Many states have rural residents, but no other state has as many rural communities separated from connecting road systems to the extent that Alaska does. The Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has developed additional services to assist Alaska's rural residents with licensing issues unique to remote communities. The additional services available for rural residents living in Alaska are:
This Guide to Rural Driving information serves as a companion guide to the State of Alaska's Driver Manuals:
One of the difficulties facing Alaska's rural youth is finding viable employment. Many career choices require a driver license as a condition of employment or for entry into an apprenticeship program.
The majority of Alaska residents apply for a driver license at a local Division of Motor Vehicles offices; however, most rural communities do not have a local DMV. To serve Alaska residents in rural communities, the DMV issues an "Off-Highway" license that allows an individual to drive in specific Alaskan communities.
To obtain an "Off-Highway" license, the applicant must complete all licensing requirements except for the skills (road) test and photograph. An Off-Highway license allows an individual 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. [2 AAC 90.220(d)]
The majority of Off'-Highway licenses are issued through our Juneau Driver Licensing (JDL) office, although they may be obtained at any DMV office when a resident of a rural community has traveled to a community with a local DMV office. Whether the license is issued by JDL or at a DMV office, the license only allows operation of a vehicle in rural communities, as the applicant has not passed the required road test.
Applicants 18 years of age or older, who have never obtained a driver license, can apply for an Off-Highway Class D license by passing the written and vision tests, paying the fee, and providing original legal documents verifying date of birth, social security number and identity. No skills (road) test is required.
Written tests may be obtained from DMV through the mail or at all Proctor locations. Driver Licensing will grade completed tests and enter the scores in the Alaska Driver Testing System. After successful completion of the written test, an applicant must submit an Application for Remote Area Driver License, Permit or ID Card (Form 480) and supporting documents to Juneau Driver Licensing.
A skills (road) test is conducted to determine if an individual
Further information about road tests and required equipment can be found in the driver manual.
Alaska DMV offers Valid Without Photo Licenses for rural residents living in Alaska that do not have access to a DMV office. These licenses issued to applicants who have successfully completed all the required tests, including the skills (road) tests. You may download an Application for Remote Area Driver License, Permit or ID Card (Form 480).
Rural residents may use the mail to replace a lost license or to renew their license. The only difference between the license issued by mail and the one issued at a DMV office is the lack of a photograph. To obtain a Valid Without Photo License a driver must submit a completed Application for Remote Area Driver License, Permit or ID Card to Juneau Driver Services. Applicants must pass a vision test, pay the appropriate licensing fee and surrender their existing license or submit original identity documentation.
Although there is no requirement for rural drivers to obtain an instruction permit, the Division of Motor Vehicles strongly encourages rural drivers to practice driving with a licensed driver.
An instruction permit (IP) allows drivers to practice driving with a licensed driver. It is valid for a maximum of two (2) years and can only be renewed one time.
The first instruction permit is available at age 14. Rural residents, 14 years of age or older, can obtain an instruction permit by passing the written and vision tests, paying the fee, and providing original legal documents verifying date of birth, social security number and identity. Applicants under 18 years of age must provide parental consent.
A person who is 16 or 17 years of age may obtain a Class D provisional license; however, applicants that hold an off-highway license are exempt from all the restrictions that normally apply to a provisional license. [AS 28.15.057]
The following requirements must be met in order to obtain a Class D Provisional License:
To graduate to an Off-Highway Class D license, rural residents must surrender their last issued license and submit a new Application for Remote Area Driver License, Permit or ID Card (Form 480) to Juneau Driver Licensing.
When the United States Congress passed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act, Alaska successfully petitioned the Federal Government for a skills (road) test exemption for rural commercial drivers. Alaska is the only State allowed to offer an Off-Highway license for commercial motor vehicle drivers.
The Federal Government requires a government agency to administer all written tests for commercial licenses.
The commercial motor vehicle instruction permits (IA, IB, and IC) allow a driver to practice driving the corresponding class of commercial motor vehicle with a licensed commercial motor vehicle driver. For example, the IA permit allows drivers to practice driving Class A commercial motor vehicles when accompanied by a licensed Class A commercial driver.
The first commercial motor vehicle instruction permit (IC) is available at age 17; however, an applicant must have had a valid Class D license for a minimum of one year.
Rural residents, 17 years of age or older, may obtain an instruction permit by providing original legal documents verifying their date of birth and identity, social security number, passing a vision test, and the commercial motor vehicle driver general knowledge written test based on the State of Alaska Manual. An applicant under 18 years old must provide parental consent.
While there is no requirement for rural drivers to obtain an instruction permit, the Division of Motor Vehicles strongly encourages rural drivers to practice driving with a licensed driver.
Applicants 19 years of age or older, who have a held a license for one year, can apply for an Off-Highway Commercial Driver License by passing the written and vision tests, paying the licensing fee, and providing original legal documents verifying date of birth, social security number and identity. No skills (road) test is required.
Off-Highway Commercial Driver Licenses are only valid in the State of Alaska and only in the communities listed on the link at the top of this page. Applicants, 21 years of age or older, cannot apply for an interstate commercial driver license. To apply for an interstate commercial driver license, applicants who have held a valid license for one year must pass written and vision tests, pay licensing fees, and successfully pass a skills (road) test.
A CDL license may also serve as your class D non-commercial license. If your CDL has been canceled due to no longer living in an off-highway community or due to you no longer having a valid CDL medical card, this does not cancel you class D driving privileges. The DMV encourages you to visit your local DMV office and have your canceled CDL converted to a Class D license. If you have further questions contact Anchorage Driver Licensing at 907-269-3770.
A skills (road) test is conducted to determine if an individual