Drivers Permits in Georgia
A Georgia permit, also called an instructional permit, is a requirement of the Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA).
TADRA is a graduated driver's license (GDL) process that consists of several licensing stages for teen drivers. Along with Joshua's Law, which requires driver's training for teens, TADRA helps ensure that you, as a teenage driver, drive safely and responsibly.
Instructional permits and driver's licenses are regulated and issued by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS).
Georgia Secure ID Driver's Licenses
The Georgia DDS began issuing federally-compliant REAL ID driver’s licenses—called the SecureID—in 2012. A Secure ID allows you to use your license for domestic travel and entry into federal and military buildings. The information below reflects the requirements to obtain a Georgia Secure ID.
New to Georgia?
As a new Georgia resident, you have 30 days to transfer your permit or driver's license.
To transfer a permit, you must be at least 15 years old, regardless of your previous state's licensing rules.
You will get credit for the time you've held your out-of-state permit. The time will count toward the 1 year and 1 day that you are required to hold an instructional permit before moving on to your intermediate driver's license.
To transfer your out-of-state permit, you will need either:
- Your current permit.
- A certified copy of your driving record that is no more than 30 days old, if your permit was lost or stolen.
Follow the application process in the “ GA Instructional Permit Requirements" section below.
Georgia Instructional Permit Requirements
To apply for an instructional permit in Georgia, you must be at least 15 years old. Following the REAL ID Act, the permit you will receive will be a Secure ID card with a gold star in the upper right-hand corner.
Visit a DDS Customer Service Center in person and:
- Complete an application form.
- Your parent, guardian, or authorized driver's education instructor must sign your application.
- Submit a completed Certificate of Attendance (Form DDS-1) or a high school diploma or GED.
- Provide proof of your:
- Identity (1 document), such as:
- Social Security number (1 document), such as:
- Your Social Security card.
- A W-2 with your name and all or part of your SSN.
- The agent may be able to verify your SSN electronically, but bring your documents just in case.
- Residency (2 documents), such as your:
- School report card or Certificate of Attendance.
- Bank statement.
- Pass 2 written tests.
- Pass the vision exam.
- Pay the $10 fee.
- Credit or debit card (VISA, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express), cash, check, or money order.
Taking the Written Georgia Permit Test
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Before your instructional permit is issued, you have to pass 2 written tests on driving laws and highway signs.
To pass, you must get 15 questions out of 20 questions correct on EACH test.
The road rules test covers several topics, including:
- Being a responsible and safe driver.
- GA traffic laws.
The road signs test covers:
- Highway signs.
- Traffic signals.
- Road markers.
NOTE: The road rules test is available in several languages, but the road signs test is available in English only. This ensures that you can read and understand the signs as they appear on the road.
To prepare for the written tests, you can study the GA Driver’s Manual and the DDS also offers a basic practice test. Our suggestion is to maximize your chances of passing on your first attempt with an online practice test from our certified partner.
Retaking the Written Permit Test
If you fail either of the written tests, you must wait 1 day to retake it.
If you fail a 2nd time (or any additional attempts), you will have to wait at least 7 days before retaking the Georgia permit test.
You will have to pay the $10 instructional permit fee every time you take the tests. The fee is not refunded if you fail either or both exams.
Georgia Instructional Permit Driving Restrictions
With your Georgia instructional permit, you are allowed to drive ONLY while accompanied by a supervising driver who is:
- Licensed to drive a class C vehicle.
- At least 21 years old.
- Attentive and alert enough to take control if necessary.
- Sitting next to you in the vehicle.
School Attendance and Conduct
If you're younger than 18 years old, having a instructional permit is dependent on your attendance and behavior at school.
Your Georgia instructional permit can be taken from you if you:
- Stop attending school.
- Have 10 unexcused absences.
- Have infractions for poor conduct.
Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements
Georgia's Joshua's Law requires that teen drivers get supervised behind-the-wheel experience.
While you have your instructional permit, you must practice driving before you can progress to the next GDL stage. You can get behind-the-wheel practice from:
- Supervised driving experience.
- A Driver’s Ed class.
- If you want to apply for your intermediate driver's license before you're 18 years old, you MUST complete a driver's education course.
Supervised Driving Experience
During the time you have your instructional permit, you are required to log 40 hours of supervised driving, including 6 hours of night driving.
Your parent or guardian will sign a statement verifying that you have completed these hours.
For more information, see our page Driver’s Training in Georgia.
A Driver’s Ed class is another effective way to get supervised experience.
If you take driver's education, you not only get extra practice, but you can also apply for your intermediate driver's license sooner. Usually you must wait until you're 18 years old to obtain your provisional license. Completing Driver's Ed will allow you to apply when you are just 16 years old.
See our page on Driver’s Ed in Georgia for more details.
Next Step: Intermediate Driver's License
Before you are eligible for an intermediate driver's license, you must:
- Have held your Georgia instructional permit for at least 1 year and 1 day.
- Be at least 16 years old (or 16 years old if you have not completed an approved Driver's Ed class but have completed the Joshua’s Law component).
- Complete supervised driving hours (see “Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements" above).
- Pass a driving test.
For more information about how to obtain your intermediate driver's license, see our page Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Georgia.