Georgia Driver's License: A Step-by-Step 2018 Guide

Learn what to expect and how to get behind the wheel faster.
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On this page: Types of licenses How to apply Knowledge test Road test Replace or renew New residents

How Does It Work?

Are you a Georgia driver or would like to become one? Georgia has a straightforward system of driver qualification. There are different requirements depending on your age. This is a complete step-by-step guide that will lead you through all the stages of getting your Georgia driver’s license.

Get an instructional permit

Allows you to practice driving under supervision.

Get a provisional license

Allows you to drive unsupervised with restrictions.

Get a Full (Adult) License

Allows you to drive with no restrictions.

Types of Driver's Licenses in Georgia

For each license type there's a corresponding type of instruction permit
Georgia Class C/D Driver's License
Class C/D (Non-Commercial)
Class C driver license is the basic driver license for automobile drivers. It allows you to operate a single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) less than 26,000 pounds, tow a vehicle with a GVWR less than 10,000 pounds, use vehicles for recreational, camping, or travel purposes and to drive an autocycle (three-wheeled motor vehicle with a steering wheel). Valid for 8 years. Class D driver’s license is a provisional license for teens that is upgraded to class C at the age of 18. Read the GA Drivers Manual or take a free GA DDS practice test.
Georgia Class A Driver's License
Class A/B/C (Commercial)
Class A license allows you to operate any combination vehicle with a GVWR greater than 26,000 pounds, provided that the GVWR of the towed vehicle is in excess of 10,000 pounds. Class B allows you to operate any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds. Class C (commercial) is for operating vehicles carrying hazardous materials and with a GVWR less than 26,001 pounds, transporting 16 or more persons (including the driver). Read the GA Commercial Drivers Manual or take a free GA CDL knowledge test.
Georgia Motorcycle Driver's License
Class M
It allows you to operate a motorcycle on Georgia's public roadways. Alternatively, you may get a motorcycle endorsement, which is a qualification that is added to your existing commercial or noncommercial driver license to allow you to operate motorcycles also. Read the GA Motorcycle Operations Manual or take a free GA DDS motorcycle practice test.

How to Apply for Your Non-Commercial Driver’s License

To get a driver’s license you must pass a vision test, a knowledge exam and road test. You might also have to complete an ADAP class. This is your complete plan of action depending on your age:
Apply for Learner's License I'm over 15 and under 18 (First Timer)
Apply for a Class CP instructional permit
How to Start
Apply for Provisional License I'm over 16 and under 18 (Instructional Permit holder)
Apply for a Class D provisional (teen) license
How to Start
Apply for Full (Adult) License 18+ I'm 18+ (First timer, Permit or License holder)
Apply for a Class C full (adult) driver license
How to Start

How to Apply for Your Instructional Permit for the First Time

Everyone under the age of 18 must obtain a Class CP instructional permit before applying for a Class D provisional (teen) or Class C full (adult) driver license. For drivers under 18 such as yourself, the instructional permit is the first stage of Georgia's Teenage & Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA) program (also known as Joshua's Law). The permit allows you to practice driving, supervised by a licensed driver at least 21 years of age.

1APPLY IN PERSON

You must apply at a DDS Customer Service Center. To locate a nearby Customer Service Center, use this map of DDS Customer Service Centers. However, the Customer Service Centers don't all offer the same services. Contact a Customer Service Center to find out what services it offers.

2COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION FORM

You can obtain an application form at the Customer Service Center, or you can fill out the application online ahead of time. Your parent, guardian, driving instructor, or other responsible adult must accompany you to the Customer Service Center and sign the application in the presence of a DDS employee.

3BRING DOCUMENTATION TO VERIFY THE FOLLOWING:

  • Your identity, including your full name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your Social Security number or proof of ineligibility for a Social Security number
  • Your US citizenship (or your legal presence in the US if you are not a US citizen)
  • Your residential address in Georgia

Use this list to select documents.

4VERIFY YOUR SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION

Bring a document to prove that you attend or have graduated from secondary school or the equivalent. E.g., a Certificate of School Enrollment (Form DS-1), signed by an official of your school and notarized, a high school diploma, a GED diploma, proof of enrollment in a GED program or proof of enrollment in a postsecondary school.

5PASS A VISION TEST

If your visual acuity readings are below 20/60 even with corrective lenses, and a field of vision is less than 140 degrees, you will be asked to have a DS-274 completed by an eye specialist.

6PAY THE FEE OF $10

You must pay it by cash, check or card before you take the knowledge exam. If you fail the knowledge exam, you will have to pay another $10 each time you retake it.

7PASS A KNOWLEDGE TEST

You will take the knowledge exam at a DDS Customer Service Center on a walk-in basis. Arrive well before the closing time as the test must begin at least 30 minutes before the Center closes.

8HAVE YOUR PICTURE TAKEN

Once you meet these requirements, the DDS Customer Service Center will issue you a temporary Georgia Class CP instructional permit. Your permanent permit should be mailed to you within 30 days. If you have not received it by then, contact the DDS.

Your Class CP instructional permit is valid for two years. If you haven't obtained a driver license by the time your permit expires, you will have to renew your instructional permit to keep driving.

Can I get a permit if I’m 14 years old? You can, but only if your parent or guardian is visually impaired.

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How to Apply for Your Provisional (Teen) Driver’s License

The Class D provisional or intermediate (teen) driver license is the second stage of Georgia's Teenage & Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA) program. It allows you to drive unsupervised but with significant restrictions.
  1. COMPLETE A DRIVER’S EDUCATION COURSE

    Only if you are younger than 17, you must complete the DDS-approved driver's education course. You may look for a suitable Driver's Ed program here.

  2. HOLD YOUR INSTRUCTION PERMIT FOR AT LEAST A YEAR

    Your permit shouldn’t be suspended. If you had held an instructional permit in another state or country before you became a resident of Georgia, the time that you held that instructional permit will count toward this one-year requirement.

  3. PRACTICE DRIVING

    With your instructional permit, practice supervised driving for at least 40 hours, at least 6 hours of which are at night. Your parent, guardian, or DDS-certified driving instructor must certify your driving practice by filling out and signing a Driving Experience Affidavit (Form DDS-7) at the Customer Service Center. Pick one up at the Customer Service Center.

  4. COMPLETE AN ADAP CLASS

    It’s an Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP) class at your high school. If you missed it, complete a "makeup" ADAP class conducted monthly at various locations. Contact the DDS to find out when and where the next ADAP classes will be given. Alternatively, complete it online (eADAP). This option is only available if you are unable to take ADAP in the usual classroom setting. Register for eADAP here. Provide the Certificate of Completion to the DDS.

  5. APPLY IN PERSON

    You must apply at a DDS Customer Service Center. To locate a nearby Customer Service Center, use this map of DDS Customer Service Centers. However, the Customer Service Centers don't all offer the same services. Contact a Customer Service Center to find out what services it offers.

  6. COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION FORM

    You can obtain an application form at the Customer Service Center, or you can fill out the application online ahead of time, but your parent, guardian or driving instructor must accompany you to the Customer Service Center and sign the application in the presence of a DDS employee.

  7. BRING DOCUMENTATION TO VERIFY THE FOLLOWING:

    • Your identity, including your full name
    • Your date of birth
    • Your Social Security number or proof of ineligibility for a Social Security number
    • Your US citizenship (or your legal presence in the US if you are not a US citizen)
    • Your residential address in Georgia

    Use this list to select documents.

  8. VERIFY YOUR SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION

    Bring Georgia DDS Certificate of Attendance form notarized from your school (valid 30 days; during the summer vacation it is valid from May until August or until school starts) or a diploma.

  9. PASS A VISION TEST

    If your visual acuity readings are below 20/60 even with corrective lenses, and a field of vision is less than 140 degrees, you will be asked to have a DS-274 completed by an eye specialist.

  10. PAY THE FEE OF $10 AND PASS A ROAD TEST

    You may take the road test at a DDS Customer Service Center. Make the appointment at a Center or by calling the Reservation Line at (678) 413-8400 and then selecting Option 5 and Option 1. Some certified driving schools also conduct road tests, but they may charge a fee.

  11. SURRENDER YOUR INSTRUCTIONAL PERMIT

    You will be issued a temporary Class D provisional license. Your permanent license should be mailed to you within 30 days. If you have not received it by then, contact the DDS.

How long will my license be valid?

For up to 5 years and will expire on your birthday. However, when you turn 18, you should upgrade your provisional license to a Class C full adult driver license.

Your provisional license restrictions:

  • For the first 6 months, you may not drive between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
  • For the next 6 months, you may not carry more than one passenger younger than 21 years of age who is not a member of your immediate family.
  • After the first year, you may not carry more than 3 other passengers younger than 21 years of age who are not members of your immediate family.

How to Apply for Georgia Class C Full (Adult) Driver License

Over 18 and never held any type of license or permit or an instructional permit holder? Start with Step 1.
Are you a Class D provisional (teen) license holder? Go to Upgrade my provisional license

1APPLY IN PERSON

You must apply in person at a DDS Customer Service Center. To locate a nearby Customer Service Center, use this map of DDS Customer Service Centers. However, the Customer Service Centers don't all offer the same services. Contact a Customer Service Center to find out what services it offers.

2CERTIFY THAT YOU HAVE PRACTICED DRIVING

Whether you have an instruction permit or you don’t, you must certify that you practiced supervised driving for at least 40 hours, 6 hours of which were at night. To do this, fill out and sign a Driving Experience Affidavit (Form DDS-7) at the Customer Service Center. (This form does not appear to be available online. You will have to pick one up at the Customer Service Center.)

3COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION FORM

You can obtain an application form at the Customer Service Center, or you can fill out the application online ahead of time and bring it with you.

4PASS A VISION TEST

If your visual acuity readings are below 20/60 even with corrective lenses, and a field of vision is less than 140 degrees, you will be asked to have a DS-274 completed by an eye specialist.

5BRING DOCUMENTATION TO VERIFY THE FOLLOWING:

  • Your identity, including your full name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your Social Security number or proof of ineligibility for a Social Security number
  • Your US citizenship (or your legal presence in the US if you are not a US citizen)
  • Your residential address in Georgia

Use this list to select documents.

If you are unable to provide the documentation of your Social Security number or residential address, the DDS may issue you a temporary 120-day license until you can provide DDS with those documents. You don't have to go back to the Center but fax, mail or upload them as instructed here. Just be sure to do this at least 20 days before your temporary 120-day license expires.

6PASS A KNOWLEDGE TEST IF YOU DON’T HOLD AN INSTRUCTION PERMIT

You will take the knowledge exam at a DDS Customer Service Center on a walk-in basis. Every Customer Service Center in the state administers knowledge exams.

7PASS A ROAD TEST

You may take the road test at a DDS Customer Service Center. Make the appointment at a Center or by calling the Reservation Line at (678) 413-8400 and then selecting Option 5 and Option 1. Some certified driving schools also conduct road tests, but they may charge a fee.

8SURRENDER YOUR INSTRUCTION PERMIT IF YOU HAVE ONE

9HAVE YOUR PICTURE TAKEN

10PAY THE DRIVER’S LICENSE FEE

$32.00 ($20.00 for a five-year license for a noncitizen) paid by cash, check or card.

Upgrade my provisional license.

To upgrade your Class D provisional license to a Class C full license visit the Class D to C Upgrade webpage of DDS Online Services and follow the instructions. (To apply online, you must be a US citizen.) Pay a $32 fee by card and your new license will be mailed to you within 7 days. Alternatively visit a DDC customer service center in person.

I have legally changed my name.

If it no longer matches that on your documentation, you must have the Social Security Administration update your name before you provide that documentation to the DDS Customer Service Center. Submit either the original or a certified copy of documentation verifying your change of name. If you are new to Georgia, you must provide documentation of all your past changes of name, not just your most recent one.

For US veterans and their spouses.

If you are a veteran who served in the US armed forces or the National Guard, or the spouse of a disabled veteran without a driver license or the unmarried spouse of a deceased veteran, you may apply for Veterans Driving License or Honorary Driver License. Fill out and submit to DDS a Certificate of Eligibility for Veteran's Driver's License (Form DS-516). If you are currently serving in the National Guard, fill out and submit to DDS a Certificate of Eligibility for Georgia "National Guard" Driver's License (Form DS-318). To obtain any of these licenses, you do not have to pay the usual $32.00 license fee.

Georgia Knowledge Exam

You will take the knowledge exam at a DDS Customer Service Center on a walk-in basis. Every Customer Service Center in the state administers knowledge exams. To locate a nearby Customer Service Center, use this map of DDS Customer Service Centers.
Take a free practice test
What does the exam include?
The exam consists of two tests. The first test covers road signs and is available in several languages. You will have to identify signs, signals and markers. The second test covers rules of the road, which include driver responsibility, laws, and safe driving practices. The road signs test is given in English only. Both tests include multiple-choice questions, where there is one correct and 2 wrong answers.
Do I have to pass both tests to pass the exam?
Yes. If you fail one of them, you fail your knowledge test. You should get at least 15 correct answers out of 20 in each test.
How to prepare for the exam?
Study Georgia Drivers Manual as all questions are based on the information provided in it. Take free practice tests available here. When you feel comfortable with your score, you are ready!
What common mistakes should I avoid?
The most common mistake comes from not knowing enough information out of the manual. This happens when people study solely with practice tests. Make sure you read the manual first. Another problem is rushing through questions. Take your time and remember what you have studied.
What is a good time to arrive at a DDS Customer Service Center?
Choose the time of the day when you feel relaxed and productive, but arrive well before the closing time as the test must begin at least 30 minutes before the Center closes.
What is prohibited in the testing area?
You may not bring cell phones, other types of wireless devices, pens, pencils, paper, or any other items into the testing area . Make sure you don’t speak to anyone but the examiner during the test. Violation of these rules will result in exam failure.
What happens if I fail?
You will have to wait at least one day to retest. If you fail again, the waiting period is extended to 7 days. You should pay a $10 fee each time before the test.

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Road Test

Step-by-Step Guide
What to Expect During Georgia Road Test
You may take the road test at a DDS Customer Service Center. You must make the appointment at a Center or by calling the Reservation Line at (678) 413-8400 and then selecting Option 5 and Option 1. Some certified driving schools also conduct road tests, but they may charge a fee. Some of them may let you take the road test in one of their own vehicles.
Before the test
  • Arrive 20 minutes before your appointment.
  • Bring the vehicle with the following:
    • a valid license plate
    • registration
    • proof of liability insurance
    • If it has a temporary dealership tag, provide the bill of sale for proof of purchase within the last 30 days (7 days if the vehicle is purchased from a third party)
  • If your car doesn’t have turn signals, you will have to pass the road test using hand signals.
  • Your examiner may want to see some basic parts of your car, like brake lights.
  • Buckle up!
During the test
  • Keep both hands on the steering wheel.
  • No elbows on the window
  • Don’t attempt to carry on a conversation with the examiner
  • Listen to the instructions and clarify them if necessary
  • Don’t pay attention to examiner’s writing as he/she will be recording both good and bad points of your driving
  • Signal far in advance
  • Look in the mirrors frequently
  • No driver assistant technology can be used during the test
  • If your car has a manual transmission, shift smoothly and correctly
Maneuvers you’ll be asked to perform
  • Parallel parking: park midway between two standards so that your car is not more than 18 inches from the curb.
  • Straight line backing: back your car for a distance of approximately 50 feet at a slow rate of speed with your head turned to look behind the vehicle. No boundary lines should be crossed.
  • Stop for signs and traffic signals: stop before reaching a pedestrian crosswalk and remain stopped until all pedestrians have cleared the crosswalk on the side of the roadway upon which you are traveling
  • Three-point turn on a narrow street
  • Approaching intersections and corners: be in the proper lane and look in both directions;
  • Yielding right-of-way: always yield right-of-way to pedestrians, other drivers, and bicyclists who move into the intersection before you by stopping and remaining stopped until they have cleared the intersection
  • Passing: check in front of and behind your vehicle to make sure you can pass safely
  • Keeping a safe following distance
End of the test

At the end of the road test, the examiner will show you the score sheet and will provide you an opportunity to discuss the results. You must achieve a minimum score of 75% to pass.

If you fail, you’ll have to wait one day before retaking the test provided it’s your first failure. If it’s your second or subsequent failure, you must wait 7 days before retaking. If you get into a traffic accident or have a traffic violation during the test, your waiting period will be extended to 30 days.

How to Replace or Renew Your Driver's License in Georgia

  • You may renew your driver license in person at a DDS Customer Service Center. However, if you are not eligible to renew online or by mail, you must renew in person.

    To renew in person, you must meet the following requirements and submit the following items to a Customer Service Center:

    1. Fill out an application for a driver license. You can fill out the application online ahead of time or at a Service Center.
    2. Bring documentation to verify the following:

      - Your identity, including your full name
      - Your date of birth
      - Your Social Security number or proof of ineligibility for a Social Security number
      - Your US citizenship (or your legal presence in the US if you are not a US citizen)
      - Your residential address in Georgia

      Use this list to select documents.

    3. Surrender your existing driver license.
    4. Have your picture taken.
    5. Pay the license renewal fee of $32

    Tip! Even if your license expired more than two years ago, you may still be able to renew it, but you will be required to pass a vision test, a knowledge exam, and a road test again.

    Once you meet the above requirements, you’ll be issued an interim (temporary) driver license. Your permanent license should be mailed to you within 30 days.

  • You can renew by mail only if you have not changed your name, renewed in person at a DDS Customer Service Center the last time, and one of the following applies to you:

    1. You are out of Georgia on military duty, or you are the dependent of someone who is.
    2. You are out of Georgia to attend school, or you are the dependent of someone who is.
    3. You are temporarily working out of state, or you are the dependent of someone who is.
    4. You are physically incapacitated and cannot visit any DDS Customer Service Center.

    To renew by mail, do the following:

    1. Download the renew-by-mail application package.
    2. Fill out the forms and mail them to the supplied address along with your payment of the $32.00 renewal fee paid by card, check or money order payable to DDS.

    You will receive your new license in the mail. It takes about ten days for the DDS to process your renewal application after it receives it.

  • You are eligible to renew online only if you meet all of the following requirements:

    1. You are younger than 64 years of age.
    2. You are a US citizen.
    3. Your existing license complies with the new Secure ID requirements. (Georgia started issuing Secure ID compliant driver licenses on July 3, 2012.) Your license is Secure ID compliant if there is a gold star in the upper right-hand corner.
    4. Your license is currently valid, or it expired no longer than two years ago.
    5. Your license has not been suspended, canceled, or revoked.
    6. You have not changed your name.
    7. You renewed in person at a DDS Customer Service Center the last time.
    8. You can pay the renewal fee by credit card or debit card.

    To renew online, go to the License/Identification Card Renewal webpage of DDS Online Services, log in or register an account and pay the $27.00 online renewal fee.

    It takes about 7 days for the DDS to process your renewal application before they mail it to you.

New residents: How to get the Georgia Driver's License

If you hold a noncommercial driver license issued by another US state or a foreign country and you become a resident of Georgia, you must convert your license to a Georgia driver license within 30 days.
Out-of-state license Foreign license
Not sure if you are a resident of Georgia?
Are you a Georgia resident?

Georgia defines a resident of the state as a US citizen or an alien with legal authorization from the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, for whom at least one of the following is true:

  • The person has a permanent home in Georgia and when absent, intends to return.
  • The person accepts employment in Georgia or engages in any trade or occupation in Georgia.
  • The person enrolls his or her children in Georgia schools.
  • The person has been in Georgia for at least 30 days.

I've Got a Valid Out-of-State License

Moving from another US state? Welcome to Georgia!
Moving from another state?
You must transfer your out-of-state license in person at a DDS Customer Service Center. To locate a nearby Customer Service Center, use this map of DDS Customer Service Centers. However, the Customer Service Centers don't all offer the same services. Contact a Customer Service Center to find out what services it offers.
Plan of Action
  1. Fill out an application form. You can fill out the application online ahead of time or at a Service Center.
  2. Bring documentation to verify the following:
    • Your identity, including your full name
    • Your date of birth
    • Your Social Security number or proof of ineligibility for a Social Security number
    • Your US citizenship (or your legal presence in the US if you are not a US citizen)
    • Your residential address in Georgia

    Use this list to select documents.

  3. Pass a vision test.
  4. Surrender your out-of-state driver’s license.
  5. Have your picture taken.
  6. Pay the license fee of $32 ($20 for a 5-year license for non-citizens)

Not able to provide the documentation of your SSN or residential address?

The DDS may issue you a temporary 120-day license until you can provide DDS with those documents. You don't have to go back to the Center but fax, mail or upload them as instructed here. Just be sure to do this at least 20 days before your temporary 120-day license expires.

Have you legally changed your name?

If it no longer matches that on your documentation, you must have the Social Security Administration update your name before you provide that documentation to the DDS Customer Service Center. Submit either the original or a certified copy of documentation verifying your change of name. You must provide documentation of all your past changes of name, not just your most recent one.

driver's license in Georgia

Once you meet the above requirements, the DDS Customer Service Center will issue you an interim (temporary) Georgia driver license. Your permanent license should be mailed to you within 30 days.

I've Got a Valid Foreign License

Moving from another country? Welcome to Georgia!

Unless you are a US citizen, you won't have to surrender your foreign license no matter which country or US territory issued it. The procedure of transferring your foreign driver license is similar to applying for a new Class C Full Driver License. Please start with step one of How to Apply for Georgia Class C Full (Adult) Driver License unless your license was issued by South Korea.

If you hold a South Korean driver license, provide a License Certification Letter from the South Korean Consulate and pass a vision test. You won’t have to take either a knowledge test or a road test. Apply in person at a DDS Customer Service Center. To locate a nearby Customer Service Center, use this map of DDS Customer Service Centers.

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