Alaska Driver's License: A Step-by-Step 2018 Guide

Learn what to expect and how to get behind the wheel faster.
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On this page: Types of licenses How to apply Knowledge test Road test Replace or renew New residents

How Does It Work?

If you are an Alaska driver or want to become one, this guide will help you learn all you need to know about DMV requirements for your situation.

Get an instructional permit

Allows you to practice driving under supervision.

Get a provisional license

Allows you to drive unsupervised with restrictions.

Get a Full (Adult) License

Allows you to drive with no restrictions.

Types of Driver's Licenses in Alaska

For each license type there's a corresponding type of instruction permit
Alaska Class D Driver's License
Class D
Allows you to operate any non-commercial motor vehicles with the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,000 pounds or less, including passenger cars or trucks, vehicles designed to carry 15 passengers or less including the driver, recreational vehicles, mopeds, small scooters or motorcycles 50 cc or less. Read the AK Driver Manual or take a free AK practice test.
Alaska off-Highway Driver's License
Off-Highway
It allows residents of rural communities to apply by mail in order to drive on roads that are not connected to the State highway system and on roads that are not connected to a highway or vehicular way with an average daily traffic volume greater than 499. Read the AK Driver Manual or take a free AK practice test.
Alaska Class A/B/C Driver's License
A/B/C (Commercial)
Class A allows you to operate a combination vehicle with the GCWR of 26,001 pounds or more with the towed unit (GCWE 10,001 pounds or more). Class B is for operating any vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more with a trailer with GVWR of 10,000 or less. Class C is for driving any single motor vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 pounds or less, or a vehicle designed to carry 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or hazardous materials. Read the AK CDL Manual  or take a free AK CDL practice test.

How to Apply for Your AK Class D Driver’s License

How to Apply for Your Instruction Permit

An instruction permit is required for everyone learning to drive on a street or highway. While you are learning to drive, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver. The licensed driver must be at least 21 years of age and have at least one year of driving experience.

A special instruction permit may be issued to those enrolled in an approved high school, community college, commercial driver training course, or approved medical program.

1APPLY IN PERSON

Visit your local DMV office. To locate a nearby DMV office, check here. Walk-ins are welcome, but some offices offer online scheduling.

2COMPLETE THE APPLICATION FORM

You can download form 478 and complete it at home, however, you are required to sign it in front of a DMV representative.

3PROVIDE YOUR PARENT OR GUARDIAN CONSENT

As you are under 18, your parent or guardian is asked to complete form 433 and sign it in the presence of a Notary Public or DMV employee.

4BRING THE DOCUMENTATION TO VERIFY THE FOLLOWING:

  • Your legal name, date of birth and citizenship. You must bring one primary and one secondary document.

    Primary documents: a U.S. birth certificate or passport, foreign passport with appropriate immigration status, a resident alien, temporary resident alien, or employment work authorization document issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    Secondary documents: school ID, medical records, health insurance card, employee ID.

  • Your principal residence. Choose just one of the following: utility bill, paycheck stub, mortgage or rental documents, medical assistance card, letter from employer on letterhead verifying your residence address.
  • Your Social Security Number. If you do not have a Social Security Number, you must provide documentation from the Social Security Administration verifying that you have not been issued a number.
  • Proof of name change (if you changed your name).

5PASS A VISION TEST

To qualify you must have, in each eye or with both eyes together, at least 20/40 vision. If you need corrective lenses to qualify, you must wear them while driving.

6PASS THE WRITTEN KNOWLEDGE TEST

The written test covers only information found in the Alaska DMV manual, including traffic laws, safe driving practices, and highway sign recognition. If failed, the test may be retaken the following day.

7PAY THE FEE OF $15.00

Pay by Visa, MasterCard, a personal check or money order made out to the State of Alaska or the DMV.

8GET YOUR INSTRUCTION PERMIT

Your permit will be valid for two years and you will be able to renew it once only.

Do I have to get an instruction permit if I live in an Alaskan rural community? No, you are not required to get an instruction permit. However, the DMV strongly encourages you to get one so that you can practice supervised driving. You can apply by mail by doing the following:

  • Pass the written test at a Proctor in your area.
  • Pass a vision test at a doctor, nurse, or other qualified person of your choice.
  • Complete form 480.
  • Provide original documents verifying date of birth, social security number, identity and parental consent.
  • Pay the fee of $15.00
  • Mail your application and supporting documents to:

    Juneau Driver Services
    State of Alaska
    Division of Motor Vehicles
    PO Box 110221
    Juneau AK 99811-0221

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How to Apply for Your AK Provisional License

If you are between 16 and 17, you can apply for a provisional license. It allows you to drive unsupervised most of the time, but with some significant restrictions: you may not carry non-sibling passengers under the age of 21 or drive between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless:
  • accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age
  • driving to or from your place of employment
  • driving within the scope of your employment
  1. HOLD AN INSTRUCTION PERMIT FOR AT LEAST 6 MONTHS

    You must make sure you have practiced driving and haven’t been convicted of traffic law violations in 6 months.

  2. PRACTICE SUPERVISED DRIVING AND GET IT CERTIFIED

    Provide written certification from your parent or guardian that you have had at least 40 hours of supervised driving, including at least 10 hours of driving at night or in poor weather.

  3. APPLY IN PERSON

    Visit your local DMV office. To locate a nearby DMV office, check here. Walk-ins are welcome, but some offices offer online scheduling.

  4. COMPLETE THE APPLICATION FORM

    You can download form 478 and complete it at home, however, you are required to sign it in front of a DMV representative.

  5. PROVIDE YOUR PARENT OR GUARDIAN CONSENT

    As you are under 18, your parent or guardian is asked to complete form 433 and sign it in the presence of a Notary Public or DMV employee.

  6. BRING YOUR INSTRUCTION PERMIT

    Alternatively, you can bring proof of your scores on the written knowledge test.

  7. PAY THE ROAD TEST FEE

    $ 15.00 paid by Visa, MasterCard, a personal check or money order.

  8. PAY THE LICENSE FEE

    $20.00 by Visa, MasterCard, a personal check or money order made out to the State of Alaska or the DMV.

  9. GET YOUR PROVISIONAL LICENSE

    After you turn 18 and have held your provisional license for at least 6 months, you can visit your local DMV office to exchange your provisional license for a full Class D driver's license.

Exceptions for residents of Alaskan rural communities:

You can get a provisional license without the usual restrictions if you use it in the areas not connected to the land highway system or is not connected to a highway where average daily traffic volume is 499 or greater. Requirements:

  • Hold an instruction permit for 6 months
  • Get certification, from a parent or guardian, of at least 40 hours of driving experience with 10 hours of challenging circumstances, such as bad weather
  • Have no convictions for traffic violations in the last six months
  • Apply by mail

How to Apply for a Class D (Adult) Driver’s License

You can apply for a full driver’s license at the age of 18. If you have never held a license or you hold a learner permit, start with step 1 of the following guide. If you have held your provisional license for at least 6 months, visit a DMV office to exchange your provisional license for a full Class D driver’s license.

1APPLY IN PERSON FOR A LEARNER PERMIT

Visit your local DMV office. To locate a nearby DMV office, check here. Walk-ins are welcome, but some offices offer online scheduling.

2COMPLETE THE APPLICATION FORM

You can download form 478 and complete it at home, however, you are required to sign it in front of a DMV representative.

3BRING THE DOCUMENTATION TO VERIFY THE FOLLOWING

  • Your legal name, date of birth and citizenship. You must bring one primary and one secondary document.

    Primary documents: a U.S. birth certificate or passport, foreign passport with appropriate immigration status, a resident alien, temporary resident alien, or employment work authorization document issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, an Alaska instruction permit or Alaska State Identification card.

    Secondary documents: school ID, medical records, health insurance card, employee ID, IRS or state tax form.

  • Your principal residence. Choose just one of the following: utility bill, paycheck stub, mortgage or rental documents, medical assistance card, letter from employer on letterhead verifying applicant's residence address, Alaska title and/or registration (Issued at least 30 days prior to application), canceled check or bank statement, mortgage or rental documents
  • Your Social Security Number. If you do not have a Social Security Number, you must provide documentation from the Social Security Administration verifying that you have not been issued a number.
  • Proof of name change (if you changed your name)
  • Immigration status documents (for non- U.S. citizens)

4PASS A VISION TEST

To qualify you must have, in each eye or with both eyes together, at least 20/40 vision. If you need corrective lenses to qualify, you must wear them while driving.

5PASS THE WRITTEN KNOWLEDGE TEST

Your test will be waived if you show your instruction permit or bring proof of your scores. The written test covers only information found in the Alaska DMV manual, including traffic laws, safe driving practices, and highway sign recognition. If failed, the test may be retaken the following day.

6PASS ALCOHOL AND DRUG AWARENESS KNOWLEDGE TEST

You must take this test if you are older than 21 or upgrading from a permit to a license. You can take it as many times as necessary until you pass.

7PAY THE ROAD TEST FEE

$ 15.00 paid by Visa, MasterCard, a personal check or money order.

8PASS A ROAD TEST

Bring a vehicle that qualifies for the road test with proper registration and proof of insurance. You can schedule your road test in person or online. Alternatively, you can take your road test at a DMV-authorized third party (each is an independent business and sets its own fees). If you fail, you will have to wait for 7 days before the next attempt.

9PAY THE LICENSE FEE

$20.00 by Visa, MasterCard, a personal check or money order made out to the State of Alaska or the DMV.

If you are a resident of an Alaskan rural community and would like to get an Off-Highway Class D license, you must surrender your instructional permit or provisional license and submit a new Application for Remote Area Driver License (Form 480) to:

Juneau Driver Services
State of Alaska
Division of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 110221
Juneau AK 99811-0221

The Off-Highway restriction can be removed at any time following the successful completion of a road test at a DMV office or at a Third-Party Testing Provider.

AK Written Knowledge Test

Take a free practice test
What does the test include?
You will have 25 minutes to complete 20 multiple-choice questions testing your knowledge of traffic laws, safe driving practices, and highway sign recognition. All the necessary information is covered in the AK Driver Manual. To pass the knowledge portion of the DMV driving test, you must answer 16 questions correctly.
How to prepare for the test?
Study the AK Driver Manual then take free practice tests available here. When you feel comfortable with your score, you are ready!
What common mistakes should I avoid?
The most common mistake comes from not knowing enough information out of the manual. This happens when people study solely with practice tests. Make sure you read the manual first. Another problem is rushing through questions. Take your time and remember what you have studied.
Can I use the driver's manual when I take the actual test at the DMV?
Absolutely NOT! This is not an open book test. The purpose of the test is to make sure you understand and apply the rules of the road.
Can I take the test if I can’t read?
If you can understand the English language, but are unable to read or have difficulty reading, you may bring someone who may read the questions to you, but you must independently answer the questions.
What happens if I fail?
If you fail, you can retake it as early as the next day.

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Road Test

Step-by-Step Guide
What to expect during AK road test
This test will examine your ability to drive safely and accurately. It will last about 30 minutes. Driving tests are available at most DMV offices or through state approved third party testers. Schedule your road test online or in person and pay a nonrefundable driving test fee of $15.00 prior to taking the driving test. Fees vary through third party testers. You may reschedule your road test at a DMV office 24 hours before your scheduled appointment for no fee.
What to bring
  • Instruction permit or current (within one year) knowledge test scores
  • Corrective lenses if applicable
  • If under 18 years of age, parent or legal guardian or a notarized Parental/Guardian Consent for Minor (Form 433).
  • Current vehicle registration
  • Printed proof of insurance
  • Rental agreement where you are included as an authorized driver (if renting a car)
  • A vehicle in working order
Before the test

Your car will be checked for the following equipment in working condition:

  • All lights must be actual lenses not tape
  • Windshield (cannot have cracks in the field of vision)
  • Working windshield wipers
  • Defroster
  • Muffler
  • Good tires
  • Brakes (including emergency/parking)
  • All mirrors in working order
  • A working horn
  • Passenger seat and seat belts for driver and examiner
  • Front and back license plates with current month & year tabs on rear plate
  • Working speedometer
  • Doors must open from inside and outside
  • Enough fuel for a 30-minute exam (1/4 tank)
  • Studded snow tires can only be used where and when legal
  • No tinted windows

Consider the following:

  • Animals and passengers are not allowed to accompany you on a road test.
  • Your cell phone must be turned off during the test.
  • Please do not wear perfume or cologne.
  • All audio or visual devices that assist in performing driving maneuvers such as backing or parallel parking should only be used as assistive devices.
During the test

    Listen to the examiner and follow the instructions. You should be able to demonstrate the following maneuvers:

    • Parallel parking
    • Backing
    • Quick stop
    • Left and right turns
    • Changing lanes
    • Entering and exiting a freeway
    • 3-point turn
    • Traffic signals
    • Speed control
    • Following a vehicle
    • Intersection observance
    • Stop sign procedure
    • Use of vehicle equipment (mirrors, brakes, etc.)
    • Proper head position

    Critical Errors

    You will automatically fail if you commit one of the following:

    • Violate a traffic law
    • Perform a dangerous driving action
    • Do not cooperate with the examiner or refuse to perform
    • Contribute to a crash
    • Fail to perform a required driving task
    • Do not have the driving ability to meet required standards
After the test
Upon your return to the DMV office, the examiner will tell you whether you passed or failed the test and advise you how to correct any errors. You will learn what maneuvers you should practice to improve your driving skills. If you fail, the examiner will tell you when you may return for another test. Normally, you must wait seven days to retake the test.

How to Replace or Renew Your Driver License in Alaska

  • You can renew in person at your local DMV office. Walk-ins are welcome, but some offices offer online scheduling as well.

    Plan of action:

    1. Fill out and submit the form.
    2. Provide the documentation required:

      - one primary document, e.g., driver's license, birth certificate or passport, etc.
      - one secondary document, e.g., school ID, health insurance card, employee ID, etc.
      - proof of your residence, e.g., utility bill, paycheck stub, mortgage or rental documents
      - proof of name change (if you changed your name). You must have Social Security update your name before you can have the Alaska DMV update your name.
      - immigration status documents (for non- U.S. citizens)

    3. Pass a vision test.
    4. Pass an alcohol and drug awareness knowledge test if you haven't taken it yet. (Exception are the drivers that obtained their Alaska driver license prior to October 21st, 2008).
    5. Surrender your current Alaska license.
    6. Have your photo taken and pay the $20.00 renewal fee by Visa, MasterCard, a personal check or money order made out to the State of Alaska or the DMV.
    7. You will receive a temporary license. Your new license should arrive in mail within 2 weeks.

    Important to note: Alaska does not have a grace period after a license expires. Once your license is expired, it is not legal for you to drive. If you allow your license to expire over a year, you must pass the written test again to renew your license.

    'Under 21' license automatically expires 90 days after your twenty-first birthday. Before you can renew your license, you must pass an alcohol and drug awareness knowledge test.

  • You can apply by mail if

    1. You are over 22 years old
    2. Your personal information has not changed
    3. You did not renew your driver license by mail at your last renewal

    Important to note: Alaska does not have a grace period after a license expires. Once your license is expired, it is not legal for you to drive. It can take 30 days for you to receive your temporary license in the mail. If you allow your license to expire over a year, you must pass the written test again to renew your license. If you are out of state when your license expires, apply for a license extension letter to extend the expiration date for one year.

    'Under 21' license automatically expires 90 days after your twenty-first birthday. Before you can renew your license, you must pass an alcohol and drug awareness knowledge test.

    If you live in a qualifying rural Alaska community where there is no local DMV office, you may also renew your license by mail.

    Plan of Acton:

    1. Pass a vision test at a doctor, nurse, or other qualified person of your choice
    2. Complete form 480 and provide copies of the documents mentioned in the form.
    3. Pay the $21.00 fee.
    4. Mail your application and supporting documents to:

      Juneau Driver Services
      State of Alaska
      Division of Motor Vehicles
      PO Box 110221
      Juneau AK 99811-0221

  • You are eligible to renew online within one year of expiration if you meet the following requirements:

    1. your personal information has not changed
    2. you did not renew your license by mail at your last renewal
    3. you are a US citizen and your citizenship hasn't changed since the last card was issued
    4. your current license is neither revoked nor suspended
    5. you are between 21 and 68 years old
    6. you are under 21 and have taken the Alcohol Awareness Test.

    In case you are about to be 21 years of age, attending college out of Alaska and haven't passed the Alcohol & Drug Awareness Test, you may request the Alcohol & Drug Awareness Test by contacting doa.dmv.jds@alaska.gov. Provide your full name and date of birth and how you would like to receive the requested test. After you complete the test, send the provided answer sheet back with a phone number or email so the result can be sent to you. Once the Alcohol & Drug Awareness Test has been passed you will be able to renew your driver's license online after your 21st birthday.

    Important to note: Alaska does not have a grace period after a license expires. Once your license is expired, it is not legal for you to drive. If you allow your license to expire over a year, you must pass the written test again to renew your license.

    'Under 21' license automatically expires 90 days after your twenty-first birthday. Before you can renew your license, you must pass an alcohol and drug awareness knowledge test.

New residents: How to get an Alaska Driver's License

If you are at least 16 years of age, you can continue to use your valid out-of-state or foreign driver’s license for up to 90 days. If you will be driving in Alaska for more than 90 days, you must get an Alaska driver’s license.
Out-of-state license Foreign license

I’ve Got a Valid Out-of-State Driver's License

Moving from another state? Welcome to Alaska!
Moving from another state?
You can transfer your license at any DMV office. Walk-ins are welcome, but some offices offer online scheduling as well.
Plan of Action
  1. Fill out and submit the form.
  2. Provide the documentation required:
    • one primary document, e.g., birth certificate, U.S. or foreign passport, etc.
    • one secondary document, e.g., school ID, health insurance card, employee ID, driver’s license etc.
    • proof of your residence, e.g., utility bill, paycheck stub, mortgage or rental documents
    • Social Security Card (original) or some other document issued by the Social Security Administration or IRS that shows your name and SSN
    • proof of name change (if you changed your name). You must have Social Security update your name before you can have the Alaska DMV update your name.
    • immigration status documents (for non- U.S. citizens)
  3. Pass a written knowledge test. If failed, the test may be retaken as early as the following day.
  4. Pass a vision test.
  5. Pass an alcohol and drug awareness knowledge test when you reach the age of 21.
  6. Surrender your out-of-state driver's license.
  7. Have your photo taken and pay the $20.00 transfer fee by Visa, MasterCard, a personal check or money order made out to the State of Alaska or the DMV.
driver's license in Alaska

You will receive a temporary license. Your new license should arrive in mail within 2 weeks.

I've Got a Valid Foreign License

Moving from another country? Welcome to Alaska!

If you have a driver's license from another country except Canada or U.S. territory, the procedure for transferring your foreign license is similar to that applying for a new Alaska driver's license. Check here the complete guide how to apply for your AK driver's license.

If your license is from Canada or US territory, the procedure of transferring your driver's license is the same as the transfer of an out-of-state license.

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