Alberta allows online driver's licence and ID card renewals

Starting Tuesday, eligible Albertans will be able to renew their driver's licences and identification cards online using the province's eServices platform.

To be eligible to renew online, driver's licence and identification cardholders must be 18 to 75 years old, live in the province, have a driver's licence that is not suspended, and hold an ID that has not been expired for more than six months.

First-time licence applicants will be required to apply at a registry office. Additionally, if any changes to an ID card need to be made, like a new address, height, or sex, the renewal will need to happen in person at a registry.

Drivers requiring a medical examination will not be eligible to renew their licence this way.

Nate Glubish, minister of Service Alberta, announced the new online option for ID renewals on Monday, saying it helps cut red tape and make the process more efficient.

"This is a service that affects nearly every Albertan," Glubish said. "Now Albertans will have yet another choice with more convenience to renew their licences on their phone or computer, whatever time it is, wherever they are and have their new card arrive just days later."

To renew online, Albertans will need to register for a free account with MyAlberta eServices. Once logged into the online portal, Albertans will select which registry agent they wish to be the partner that will "fulfill" their online renewal request.

"I think Albertans are very used to logging into their online banking accounts," Glubish said. "This will be very similar to that and will be designed with the highest degrees of standards of the Alberta government's security and online protocols to protect the privacy of Albertans."

Glubish also said the province will now allow Albertans to keep their old expired photo ID to be used alongside a temporary driver's licence.

"Albertans will now remain in possession of photo ID through the renewal process," the minister said. "We know how one of the biggest inconveniences around renewing a licence is having to surrender the old cards to a registry agent at the time of renewal and having to rely on a temporary paper licence.

"I am happy to say that we are getting rid of this inconvenience for those who have an existing card that they are simply renewing," he added. "Instead, Albertans will now be asked to destroy their old photo ID cards as soon as their new one arrives in the mail."

The ID holder's photo, signature, and demographic data, including organ donor status, will automatically be reapplied to the new licence when renewing online. Photos and signatures will need to be updated in person at a registry office every nine years.

According to Glubish, law enforcement was consulted before the change and police services are "comfortable" with the new approach that is consistent with other provinces.

"It will remain an offence to be in possession of more than one driver's licence or ID card at a time," Glubish said.

"You can retain the old ID for the purposes of having a photo ID, but that ID itself will not be valid because it is expired," he added. "You will still need the temporary ID to demonstrate that you will have a valid ID."

A temporary driver's licence or ID renewal receipt can be downloaded and saved to a mobile device or printed when renewing online.

Albertans will still have the option to renew their ID in person at any registry office if they prefer, Glubish added.

When asked if the changes to ID renewals could result in the loss of registry agent jobs, Glubish said the online service is in "collaboration" with registries and not being offered in "competition" with them.