Find a licensing center
While some driver’s license services are available online, you may need to go to a full-service Driver Services Center for some driver’s license services. You can look up a Tennessee full-service center here.
Getting a license for the first time
First time getting your driver’s license? Here’s everything you need to know.
Age 15 to 17
Tennessee has a graduated license program for teens that has four phases. The first phase is a learner’s permit. To receive a learner’s permit, you must be at least 15, have passed a knowledge test and vision test, and present a financial responsibility form signed by a parent or guardian. You must also prove that you are attending school in the state and provide proof of identity, legal residence, and state residence.
The second phase is an intermediate restricted license. To receive the restricted license, you must:
- Be at least 16
- Pass a road test
- Have held the learner’s permit for at least 180 days
- Not have accumulated more than six points of driving offenses
- Have verification from your parents that you have practiced driving at least 50 yours, 10 of them at night
With the intermediate restricted license, the teen can only have one other passenger under 21 in the car with them unless they are a sibling. They also are prohibited from driving alone between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., with some exceptions.
The third phase is an intermediate unrestricted license. The teen must hold the restricted license for one year before being eligible for the unrestricted license. If they’ve accumulated more than six points, caused a traffic accident, or had more than one seatbelt violation, they will have to wait an additional 90 days to receive the unrestricted license. In certain cases, they may also have to complete a driver safety course.
The fourth phase is a regular license. At age 18, the teen can apply for a regular driver’s license.
- The details: If you’re at least 18 years old and ready to get behind the wheel, the process is smooth and simple. You’ll go to a full-service driver service center.
- What to bring: Pack up your ID document, proof of a Tennessee address, proof of legal residency, and $5.50.
- What you’ll need to do: When you arrive at the center, you’ll submit your application, take a vision test and knowledge test to receive your learner’s permit. You’ll need to practice supervised driving and then return for a road test.
- What comes next: If you pass the road test and pay $28, you’ll receive your license.
Renewing your license
Most people can renew their license online or by mail if they choose. Those renewing for the first time will have to do so in person and bring appropriate documentation. If this is not your first renewal, and you cannot renew online, your renewal notice will tell you that you must come in person. The renewal fee is $28.
Do you need a Real ID?
Do you have to get a Real ID? Nope. Will you want one? Probably.
Starting October 1, 2021, your standard driver’s license will no longer be accepted as proof of identification at airports. You’ll need a passport or a Real ID instead. If your license expires in less than three months, you can come into the driver’s license service center with the required documentation to convert your license to a Real ID.
Replace a lost or stolen license
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