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):
Not required to obtain a Georgia Driver’s License/Permit
In addition to the requirements listed above, applicants under 18 years of age must present proof of the following:
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. You will be asked 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. If the answer is yes, you will be required to show a statement of health from your physician indicating that you are physically and mentally capable of safely operating a motor vehicle.
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 field of vision of at least 140 degrees. If you are unable to pass the vision screening administered at the 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, www.dds.ga.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 five 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.
Georgia also issues Class A, B, and C commercial licenses. Information concerning these licenses is included in the Georgia Commercial Driver’s Manual, available at all Customer Service Centers and on our website at www.dds.ga.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, 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 here.
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 knowledge exam consisting of a road signs test and a road rules test, an actual driving test and a vision test, if applicable. You must also meet Secure ID documentation requirements if you have not already done so. See 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.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.