If you're a newcomer to Alberta or a temporary resident planning to drive in the province, it's essential to know the regulations regarding foreign driver's licences. The rules differ depending on whether you're a permanent resident or a temporary resident, and they can have an impact on the validity of your foreign driver's licence in Alberta.
For permanent residents who have recently moved to Alberta, the rules are relatively straightforward. According to the Alberta government, a newcomer to the province must exchange their driver's licence within 90 days of becoming an Alberta resident. This means, if you’ve established permanent residency in Alberta, you need to obtain an Alberta driver's licence within three months of your arrival. If you don’t, you could face penalties or fines.
Alternatively, the rules vary for temporary residents, depending on their specific circumstances. Here are some common scenarios:
Visitors. If you’re visiting Alberta as a tourist or for a short-term stay, you can drive with your valid foreign driver's licence for up to one year. Your licence must be valid and written in English or accompanied by an International Driving Permit (see more on IDPs below).
Students. International students studying in Alberta can drive with their foreign driver's licence as long as it remains valid. Students must be studying at an accredited institution or part of a co-op program of study.
Members of the Armed Forces. If you're a member of the Canadian Armed Forces or the armed forces of another NATO country stationed in Alberta, you’re allowed to drive with a valid foreign driver's licence for the duration of your post. However, family members must exchange their home jurisdiction’s driver’s licence within 90 days of moving to Alberta.
Temporary foreign workers. If you’re working in Alberta under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), you don’t need to get an Alberta driver’s licence. You must be here for 8 months or less in the calendar year. You must also carry a work permit, foreign driver’s licence and International Driving Permit (IDP).
International Driving Permit (IDP). While an IDP isn’t mandatory for temporary residents, it can help you to have one. The IDP serves as an official translation of your foreign driver's licence and can help you communicate with authorities. An IDP is valid only when used in conjunction with your foreign driver’s licence.
Driver’s Licence Services in Calgary and Throughout Alberta
Whether you’re from another province or another country, Registry @ South Trail Crossing Ltd. can help you get your Alberta driver’s licence with a simple, stress-free process. Contact us today to learn more about our driver’s licence services.