Amid the pandemic, the state is highlighting an exemption from vehicle emissions testing that allows some seniors to skip the trip to a test site.

“With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, our communities faced unprecedented health risks — particularly those over the age of 65, who found themselves in one of the highest risk categories,” said Michael Odom, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s mobile and area resources manager, in a press release. He said the exemption allows some drivers “to renew their registration without compromising their safety due to COVID-19.”

Most drivers in 13 counties in metro Atlanta are required to have their vehicles pass annual emissions testing as a pollution-reduction program. 

To qualify for the senior exemption, the driver has to meet all of the following requirements:

  • You are at least 65 years old.
  • Your vehicle is 10 model years old or older. For 2021, this includes all 2011 and older model year vehicles.
  • You do not drive the vehicle more than 5,000 miles a year, and the odometer must display the mileage.
  • You are the primary registered vehicle owner, meaning your name is the first name listed on the vehicle title/registration.
  • You have proof of vehicle ownership, such as a copy of the vehicle’s Georgia registration, renewal notice or title.

Exemption applications can be filed online at For those not concerned about COVID-19 risks, they can submit forms in-person at some county tag offices and Georgia Clean Air Force Customer Service Centers.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.