The state of Georgia offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the past, or are current active military members.
Vehicle registration and fee waivers
Georgia veterans with an honorable discharge, and who are 100% disabled, or have loss of or loss of use of one or both feet, hands, or eyes are eligible for a free Disabled Veteran license plate. This benefit also extends to the veteran’s surviving, unmarried spouse, and surviving minor children of a qualified deceased veteran.
In addition, 100% service-connected disabled veterans are entitled to exemption from ad valorem taxes on one vehicle. Purple Heart and Medal of Honor recipients are also exempt from these taxes. Verifying documentation is required for all of the above benefits, along with annual recertification.
Driver’s license veteran designation
Georgia veterans are eligible for a military designation on their driver license, and exemption from fees. In order to qualify applicants must have honorable active duty in the Armed Forces, or 20 years of National Guard service. You must also have been a resident at the time of induction, or for at least two years prior to application. You must provide an Original Certificate of Eligibility – DS-516 – along with the other required documents for obtaining a license or state ID. Unmarried spouses of a deceased, qualified veteran are also eligible for this benefit.
Military honor plates
Georgia offers a variety of license plates designed to honor veterans and military personnel, including:
- Desert Storm
- World War II
- Korean War
- Vietnam War
- Global War on Terrorism
- War in Iraq
- War in Afghanistan
- Congressional Medal of Honor
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Navy Cross
- Air Force Cross
- Defense Distinguished Service Medal
- Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal
- Distinguished Service Medal (Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard)
- Silver Star
- Defense Superior Service Medal
- Legion of Merit
- Distinguished Flying Cross
- Bronze Star
- Purple Heart
- Air Medal
Some plates are subject to qualifying documentation. There are no registration, manufacturing, or annual fees associated with Georgia military honor plates.
Military skills test waiver
Your military driving experience could allow you to forego the road skills test for your CDL, if you qualify for this military and veterans benefit. In 2011 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration put the Commercial Learner’s Permit rule into place. What this does is gives states the authority to waive the skills test requirement if you’ve got certain qualifications. Those include a minimum of two years of commercial vehicle driving experience during your military service, if that driving took place within 12 months of your discharge (or within 12 months prior to the time of application, if you are still serving).
In addition, you must be able to certify to a State Driving License Agency that:
You have experience as a safe driver
You haven’t held more than one license in the past two years (besides your military driver license)
You haven’t had your driver license revoked, suspended, or cancelled
You have not had motor vehicle violation convictions of a type that would disqualify you from holding a CDL
The government sets parameters for the kinds of violations that may disqualify you from participating in the waiver program. These may include DUI, multiple reckless driving charges, and committing a felony using a vehicle. All 51 territories in the United States participate in the waiver program. You can download and print the waiver here. Regardless of qualification, you will still have to complete the written CDL exam.
Military Commercial Driver’s License Act of 2012
Living out of your home state is difficult enough, but getting your CDL in another state used to be difficult. As of 2012 that’s no longer the case. This law allows states to offer a CDL to qualifying active members of the military in any branch, even if Georgia is not your home state (it doesn’t matter whether it’s your permanent or temporary station).
Driver license and registration renewal while deployed
Georgia allows military personnel a six-month grace period should their license expire while deployed on active duty outside of the state. The grace period begins once you are discharged or reassigned to duty within the state. You may also opt to renew your driver license by mail.
In most cases vehicle registration may be completed online, making it simple for those who are stationed outside of the state to renew their registration in time.
Non-resident military personnel driver license and vehicle registration
Non-resident service members stationed in Georgia are not required to obtain a Georgia driver license or vehicle registration, as long as their home state documents remain valid.
Active or veteran military personnel can read more at the state’s motor vehicle division website here.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Georgia and was authored by Valerie Johnston.