General Licensing Information
Georgia law requires that any person wanting to operate a motor vehicle on the roadways of this state obtain a Georgia driver’s license or permit within 30 days of becoming a resident. A person meeting at least one of the following criteria is considered a Georgia resident according to Georgia law (O.C.G.A. §40-5-1):
- A person who has a permanent home or abode in Georgia and, when absent, has the intent of returning;
- A person who accepts employment or engages in any trade or occupation in Georgia or who enters his/her children in school;
- Any person that has been in the state for 30 days or more.
Not required to obtain a Georgia Driver’s License/Permit
- Any employee of the United States government who is operating a motor vehicle owned by or leased to the United States government or that is being operated on official business. This exemption does not apply if the employee is required by the United States government or any agency of the United States Government to have a state driver’s license;
- A nonresident who is at least 16 years of age and who has in his or her immediate possession a valid license issued to him or her in his or her home state or country. However, any restrictions that would apply to a Georgia driver’s license as a matter of law would apply to any person who has an out-of-state license. If the license is in a language other than English, a valid international driving permit must also be carried at all times;
- A nonresident who is on active duty in the armed forces of the United States if he or she has a valid license issued by his or her home state. This includes their spouse or dependent son or daughter who has a valid license issued by their home state;
- Any person who is on active duty in the armed forces of the United States and who has in his or her immediate possession a valid license issued in a foreign country by the armed forces of the United States. However, this license will only be accepted for a period of not more than 45 days from the date of his or her return to the United States;
- Any person temporarily driving or operating a farm tractor or farm equipment on a highway for the purpose of conducting farm business;
- Any member of the reserve components of the armed forces of the United States who is operating a motor vehicle owned by or leased to the United States government. However, the motor vehicle must be operated in accordance with the duties of the person as a member of the reserve components of the armed forces;
- Any person seeking to obtain a driver’s license while he or she is taking the driving examination to obtain a license. This person must be accompanied by a driver examiner of the department or a certified examining agent of the department;
- Any migrant farm worker who works in this state less than 90 days in any calendar year and who possesses a valid driver’s license issued by another state;
- Any resident who is 15 years of age or over while taking actual in-car training in a non-commercial training vehicle and while under the direct personal supervision of a DDS-licensed driving instructor. A driving instructor must test the eyesight of any unlicensed person who will be receiving actual in-car training prior to the training, and the person must meet the vision requirements listed on page 8 of this manual;
- Any person who is operating a motorized cart on any roadway publicly maintained for the use of motorized carts only, or when crossing a street or highway used by other types of motor vehicles at a location designated for such crossing by a motorized cart;
- A nonresident of Georgia who is attending a school in this state, as long as:
- He or she is at least 16 years of age and has in his or her immediate possession a valid license issued to him or her in his or her home state or country and a valid international driving permit if the license is in a language other than English; provided, however, that any restrictions which would apply to a Georgia driver’s license apply to the privileges given to this person; and
- He or she is currently enrolled or was enrolled during the immediately preceding period of enrollment in a school in this state, has paid the tuition charged by the school to nonresidents of Georgia for the current or immediately preceding period of enrollment, and has in his or her possession proof of payment of such tuition paid for the current or immediately preceding period of enrollment.
In addition to the requirements listed above, applicants under 18 years of age must present proof of the following:
- All applicants under 18 years of age must have a parent, legal guardian or responsible adult present to sign the application and complete a Responsible Adult Affidavit;
- Completion of Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP);
- Satisfaction of school enrollment;
- For a Class D license or for a Class M Instructional Permit (MP) at age 16, proof of completion of a DDS-approved driver education program;
- For a Class D license or a Class M Instructional Permit (MP) at age 16, evidence of at least forty (40) hours of supervised driving, six of which must be at night.
Additional details concerning these requirements can be found on pages 30-32 of this manual or on our website at dds.georgia.gov.
In most cases, when applying for renewal, replacement or transfer of any license, instructional permit, or identification card (ID Card) previously issued in Georgia or any other state or foreign jurisdiction, customers must surrender, the previously-issued license/permit/ID to DDS. In some cases, surrender of all valid licenses/permits/ID cards will be required.
Most non-citizen customers with a valid out of country driver’s license, permit, or ID, may retain their out of country document upon issuance of a Georgia-equivalent document. U.S. citizens will not be allowed to retain any licenses, permits, or identification cards issued to them by foreign countries.
In the interest of highway safety, DDS must ensure that all persons seeking to obtain a Georgia driver’s license are physically and mentally capable of safely operating a motor vehicle. Therefore, you must answer questions truthfully concerning your health. If you now have, or have ever had, any physical or mental disability or disease which could interfere with your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, you may be required to complete the medical review process.
Customers for initial issuance of a driver’s license must demonstrate the ability to meet minimum vision requirements. The minimum acceptable vision for a non-commercial license is 20/60 in one eye, with or without corrective lenses, and a horizontal field of vision of at least 140 degrees. If you are unable to pass the vision screening administered at the DDS Customer Service Center, you will be given a Vision Report Form (DS-274) which must be completed by a licensed optometrist or opthalmologist and submitted to DDS. The completed form will be evaluated to determine if you are eligible to obtain a driver’s license. This form may also be used to document the need for bioptic lenses for driving and is available on our website, dds.georgia.gov.
If you must wear glasses or contacts to pass your initial vision screening, a corrective lenses restriction will be placed on your license when it is issued. Each time you complete a transaction, you will be required to indicate whether you require glasses or contacts for driving. If your answer differs from the response in our records, you may be required to complete another vision screening or submit a current DS-274 for verification.
Customers age 64 and over must successfully complete a vision screening every eight years. Customers who have obtained a license with a bioptic lenses restriction must provide updated medical information to the Department every two years.
The issuance of licenses and permits in Georgia is based on their categorization by Class. The various classes are associated with the types of vehicles that may be driven and the restrictions that apply to operation of those vehicles. Listed below are the non-commercial classes used in Georgia, along with a description of their purpose.
Pursuant to House Bill 136 (2017), three- wheel autocycles will not require a Class M Motorcycle Operator’s License. Autocycles are defined as three-wheel motor vehicles that are equipped with a steering wheel and not handlebars. DDS will not administer road tests that involve the use of an autocycle.
Georgia also issues Class A, B, and C commercial licenses. Information concerning these licenses is included in the Georgia Commercial Drivers Manual, available at all DDS Customer Service Centers and on our website at dds.georgia.gov.
The fees for obtaining non-commercial driver’s licenses, permits, and ID cards in person are listed below. This fee schedule is not adjusted to reflect the $5.00 discount for those who choose to renew by internet. All DDS Customer Service Centers accept cash, checks, money orders, Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards with a bank logo, and Discover and American Express credit cards.
License, permit and ID card holders are allowed one free name or address change per issuance term. Other changes can also be made at the time of the free name or address change at no charge. Any subsequent modifications require a full renewal at regular cost. Name changes must be in accordance with the requirements listed on page 20.
A replacement driver’s license, permit or ID card is a duplicate of the replaced document (no modifications or changes) and may be provided at a cost of $5.00 per occurrence. The replacement license/permit/ID card will expire on the original expiration date. However, if a replacement is requested within 150 days of the original expiration date (or within 30 days of the original expiration date for a motorcyle instructional permit), the license/permit/ID must be renewed for a new term at full cost.
When issuing a driver’s license, DDS is authorized to impose restrictions on your driver’s license, whenever there is good cause, to assure the safe operation of a motor vehicle. Any restrictions imposed will appear on your driver’s license. If no restrictions are imposed, the letter “A” will appear in the License Restrictions area on your license. The chart to the right lists the restriction codes used by DDS. Licenses may be issued with multiple restriction codes.
To renew a driver’s license that has been expired more than two years, you must pass a vision test, a driving test, and an exam to test your knowledge of road signs and road rules.You must also meet Secure ID documentation requirements if you have not already done so. See pages 10-11 for more information about Secure ID requirements.
You must have an appropriate driver’s license or permit in your possession while operating a motor vehicle in the State of Georgia. If stopped while driving, you must display your driver’s license/permit to any law enforcement officer upon his or her request.
|Non-commercial license for drivers age 18 and older. (Also for drivers new to Georgia who are age 17 and who hold a valid Class C equivalent from another state.)|
|Provisional license issued to drivers ages 16 and 17.|
|License for motorcycle operators.|
|Non-commercial license for drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles and who are exempt from commercial licensing requirements. (Effective 1/1/2015, Class E & F licenses are free for volunteer firefighters.)|
CP, MP, EP, FP
|All instructional permits are issued with the class designation followed by the letter “P.”|
License, Permit, and
|Driver’s License (Class A, B, C, E, F, and M)|| |
|Driver’s License (Class E and F) for Volunteer Firefighters|| |
|Provisional License (Class D)|| |
|Instructional Permit (Class A, B, C and M)|| |
6 mth – 2 yr
|Replacement Duplicate License/Permit/ID Card*|| |
|National Guard License|| |
|Veteran License (Combat Veteran)|| |
|Veteran License (Non-Combat) Class A, B, C and M|| |
|Honorary License|| |
|Controlled Substance Permit|| |
Up to 3 yr
|Habitual Violator Probationary License|| |
Up to 3 yr
|Limited Permit|| |
Up to 1 yr
|Georgia ID Card|| |
|Georgia ID Card for Voting Purposes Only (must provide proof of valid voter registration)|| |
|HVPL/Limited Permit Replacement|| |
|Limited Permit Renewal|| |
Equal to Original Term of Permit
|Veteran ID Card (Combat Veteran)|| |
|Veteran ID Card (Non-Combat Veteran)|| |
|Handicap ID Card|| |
|Address or Name Change|| |
Free Once per Term
DDS License Restriction Codes
|corrective lenses required|
|vehicle mechanical aids required|
|prosthetic aids required|
|no manual transmission equipped CMV|
|right exterior mirror required|
|daylight hours only|
|employer vehicle only|
|left exterior mirror required|
|automatic transmission required|
|intrastate commerce only|
|no air brake equipped CMV|
|no class A passenger buses|
|no class A or B passenger buses|
|no tractor trailer CMV|
|no passengers in CMV bus|
|no passengers allowed|
|power brakes or steering required|
|accompanied by disabled parent|
|accompanied by visually impaired parent|
|valid farm waiver required|
|no cargo in CMV tank vehicle|
|hearing aid required|
|no full air brake|
|interlock for 2nd DUI permit|
|bioptic lenses required|
|personal vehicle only|
|Ignition Interlock Device restrictions apply|
|HPVL restrictions apply, no interlock|
|business purpose only|
|to and from medical only|
|to and from school only|
|Ignition Interlock required|
|limited permit, no interlock|
Bring 1 of the following documents:
- U.S. Birth Certificate, Amended or Delayed Birth Certificate – Original or certified copy (Includes U.S territories and the District of Columbia). Note – ‘Keepsake’ birth certificates issued by hospitals are not acceptable;
- U.S. Passport or Passport Card – Expired less than 10 years.
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by U.S. Department of State (FS-240, FS-545 or DS-1350);
- State of Georgia Certificate of Foreign Birth
- Certificate of Naturalization (N-550, N-570), Original or certified copy;
- Certificate of Citizenship (N-560, N-561), Original or certified copy;
- U.S. Military Discharge Papers (For customers born prior to 01/01/1940;)
- Statement from Social Security Administration Containing Customer’s Name and DOB (For customers born prior to 01/01/1940 – must prove U.S. citizenship. If the document does not indicate where the customer was born, the customer must still provide proof of U.S. citizenship.)
If the name on your proof of identity document does not match the current name on your Driver’s License or ID Card, please provide one of the following:
- U.S. Passport or Passport Card – Expired less than 10 years;
- Divorce Decree – Stating the name change, Original or certified copy;
- Court Order for Legal Name Change – Original or certified copy;
- Court Adoption Document – Original or certified copy;
- Marriage Certificate/License – Original or certified copy;
Note – Photocopy is acceptable for those customers who hold a valid GA Driver’s License or ID – Card
As of June 26, 2015, same-sex marriage is recognized in the State of Georgia.
- Marriage License Application – Original or certified copy.
Existing Georgia Customers may use the following for proving name change due to marriage if they cannot locate their Marriage certificate or if it is a Church issued certificate. Please redact account numbers.
- Social Security Administration document showing married name plus one of the following:
- Bank Account/Financial Statement in married name (please redact account number);
- Death Certificate for Spouse;
- W-2 Form in married name;
- Federal/State Tax Return in married name;
- Medicare or Medicaid Card in married name;
- Property Deed, Property Tax Bill or Vehicle Registration in married name;
- Military ID Card or Military Dependent ID Card in married name.
Existing Georgia Customers whose names have changed for reasons other than marriage who hold a valid GA Driver’s License or ID Card must present the original or certified document which supports the most recent name change;
Customers who are new to Georgia must provide the complete trail of original or certified documents which support ALL name changes or a valid U.S. Passport or Passport Card with the current name.
Bring 1 of the following documents:
- Social Security card – Original or copy;
- Print-out from SSA with your name and SSN;
- W-2 from employer showing your name and full or partial SSN;
- Paycheck stub showing your name and full or partial SSN;
- SSA-1099 or Non-SSA-1099 form showing your name and full or partial SSN;
- Federal/State Tax Return with your name and SSN **Also acceptable for proof of SSN for Dependents**
- Medicare / Medicaid card with your name and SSN;
- Annual Social Security Statement available at http://www.ssa.gov/mystatement/;
- SSA Print-out with office stamp, SSA employee signature, and your name and SSN;
- Selective Service Notice with your name and SSN;
- Military Discharge Papers (DD214) or Military ID with your name and SSN.
Bring 2 from any of the following document categories:
The two documents must be from separate sources or separate accounts (please redact account numbers).
The documents must show your name and current residential address. P.O. Boxes do not prove residency.
- Household Information – From current or preceding calendar year – Mortgage, payment coupon, Lease, deed, HUD settlement statement, escrow statement, property tax bill, Homeowners insurance policy or premium bill, title search documentation or Military housing agreement letter. Current (dated within past 2 years) valid rental contract/agreement, rent payment receipt for a home, apartment, mobile home, dorm, extended stay motel.
- Any physical postmarked mail delivered by the U.S.P.S.
- Documents Issued by Federal, State or Local Governments – From current or preceding calendar year – Social Security documentation, Annual Benefits statement, Numident record, Social Security check. Government assistance documents such as Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance claims, Disability, WIC, Georgia or Federal Income Tax Return or refund check, Voter Registration card, unexpired firearms license, unexpired Merchant Marine license, I-797A, I-797C, correspondence from DDS, USPS Change of Address confirmation, Jury Summons, Military discharge benefit statement, and other documents issued by Federal/State/Municipal government.
- Financial Statements/Utility Bills – Dated within previous 2 years, please redact account numbers. Financial statement for bank/credit union account, investment account, credit card account or loan/credit financing. Utility bill for services installed at your residential address (water, sewer, gas, electricity, cable/satellite TV, Internet, telephone/cell phone, or garbage collection). Please redact account number.
- Motor Vehicle Information – Vehicle Registration or Title, Insurance policy or Insurance Card with address displayed.
- Georgia Driver’s License – Valid GA Driver’s License or ID card with current address (valid means unexpired or expired less than two years). Minors and dependents, unexpired GA driver’s license, permit or ID card issued to parent, guardian or spouse residing in same household. For dependent parents, unexpired GA driver’s license, permit or ID card issued to a relative residing in the same household.
- Employer Documentation – From current or preceding calendar year – Employer verification including paycheck, paycheck stub, letter from employer on company letterhead or W-2 form.
- School Records – School record/transcript for the current or prior school year, report card, student loan documentation, or form DS-1.
- Medical Statements – From current or preceding calendar year – Health insurance statement, explanation of benefits (EOB) for a claim, or a health care bill/invoice.
- Other accepted documents: Department of Corrections Residency Verification Form (DS-752); Refugee Address Verification Affidavit (DS-20); letter from a shelter, half-way house, or other similar facility on letterhead, dated within the last six months. **Accepted as stand-alone proof of residency.
If Stopped by Law Enforcement…
Pull to the nearest/safest spot out of traffic, use your turn signal, and remember SAFETY.
- S – Stay calm and remain in the vehicle (unless instructed otherwise). Keep your seat belt fastened, and roll the window down completely.
- A – Always keep both hands visible to the officer. Driver’s hands should be on the steering wheel. Turn on interior lights if stopped at night.
- F – Focus on the officer. Turn off the radio, put down any mobile devices, and be courteous even if you disagree.
- E – Explanations can be made in court, not on the road side. Do NOT argue with the officer.
- T – Tell the officer where your documents (i.e. driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration) are located. Take out your documents only after the officer’s request.
- Y – You should NOT make sudden moves or threatening gestures. Inform the officer if there is a weapon in the vehicle and where. Do NOT reach for the weapon.
Things You Should Know
- If the officer is not in uniform or does not have a marked patrol car, you should ask for identification.
- The officer may approach the driver’s side or passenger side of the vehicle. Do not be alarmed; he or she will approach in the safest manner.
- If you receive a citation in Georgia, you will be asked to sign it.
- Signing the citation is NOT an admission of guilt. It only means that you received a citation for a violation.
- Any refusal to sign the citation could result in you being arrested and taken to jail to post a bond.
- You will be given a court date to argue your case.
- You should not discard your copy of the citation.
Save Time, Go Online—Try DDS Online Services!
License, Permit, and ID Card Services*
- Reinstate your driver’s license
- Renew your driver’s license, permit or ID card;
- Replace a lost driver’s license, permit, or ID card;
- Upgrade a Class D license to a Class C license;
- Change your address;
- Request an ID card (must have valid license or permit on file);
- Check license status and moving violation points;
- Submit proof of residency and/or SSN;
- Check CDL Self Certification and Medical Documents status;
- Get suspension information.
Other Services Available*
- Immediately create a secure user account and track updates to your license status;
- Conduct multiple services at one time;
- View and/or download a copy of your driving history (MVR);
- Request a certified driving history (MVR);
- Pay ‘Failure to Appear’ fee or reinstate a ‘Failure to Appear’ suspension;
- Make an appointment for a road test (non-commercial or motorcycle);
- Pay ‘Super Speeder’ fee or reinstate a ‘Super Speeder’ suspension;
- Take a practice written test for a regular driver’s license;
- Download the most recent version of the Drivers Manual;
- Skip A Step! (Complete Online Form);
- Apply for For-Hire license endorsement;
- Register for a Motorcycle Safety course.
*Online services are available if all requirements are met, including completion of Secure ID requirements (see pages 10-11 for details).