The Road to Getting your Georgia Driver's License
While the road to earning your driver's license in Georgia may seem like a winding one, we are here to help simplify and explain the process to you step-by-step. Here you'll find a roadmap to earning your driver's license that includes everything you'll need to know to be prepared. So, read on, relax and enjoy the ride — becoming a safe driver is a very rewarding and exciting journey!
What You Need to Know
Georgia operates under a graduated driver's license (GDL) process, which means there are three steps teenagers need to take to become a fully licensed driver. The Teenage & Adult Driver's Responsibility Act (TADRA), established this process and applies to teens between the ages of 15–18. The three steps are outlined for you below:
Step 1: How to Get Your Instructional Permit (Also known as a Learner's Permit)
Please note that your permit is valid for two years.
1) Meet age requirements
You must be at least 15 years old before applying for a Georgia Instructional Permit.
2) Visit your local DDS
In Georgia, a learner's permit is called a Class CP Instructional Permit, and, to obtain one, you will need to visit your local DDS and bring the following with you:
- Parent, guardian, or authorized driver's ed instructor who will sign the application
- Remember: the signer may revoke the teen's driver's license at any time until he or she turns 18
- Identification documentation:
- Social security number (including your W-2)
- Proof of Georgia residency
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship or proof of lawful status in the USA
- Residential address
- Completed Certificate of Attendance (DS-1 form)
- Must be notarized & signed by your school
- Document is only valid for 30 days
- $10 payable by credit or debit card, check, cash, or money order
Note: all documents must be in English.
3) Complete necessary exams
Before you're given a permit, you must prove to have sufficient eyesight and will be required to pass an eye exam. If needed, you are permitted to wear glasses or contacts when taking the exam.
You must take and complete a written knowledge exam. The exam is 40 questions divided into two sections: road signs and road rules. You must pass each section with at least 75% (meaning, 15 correct answers).
Keep in mind that after you obtain your learner's permit you may only drive a standard passage vehicle and you must have someone 21 years or older with you that is capable of driving until you obtain your provisional license.
Step 2: How to Get Your Provisional Driver's (Class D) License (Also referred to as Intermediate Driver's License)
1) Meet State Requirements
To obtain a Provisional License, or a Class D License, you must:
- Have held a permit for at least 12 months and 1 day (you can complete your education requirement during this time)
- Be at least 16 years old
- Complete the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP)
- Satisfy the 30-hour education requirement (this is the 30-Hour Georgia Driver Education Course provided by American Safety Council)
- We provide a free Certificate of Completion via email that you will need to bring with you to the DDS
- Have not had an Instructional Permit suspended
- Complete 40-hours of supervised behind-the-wheel practice, including 6 hours at night
2) Complete the Georgia Driver's Ed Requirements
There are three education requirements that must be met before you're issued a Class D Driver's License: 30-hours of classroom instruction, 6-hours of on-the-road experience and 40-hours of other driving experiences.
30-Hour Classroom Requirement
To satisfy Joshua's Law, all teens age 16 seeking a Class D License must complete a 30-hour, DDS-approved driver education course. This can be done through classroom instruction or through an online virtual driver ed course.
If you complete the course through a private sector such as American Safety Council, you can get up to a $150 in tax credit.
Failure to take this class means you will not be issued a Provisional License until you are 17 years old, though you still must meet the other requirements.
Supervised Driving Requirement
Teens have two options to choose from: You must complete 6-hours of on-the-road experience conducted by a DDS-certified instructor and 40-hours of driving experience or complete the DDS-approved Parent-Teen Driving Guide, which satisfies both requirements.
Parent-Teen Driving Guide
The Parent-Teen Driving Guide is a handbook that guides parents and teens through in-car lessons to help teens complete the 40-hour driving experience requirement. This can be used in conjunction with a 30-hour Joshua's Law course.
3) Apply for your Provisional Driver's (Class D) License
Once you've completed the first two steps, it's time to apply for your license. Here's what to bring with you to the DDS:
- Learner's permit (you will be asked to turn it in)
- Identification documents
- Proof of identity
- Proof of Social security number
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship or of lawful status in the USA
- DDS Certified of School Enrollment (DS-1 form)
- Must be signed and notarized by your school
- Document is only valid for 30 days
- Parent/guardian, who will sign your application
- $10 road rest fee
- Completion certificate for the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP) or Electronic Alcohol Drug and Awareness Program (eADAP) course
Once again, you will have to pass a vision test before your license is issued.
You must supply your own vehicle and provide proof of insurance and registration. You must get at least a 75% to pass. If you fail the test, you must wait one day before taking it again. If you fail the second time, you must wait seven days after each failure before you can attempt the test again.
Provisional License Conditions & Restrictions
While you are now a legally licensed driver, there are still restrictions on your license that must be met:
- Between midnight and 5:00 am you may not drive
- Only immediate family members may ride with you for the first six months
- After the first six months and during the following six months, you may have one passenger who is not a family member with you in the car
- Once you have held your Class D License for a year, you may have up to three passengers under the age of 21 ride with you
- During the last 12 months, you may not have any convictions or major traffic violations on your record
Step 3: How to Get Your Full (Class C) Driver's License
Provisional Driver's (Class D) License Holders
If you followed all of the above steps in Georgia's GDL program, your Class C License is easy to obtain. Here's what you need to do:
- Pay a $32 licensing fee
- Have held your Provisional Driver's (Class D) License for at least a year
- Not have been convicted of any major traffic violations within the last 12 months.
You can simply exchange your Class D license for a Class C in-person at your DDS Customer Service Center or online through the DDS online services websites.
Class CP Learner's Permit Holders
If you did not take a driver education course and are just holding a Class CP Learner's Permit, then you must meet the same provisions as detailed above for obtaining a Provisional License. The only difference is you must be at least 18 years old. This includes taking a road test, vision exam, completing 40-hours of behind the wheel practice, etc.
No License Holders
If you do not have any sort of license but are at least 18 years old, you can obtain your Class C License by fulfilling all the requirements for getting a Learner's Permit and Provisional License, excluding only the classroom education requirement.