Province of Alberta


By Dana Hall and Kathleen Charlebois

Posted on May 24, 2021

Province of Alberta

Official Language: English
Age of Majority: 18
Legal Drinking Age: 18

Getting a Health Card

To receive health coverage in Alberta, you must plan to live there for at least 12 months. You will also need to stay in Alberta for at least six of these 12 months. You should apply for health coverage as soon as you get to Alberta. If you wait longer than three months to apply, you might not get health coverage right away.

  • If you are a student with a visa that is for more than 12 months, you can apply for health coverage. If your student visa is for less than 12 months, you can get healthcare if you can confirm that you will live in Alberta after your visa ends. To do this, you’ll need to write a letter and include it in your health coverage application.
  • If you have a work permit, you must intend on staying in Alberta for at least 12 months. You’ll need to be working for at least six of the 12 months.

To apply, you will need to fill out a form and provide proof of your address in Alberta, proof of your identity, and proof of your right to live in Canada. You can apply in person or by mail.

Click here to apply and see the list of acceptable supporting documents. You will also find information on office locations and an address if you would like to send your documents.

Driving information

How to get a driver’s licence: You must be at least 14 years of age to legally drive in Alberta. There are three stages to earn your licence. First, you need to pass a knowledge test and pass a vision test at a DMV registry agent. You can buy a driver’s handbook to help study. You can take the practice test here. You must have parental or guardian consent if you are under 18 years of age.

Once you pass the knowledge test, you will receive a learner’s driver’s licence (also known as a Class 7 licence.) You must drive with another passenger who has a full Class 5 licence.

To get a probationary driver’s licence (also known as a Class 5-Graduated Driver’s Licence), you must be at least 16 years of age, and you must also have had a Class 7 learner’s licence for at least a year. You also need to pass a basic road test.

It is recommended that you take a driver’s education course before getting a full Class 5 licence, although it is not mandatory.

How to transfer a licence: If you have a licence from another country, you will need to transfer it to an Alberta licence. You should do this within 90 days of living in the province.

In order to exchange your licence for an Alberta licence, you must hand in your valid licence, if it is equivalent to or higher than an Alberta Class 5 or 6 licence, to a DMV registry agent. You must also provide proof that you have two or more years of driving experience. You also need to provide proof of residency in Alberta and Canada.

If you’re exchanging a valid driver’s licence from a country with an exchange agreement, you can get an Alberta licence without having to take a knowledge or road test if you have two or more years of driving experience.

The following countries have exchange agreements with Alberta:

  • Australia (Class 5 and 6)
  • Austria (Class 5)
  • Belgium (Class 5)
  • France (Class 5)
  • Germany (Class 5)
  • Isle of Man (Class 5 and 6)
  • Japan (Class 5)
  • Netherlands (Class 5)
  • Republic of Ireland (Class 5 and 6)
  • Republic of Korea (Class 5)
  • Switzerland (Class 5 and 6)
  • Taiwan (Class 5)
  • United Kingdom (Northern Ireland – Class 5 and 6)
  • United Kingdom (England, Scotland, and Wales – Class 5)
  • United States (Class 5, 6, and 7)

If your country isn’t on the exchange agreement list, you’ll need to pass a knowledge test and a road test. You’ll need to visit a DMV and hand in your current driver’s licence, which must be equivalent to or higher than an Alberta Class 5 licence.

You may also be able to apply for a GDL exemption program, which will allow you to take a road test without having to hold the Class 7 licence for one year or the Class 5-GDL licence for two years.

Once you have taken a knowledge test, your licence, GDL exemption application, and support documents will be sent to the provincial government for review.

There are two ways to get a full Class 5 licence if you are in this situation:

  • If you can prove that you have more than two years of driving experience, you’ll need to pass an advanced road test.
  • If you can’t prove that you have more than two years of driving experience, you’ll need to pass a basic driving test to get a Class 5 GDL licence. Once you have more than two years of driving experience, you can then take the advanced driving test.

For more detailed information on the application process and to see a list of documents you will need to bring to your appointment, click here.

Alberta public school information

The mandatory age to start school in Alberta is 6. These are the different levels of education in the province:

  • Kindergarten: Age 5
  • Elementary school (Grades 1–6): Ages 6–11
  • Junior high school (Grades 7–9): Ages 12–14
  • High school (Grades 10–12): Ages 15–17

Your child’s grade is determined by the year they are born. For instance, everyone born in the year 2015 will go into Grade 1 in 2021. That’s because they will turn six in 2021. The school year starts in early September and goes until the end of June. There is a short break at the end of December that lasts for two weeks. This is called winter break. School starts again in January. There is another break for one week in late March or early April.

For information on homeschooling, please visit this website.

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