Your First-Time Georgia Drivers License Guide

by Jim Thompson | Last Updated: October 14, 2023

Most first-time drivers in Georgia must complete a drivers ed course to learn how to drive safely. This step is required by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (GA DDS) to obtain a driving permit or a drivers license. Fortunately, it’s not difficult going through one of these courses, and there are plenty available to choose from.

Steps to Getting Your Georgia License

If you’re looking to get your Georgia drivers license, we’re here to help. Welcome to our step by step guide to get you off of your couch and out onto the road. We know you have a lot of questions, so let’s get going.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, getting your first license can be an exciting, scary, and confusing time, sometimes all at the same time. First off, let’s clear up some Georgia DDS terms. In some cases, it seems they’ve gone out of their way to make it confusing.

Terms (and abbreviations) you should know:

See? I told you they made it confusing!

Who Must Take Georgia Drivers Ed?

No matter your age, it’s probably not a bad idea for anyone to take a drivers ed course before getting their first license. However, Georgia only requires drivers ed for driving candidates younger than 18. You can enroll in drivers ed at age 16.

The Path to a Georgia License in a Nutshell

The quick and dirty looks like this:

Now let’s take a look at what it’ll take to get those three steps done.

Step 1—Get a Learners Permit

If you are 15 you can apply for your instruction permit.

Application for a permit will happen at your local DDS office. You’ll need to start the process online.

When you arrive, be sure to have the following:

After you have shown all of this to the folks at the DDS, hold on to it! You’ll need much of it again when you apply for your license.

Now it’s time for your written permit test

The test will include questions about:

To pass the 40-question multiple-choice test, you’ll need to score 75%, and testing must begin 30 minutes before the DDS office closes. Here are some suggestions on how to prepare.

Another way to give yourself a leg up on passing the permit test is to consider one (or more) of the following:

A permit practice test has everything the “real” test does, except the pressure. That’s because practice tests feature questions taken from actual DMV exams. It’s like seeing all the answers before the test even begins! Don’t head to the DMV without a dress rehearsal, you want to pass the first time.

What If Your Test Didn’t Go Like You Planned?

What if you get to the testing center and, despite all your best preparation, your nerves get the best of you, and you wind up failing the test? First, don’t panic. Nearly 1 out of 3 test-takers fail on their first attempt.

If you do happen to fail, the DDS will give you more chances, but there are some rules.

Another Note—If you’re new to Georgia and started this whole license dance somewhere else, here are some tips that might help.

Step 2—Complete Joshua’s Law Requirements

There are 4 methods by which 16 and 17-year-olds can complete the requirements of Joshua’s Law.

If you are 17—

If you choose Method 3, nothing beats the convenience of an online defensive driving course, but it’s important that you select the right one. To meet all requirements, the course you select must be approved by the Georgia Department of Driver Services. To start your search for an online course, take a look at our list of Georgia DDS approved course providers.

Nothing beats the convenience of completing your Georgia DDS drivers ed course requirement online. With the ability to log in and out as often as you like, it makes it easy to fit the course into your busy schedule. Below is a list of online courses available, all approved by the Georgia DDS.

Best Georgia DDS Online Drivers Ed Providers




Register NOW!

I Drive Safely


#1 Choice



Drivers Ed


Joshua’s Law by Improv


Driver Ed To Go




Awesome Driving School


Safe Teen Driving Academy


Georgia Driving School


Just Driver Training




Driving Advantage


Academy of Action


Alfa Driving School


If you (or your folks) would prefer a traditional driving school experience, check out our guide to selecting the best driving school.

The classroom curriculum will cover topics such as:

Out Of Georgia Drivers Ed and Out Onto the Road for 40 Practice Driving Hours

Now it’s time to put that learners permit to good use, and you are required to use it for one year and one day before you can apply for your provisional license.

Before you can take a driving test, you’ll have to complete 40 hours of practice driving, and at least 6 of those will need to happen after dark.

Your permit does come with some restrictions. You must be accompanied at all times by a licensed driver who is:

While you might be nervous at first, do your best to enjoy this time and always pay close attention to what’s going on around you. You never know the kinds of things, good and bad, that you might learn from the drivers around you. Take time to learn all you can from the licensed driver who is with you.

Also, do yourself the favor of driving in as many conditions as you can, places like:

It’s better if you don’t see these things for the first time on your own.

Since you’ll be using your permit for 366 days, there’s no reason not to drive WAY more than 40 hours! It can only do you good.

Step 3—Pass a Driving Test

Once you have fulfilled the Joshua Law requirements, you are ready to apply for your intermediate license. To do so, you must:

You must schedule an appointment with the DDS for a driving test. You should have the following with you when you arrive:

Told you that you wanted to hang on to all the stuff from when you got your permit!

Road Test Time!

Finally, the last hurdle, your driving test. It’s all good. You got this.

On the driving test, you’ll be expected to perform the following:

Using Your New License

Per the rules of the Georgia Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Program, your new license will come with some restrictions concerning when you can drive and who you can have in the car with you.



At age 18, you can upgrade your license to a Class C (under 21) Driver’s License. A Class D to C upgrade can be done using Online Services or by downloading the DDS 2 Go Mobile App from the App Store or the Google Play Store.

A Final Note

Any licensed driver will tell you that you will never face a driving situation as complicated, nerve-wracking, and time-consuming as getting your license. By no means should you let your guard down once you’re behind the wheel but, rest assured. You’ll never face anything on the road that will compare with the process it took to get you your license.

Good luck as you work your way through this. Can’t wait to see you out on the road!

A Final Final Note

If you’ve made it this far, may we suggest you bookmark this page? You’ll probably be coming back to it often as you work your way through this!