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The Differences Between a GDL Licence and a Full Class 5 Licence in Alberta

Alberta driver with GDL licence in a car and holding keys

When it comes to Alberta driver’s licences, people often get confused when faced with all the different variants of licences, requirements, and restrictions of each stage. For instance, if you have been looking into information about driver’s licences in the province, you have probably come across the term GDL Licence. But what exactly does it mean? What is the difference between an Alberta GDL Licence and a full Class 5 Licence?

Understanding the differences between the two is essential as you take the next step towards your licence application in Alberta.

What is a GDL Class 5 Licence?

GDL stands for Graduated Driver Licensing. In Alberta, the GDL program is designed to provide new drivers with the opportunity of driving under certain conditions so that they are better trained and prepared when getting their full Class 5 Licence. Every driver must hold their GDL licence for at least 2 years before they can have a full Alberta Class 5 Licence.


What Are the Requirements and Conditions of a Class 5 GDL Licence?

For you to be able to apply for a GDL licence, there are some steps that you need to follow. You must:


  • Be at least 16 years old.

  • Have held a Class 7 Learner’s licence for at least one year.

  • Pass the Basic Alberta Class 5 Road Test.


Once you have been given your Class 5 GDL Licence, you will need to follow some restrictions for the period you are under the GDL program. These conditions include:


  • You must maintain a blood alcohol level of zero.

  • You cannot supervise another driver.

  • You can’t have more passengers in your vehicle than you have seatbelts available for them.

  • Licence is automatically suspended after reaching 8 demerit points.

  • You can’t upgrade your Class 5 GDL licence to a commercial licence.

  • You can’t supervise a driver who has a Class 7 learner’s licence.


Requirements for a Full Class 5 Licence – How to Exit the GDL Licence Program

For those who are going from a GDL program to a Full Class 5 licence, there are also requirements you need to follow. First and foremost, you need to complete the two-year probationary period holding a GDL licence before you can apply for a new one. Also, you must have been suspension-free in the last year of the 2-year period. This is a crucial period for those who want to be able to get a Full Class 5 Licence in Alberta.


It is important to note that you no longer need to pass an advanced road test to upgrade from a GDL program to a Full Class 5 licence. This used to be the case before 2023, when the Government of Alberta eliminated the road test requirement to exit the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program.


What if I Want to Get a Class 6 Motorcycle Licence?

There are also some requirements for those who want to ride motorcycles and get a Class 6 licence in Alberta.

Drivers who already have a full Class 5 licence are required to take and pass the Class 6 knowledge and road test.


However, if you don’t have a full Class 5 or a Class 7 learner’s licence but still want to take get a Class 6 Motorcycle Licence, you must:


  • Complete all the requirements of Class 7.

  • Pass a Class 6 knowledge test.

  • Pass a Class 6 road test.

  • Be placed in the GDL program before you can get a full Class 6 Motorcycle Licence.


It is also important to know that a full Class 6 licence in Alberta is only issued for drivers who are 18 years old or older. If you want to know more about a Class 6 Licence, our website provides valuable information that can help you out regarding steps, eligibility and more.


The Differences Between a Class 5 GDL Licence and a Full Class 5 Licence

To better understand the differences between a Class 5 GDL licence and a full Class 5 licence, we must go over the allowances of each licence. As the GDL program is designed to train drivers before they have access to a full licence, it imposes more restrictions in terms of what they can do when compared to a class 5 licence. Some of the differences include:


Driving Restrictions

While fully licenced drivers are allowed to serve as supervisors to learners, drivers on the GDL program are not able to do that. Also, while holding a Class 5 GDL driver’s licence you have zero tolerance for alcohol levels in your blood.

Demerit Points

Full licenced drivers only have their licence suspended after reaching 15 demerits points. Drivers who are under the GDL program have a much more severe restriction and may have their licenced suspended after reaching 8 demerit points.


Be Aware of What Your Licence Allows

Whether you are a new driver who is about to go through the GDL program or an experienced motorist who wants to upgrade to a full Class 5 licence, it is crucial that you understand the requirements and conditions of each step. Driving around Alberta without being fully aware of the restrictions of each stage can not only result in licence suspension but also put the lives of others at risk.  


Driver’s Licence Services and Information in Calgary

Are you looking for driver’s licence information in Calgary? Navigating the road to your driver’s licence should not be complicated. At Registry @ South Trail Crossing Ltd, we provide a full range of driver’s licences services as well as other registry solutions. Whether you are just starting out or ready to graduate from the GDL program, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our experienced team is ready to help you to make sure your journey towards your driver’s licence is as smooth as it can be. Reach out to us!





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