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Deal signs bills to promote global commerce

Deal signs bills to promote global commerce

May 1, 2013

New law establishes reciprocal driver’s license program for international citizens and Georgians

Today at the Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia facility in West Point, Gov. Nathan Deal signed two key bills promoting economic development in Georgia. House Bill 475 will start a reciprocal driver’s license program for legal international citizens, and Senate Bill 122 will allow noncitizens to apply for an extension of their Georgia driver’s licenses within a certain time frame. 

“International companies bring in around 20 percent of all new jobs created in Georgia each year,” said Deal. “The reciprocal benefits outlined in HB 475 will benefit the state’s status as a global player and reinforce Georgia’s reputation as a welcoming state.”

The Department of Drivers' Services will oversee the reciprocity program, and the Department of Economic Development will verify that countries considered for the agreement will make, or are likely to make, a substantial economic investment in Georgia. Individuals will only qualify for the program if they have a lawful presence in the state and their home country offers similar opportunities for Georgians with a valid driver’s license. 

Once a country qualifies and a program is established at DDS, a citizen of that nation can attain a Georgia driver's license without having to take the required written or driving test. No country can be considered for a reciprocal agreement if it is designated as a “state sponsor of terrorism” by the U.S State Department.  

SB 122 will permit noncitizens whose Georgia driver’s license is facing expiration, or has already expired, to request a temporary driving permit or identification card valid for an additional 120 days, given they can remain lawfully within the United States.

“Economic development is based on good relationships, and having these arrangements in place acknowledges our understanding of the challenges that often face international businesses when they come to the United States,” said Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “These new laws will further encourage international businesses to consider Georgia when looking to expand in this country.”

About the Georgia Department of Economic Development

The Georgia Department of Economic Development plans, manages and mobilizes state resources to attract new business investment to Georgia, drive the expansion of existing industry and small business, locate new markets for Georgia products, inspire tourists to visit Georgia, and promote the state as a top destination for arts events and film, music and digital entertainment projects. Visit www.georgia.org