How to Get a Georgia Driver’s License
The Georgia Graduated Driver License program, also known as GDL or Joshua’s Law, will give you time to learn how to drive in a controlled way. There are three stages to this program, from no Georgia license to a full license.
Completing the Georgia GDL takes about a year. First, you’ll complete a Georgia DDS approved driver training course for your learner’s permit. Then, 40 hours of supervised driving for a Georgia provisionary license. Drive with it until you turn 18 to receive your full under-21 Georgia license.
The steps below have the details you’ll need to know in order to get your full, unrestricted Georgia license.
Get your Georgia learner’s permit
You can start the process to get your Georgia license at 15. To get ready for driving, you can download the Georgia Driver’s Handbook and start reading through it. At your local DDS (Department of Driver Services) location, you’ll need to fill out an application, bring in proof of identity, and pay a fee of $10 by debit card or check.
Before being issued your GA learner’s permit, you’ll have to pass a vision screening and a written knowledge test. The knowledge test consists of two sections: the Road Rules test and the Road Signs
test. You must get 15 out of 20 questions correct on each test to pass. Consider working through some practice exams before you take it.
If you fail, you’ll need to wait one day to retest, or at least seven days on subsequent failed attempts.
When you pass, you will be given an official paper which is your Georgia learner’s permit. You’ll need to have that with you every time you’re behind the wheel.
You have to have your Georgia permit for at least a year before you can apply for a provisionary license. During that time, you’ll need to have 40 hours of driving practice with 6 hours of those being at night. There are also limits to your Georgia permit and they are as follows:
- You can only drive a regular vehicle with a person who is:
- At least 21 years of age
- Licensed to drive a Class C vehicle
- That person must be fit and capable of taking control over the vehicle
- And must be sitting in the seat beside the driver
This is the point also where you’ll need to get driving instruction. The options for this include parent or guardian, responsible adult, or authorized driver training instructor. The Georgia DDS approved driver education “Joshua’s Law” course is 30 hours of classroom instruction and 6 hours behind the wheel training at the certified school.
If you’re ready to enroll in a Georgia driver’s education program, find a driving school to get started.
Once you’ve completed the required amount of instruction, you can apply for your Georgia provisionary license.
Getting your Georgia provisionary license
Receiving your Georgia provisionary license requires that you’ve completed certain requirements. Those are reaching the age of 16.
Driving Skills Test: You will be required to pass a driving test with a DDS evaluator who will make sure you can perform basic driving tasks safely.
Before you take it, you should check out the Top 10 Automatic Fails on Driver Tests, so you’ll know what not to do on test day.
Once you’re ready, you can schedule a behind-the wheel test at your nearest Department of Driver Services location.
If you fail this test, you’ll need to wait one day to retest, or at least seven days on subsequent failed attempts.
Vision Test: You will need to take a vision test. If you need glasses be sure you’re wearing them.
The application fee for your license is $10
Your Georgia license will be mailed to you and will have your photograph on it. They take your picture the day you pass your driving skills test. This license will come with the following restrictions:
- during the first six-month period after issuance, cannot operate a motor vehicle with any passenger who is not a member of the driver’s immediate family (defined as the license holder’s parents and step-parents, grandparents, siblings, and step-siblings, children, and any other person who resides at the license holder’s residence)
- during the second six-month period after issuance, cannot operate a motor vehicle with more than one passenger under the age of 21 who is not a member of the driver’s immediate family, and
- for the remainder of the Class D license period, cannot operate a motor vehicle when more than three passengers under the age of 21 are not members of the driver’s immediate family.
As you continue to learn how to operate a motor vehicle in different conditions, there are certain hours when you won’t be able to drive. Those are between the hours of 12am and 5am.
Getting your Georgia unrestricted full license
At a certain point, the state feels that you’ve been able to receive enough supervised driving experience that you can go out on your own. Therefore, once you reach age 18 you can get your full Georgia license.
This means that previous restrictions are lifted. However, you will not receive an updated license until that one expires. After you renew your Georgia license, you will receive your full, unrestricted license in the mail.
Whether you’ve just finished your Georgia graduated licensing process, or are just starting out, you might also want to consider a telematic companion application to better understand your driving habits, and how to improve them.
The best option is the DriverZ Virtual Coach. Download it today to sharpen your S.P.I.D.E.R.Senses™ to build the driving skills that will keep you safe for a lifetime, track your supervised driving hours, and access bespoke driver training based on your specific needs.
Frequently asked questions
Here are answers to some common questions you might have as you start out on your GA licensing journey.
Can I drive with an out-of-state instructional permit in Georgia?
Georgia does allow drivers to travel through the state with permits from other states, as long as the parameters of the out-of-state permit are followed, and the permit is always in the immediate possession of the driver.
Can I replace a lost or stolen learner’s permit?
You can replace a lost or stolen learner’s permit by visiting your nearest Georgia Department of Driver Services branch, or going to their website, and paying a replacement fee of $5
Georgia Department of Driver Services information
For comprehensive information on everything related to the Georgia graduated licensing program, visit the Georgia Department of Driver Services You can also call 1-678-413-8400 Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Prepare for your license journey by reviewing the Georgia Drivers Manual, and taking a few practice tests.