose of testing or demonstration, or a vehicle used by a manufacturer solely for testing; (c) a vehicle owned by a non-resident of Alabama and not required by law to be registered in Alabama; (d) a vehicle regularly engaged in the interstate transportation of persons or property for which a currently effective certificate of title has been issued in another state; (e) a vehicle moved solely by animal power; (f) an implement of husbandry; (g) special mobile equipment; (h) a pole trailer; (I) ATV's; (j) snowmobiles: (k) off road vehicles; (l) junked vehicles; (m) boats; (n) mobile homes, travel trailers, and mobile trailers designated 1989 year models and prior year models; (o) single axle utility trailers not more than 16 feet in length; (p) manufactured homes sold as new on or after 01/01/2004 and placed on the owner's land and classified as real property through the surrender of the manufactured certificate of origin and a real property deed issued.

2.Where do I get an Alabama certificate of title?

You have to apply for an Alabama certificate of title through a “designated agent” of the Alabama Department of revenue.  These include:

  • County license plate issuing officials
  • Licensed Alabama motor vehicle dealers
  • Some financial institutions located in Alabama such as banks and credit unions

For replacement title, you can apply directly to the Alabama Department of Revenue if you are the recorder owner or lienholder.

3.What is the fee for an Alabama certificate of title application?

The application fee for an Alabama certificate of title is $15.00, and designated agents add $1.50.  County License Plate Issuing Officials may also collect an additional $1.50 commission for each application processed to defray the cost of processing and mailing title applications.

In addition, some counties have local fees that you must pay when an application for title is processed by that County License Plate Issuing Official.   

4.What documents do I need to show to apply for an Alabama certificate of title?

To apply for an Alabama certificate of title, you must provide:

  • the outstanding manufacturer's certificate of origin or certificate of title that is either in the applicant's name or assigned to the applicant and any documents which support the transfer of the vehicle to the applicant;
  • if the vehicle is currently registered in a jurisdiction which does not title such vehicles, the applicant must surrender the outstanding registration documents which substantiate ownership of the vehicle.
  • Additional documentation may be required if it cannot be determined whether the vehicle meets federal and state safety, emissions and anti-theft standards.

5.How long does it take to receive an Alabama title?

Processing time varies.  You should inquire with the designated agent or you can call Title Inquiry at 334-242-9102.

 

 
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