License Requirements & Restrictions

Requirement to obtain a Georgia Driver’s License

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.
  • 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 below of this manual;
  • Any person who is operating a personal transportation vehicle on any roadway publicly maintained for the use of personal transportation vehicles 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:
    1. 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
    2. 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.

Applicants under age 18 — automobile or motorcycle

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; see Teen Driving Laws for requirements;
  • 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 Teen Driving Laws of this manual or on our website at dds.georgia.gov.

Previous Licenses, Instructional Permits or Identification Cards

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.

Vision Requirements

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.

Classes of Licenses

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.

Fees/Forms of Payment

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 online or via DDS 2 Go. All DDS Customer Service Centers accept cash, Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards with a bank logo, and Discover and American Express credit cards and mobile pay options. We do not accept checks, money orders, or cashier checks.

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 Other Services & Information.

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.

License Restrictions

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.

Expired License

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 Secure ID Documentation Requirements for more information about Secure ID requirements.

Carrying and Displaying Your License

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.