Guide to Getting a Georgia Driver's License

Georgia has a tiered licensing program, with three stages of driver's licenses. They begin with a Learner's Permit to a Provisional License to a full Driver's License.

Learner's Permit

Getting a Learner's Permit

Georgia residents can apply for a learner's permit starting at age 15. To get this permit, also called a Class CP Instructional Permit, teens will need to bring a number of documents with them, pay a $10 fee, pass a vision test, and pass a test based on road signs and road rules. All of the necessary components needed to receive a learner's permit are as follows:

  • Documentation showing your identity, residential address, full social security number, and U.S. citizenship or proof of lawful status in the United States. A complete Checklist of All Accepted Documents can be found here.
  • A Georgia DDS Certificate of School Enrollment (DS-1) must be signed and notarized from your school. This document is only valid for 30 days.
    • All applicants under the age of 18 not enrolled in school must provide a high school diploma, GED, special diploma, certification of high school completion, or proof of enrollment in a GED program or a postsecondary school.
  • All documents presented must be in English.
  • If you are under the age of 18, you are required to have a parent/guardian, responsible adult or authorized Driver Training Instructor to sign the application for the driver's license. Responsible adult only applies to emancipated applicants with court ordered documentation. The signer of the application has the authority to request the driver's license be revoked at any time before your 18th birthday.
  • Any out of state permits, licenses, or ID cards must be surrendered. If the teen held a license or permit in another state and the card has been lost or stolen, a certified copy of the teen's driving record or motor vehicle report, dated within the last 30 days, from the issuing state is also required.
  • Sufficient eyesight. You will have to pass a vision test, conducted by a mechanical device. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you can wear them for the vision test as well.
  • $10 to pay the charge for taking the knowledge exam. This fee can be paid by cash, check, or card and is not refundable. If you fail the test, you will have to pay another $10 to retake it.
  • A passing score in the knowledge exam. This test is divided into two parts: a road signs exam and a road rules exam. Each portion is 20 questions, and each part must be passed by getting at least 15 questions correct in each. JoshuasLaw.com offers a free practice test to help you prepare.

Conditions of a Learner's Permit

A Georgia learner's permit allows you to drive a standard passenger vehicle only with supervision. You must have someone sitting next to you over the age of 21 who has their license and is physically able to drive at the time. The permit is valid for a period of two years.

Provisional License

Getting a Provisional License

Georgia residents are eligible to get a Provisional License, also called a Class D license, when they turn 16 and have had a learner's permit for a year. You must also fulfill each of the following requirements to receive a provisional license.

  • Bring your learner's permit with you and turn it in when you apply for the provisional license.
  • Bring documentation showing your identity, residential address, full social security number, and U.S. citizenship or proof of lawful status in the United States. A complete Checklist of All Accepted Documents can be found here.
  • A Georgia DDS Certificate of School Enrollment (DS-1) must be signed and notarized from your school. This document is only valid for 30 days.
    • All applicants under the age of 18 not enrolled in school must provide a high school diploma, GED, special diploma, certification of high school completion, or proof of enrollment in a GED program or a postsecondary school.
  • Bring a parent or legal guardian to sign the application.
  • Certificate of Completion for the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP) or Electronic Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (eADAP) course.
  • Pay $10, the fee for taking the road test.
  • Bring any out of state permits, licenses, or ID cards which must be surrendered. If you held a license or permit in another state and the card has been lost or stolen, a certified copy of your driving record or motor vehicle report, dated within the last 30 days, from the issuing state is also required.
  • Successfully complete a road test. This is designed to test your ability to drive a vehicle. You must supply your own vehicle for the test and provide proof of insurance and registration for it. A passing score is 75%. It will present scenarios common to driving that should be learned while using the learner's permit, so make sure to practice all of the skills found on the Suggested Driving Skills Checklist found on JoshuasLaw.com. If you fail the road test, you must wait at least one day to retake it. After every subsequent failure, you will have to wait at least seven days before you can take the test again.
  • Successfully complete of the driver education requirements. To satisfy this requirement, you must meet the following conditions:
    • Complete 30 hours of classroom instruction OR complete an online virtual driver ed course approved by Department of Driver Services (DDS) . If you do not complete one of these courses, you cannot get your provisional license until you reach 17 years of age;
      • Note that completing these courses can also make you eligible for savings. Parents or guardians are eligible for a tax credit of up to $150 if their child successfully completes the course, with the amount being equal to the amount paid for the course. You may also be eligible for a discount on insurance for successfully completing the course; check with your insurance company for any potential savings. For more information, see our discount page.
    • Complete 6 hours of on-the-road experience with a certified instructor OR complete the DDS-approved Parent-Teen Driving Guide;
    • Complete at least an additional 40 hours of other driving experience, including six hours of driving at night OR complete the DDS-approved Parent-Teen Driving Guide.
      • Note that completing the Parent-Teen Driving Guide satisfies each of the previous two requirements. A parent or legal guardian has to sign a form certifying that all of the conditions of the Guide have been met.

Conditions of a Provisional License

Drivers with a Class D Provisional License have the following restrictions:

  • You may not drive between midnight and 5:00 am for any reason.
  • During the first six months of driving with the provisional license, the only people allowed to ride in the car with you are immediate family members.
  • During the second six months of driving with the provisional license, an additional passenger other than family members may ride in the car with you that is under the age of 21.
  • After those first 12 months, up to three passengers under the age of 21 who are not part of your immediate family may ride in the car with you.
  • For the last 12 months of your provisional license before you apply for a full license, you must not have any convictions for a major traffic violation that results in a suspension of your license.

Getting Your Driving Privileges Suspended

There are certain restrictions that can get your license suspended for any Georgia driver under the age of 21. The first suspension will be for six months, and any conviction after that will be for 12 months. Being convicted of any of the following driving offenses results in an automatic suspension.

  • Hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident in violation.
  • Racing on highways or streets.
  • Using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer.
  • Reckless driving.
  • Any offense for which four or more points are assessable.
    • Unlawful passing of a school bus.
    • Improper passing on a hill or curve.
    • Exceeding the speed limit by 24 miles per hour or more.
    • Aggressive Driving.
  • Purchasing an alcoholic beverage.
  • Misrepresenting age for purpose of illegally obtaining any alcoholic beverage.
  • Misrepresenting identity or using false identification for purpose of purchasing or obtaining any alcoholic beverage.
  • The driver's license of any person under 18 years of age who has accumulated a violation point count of four or more points within any 12 month period.

While it won't result in a suspension, drivers under the age of 18 are completely prohibited from using wireless devices while driving, including using cell phones, computers, or any texting device. Each time you are convicted of using a wireless device, you will receive one point on your record, and you will be fined $150 or $300 if you were involved in an accident while using the device.

Additionally, Georgia has strict zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving. Drivers convicted of operating a vehicle with a BAC or .08 or higher will face a 12 month license suspension on the first offense.

Full License

A full driver's license, also known as a Class C License, is available to Georgia drivers once they turn 18 years old. Different steps are necessary to receive a full license depending on what license (if any) you have when you apply for it. In any case, to receive a Class C License, it will cost $32 for an 8-year license.

If you have a valid Class D (Provisional) License, you can simply exchange it for the Class C (Full) License. You must have had the provisional license for at least one year and not been convicted of any major traffic violations in the last 12 months. If you meet those criteria, you do not need any other documents or testing if you are a U.S. citizen.

If you have a valid Class CP Learner's Permit, you can obtain a full license without ever getting a provisional license. However, you will have to meet some of the same requirements as you would in applying for a provisional license. You will need to pass a road test and you must verify that you have completed 40 hours of supervised driving, including six hours of driving at night.

If you do not have a license, you will need to meet the qualifications for both the learner's permit and provisional license applications. You will need to provide proof of identity, eligibility, and Georgia residence, as well as pass the written two-part knowledge exam, pass the road test, pass the vision test, and sign a waiver that you have completed 40 hours of supervised driving, including six hours of driving at night. You may also apply for a learner's permit to provide you with the experience necessary to meet all of those qualifications.

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