Tennessee has specific requirements for those seeking a driver’s license, and those requirements change depending on whether or not the driver has ever held a license. New drivers must meet special conditions that may not be required of those who are transferring a license from another state.

Tennessee Drivers License Requirements

Tennessee follows a Graduated License Program that requires novice drivers to meet certain conditions before driving on their own. The goal is to help new drivers gain maturity and develop safer driving skills through additional supervised practice on the roads. There are three phases to the Graduated License Program in Tennessee for those who are under 18 years old, and the requirements include:

Learner Permit – The driver must be at least 15 years old and pass a standard vision screening. In addition, the driver must pass the written examination and show proof that they are enrolled in school. The letter must be signed by the principal or guidance counselor, be dated not more than 30 days prior to the application and show that the student attends and is making satisfactory progress. A parent or legal guardian must sign an affidavit, financial responsibility form and provide proof of guardianship in the form of a birth certificate or court document.

Restricted Intermediate Driver’s License – In order to obtain an intermediate driver’s license in Tennessee, the applicant must be at least 16 years old and have held a valid driver’s license for at least 180 days. The driver must provide documentation of 50 hours of behind the wheel driving experience, with ten of those hours during night hours. The 50-Hour Certification Form must be signed by a parent or guardian. The driver must pass a road skills test, but vision screening is only required if the applicant is exchanging a learner’s permit from another state.

Unrestricted Intermediate Driver’s License – The driver must be 17 years old and have held an intermediate license for one year. The driver cannot have more than six points on their license, have had a traffic accident where they were deemed to be at fault or had two or more safety belt violations. Once the driver reaches 18, the license becomes a Regular Class D license, although it will still include “Under 21” indicators.

Required Documentation

The following items are required for all drivers applying for a Tennessee license:

Proof of US Citizenship, Lawful Permanent Residency Status or proof they are eligible to remain in the United States;
Primary Proof of Identity;
Secondary Proof of Identity;
Two Proofs of Tennessee residency;
Social Security Number or sworn affidavit for those without a number
Teen drivers must also bring proof of school attendance, Teenage Affidavit/Financial Responsibility, and 50-Hour Certification. Information is available on what documents are accepted in Tennessee for citizenship, identity and residency can be found online (http://www.tn.gov/safety/driverlicense/gdl/shtml).

License Fees

The fees for Tennessee driver’s licenses vary depending on the type of license obtained. They are:

•Regular (Class D) – $19.50 – Valid for Five Years
•Learner’s Permit for those 18 and over (Class PD) – $5.50 – Valid for one year
•Learner’s Permit for under 18 (PD) – $10.50 – Valid for one year
•Hardship License – $9.00 – Valid for one year

Road tests (https://apps.tn.gov/dlappts/) can be scheduled online for those that need them, and there is an online practice test (http://www.tn.gov/dlpractice/) available as well.

Minors who are 14 years old who qualify may be issued a Hardship License, and these are issued on an individual basis. The license is only valid during daylight hours and for travel to pre-authorized locations. Passengers are limited to immediate family members only, and applicants must show proof of successful completion of a Driver Education Course approved by the state. Those holding a Hardship License may be approved to travel to school if no bus transportation is available, to extracurricular school activities if no bus is available, to work if they are financially responsible for supporting the family or for medical appointments. Proof of hardship must be mailed with the Hardship License application to the Driver Services Administrative Office (http://www.tn.gov/safety/contact.shtml#DL).

New Residents

New Tennessee residents, or those returning to the state with a license in another state, must obtain a Tennessee license within 30 days of establishing residency. Licenses are obtained at full-service driver service centers (http://www.tn.gov/safety/driverlicense/dllocationserv.shtml) available throughout the state. Licenses from other states must be surrendered at the time of application, and applicants must undergo a vision screening. If the Tennessee or out-of-state license has been expired for more than six months, the applicant must take the written examination as well. For residents obtaining a license in Tennessee who are licensed in other countries, a vision, written examination, and road test are required, although the driver may retain the license from the other country.

Take Free Practice Test Now

Tennessee DMV Practice Test – Quiz 1 (Signs)
Tennessee DMV Practice Test – Quiz 2 (Signs)
Tennessee DMV Practice Test – Quiz 3 (Rules)
Tennessee DMV Practice Test – Quiz 4 (Rules)
Tennessee DMV Practice Test – Quiz 5 (Rules)
Tennessee DMV Practice Test – Quiz 6 (Rules)
Tennessee DMV Practice Test – Quiz 7 (Rules)

It is recommended that you take a practice test before you take the actual written test. There are seven free practice tests for each state. First two tests cover roads signs and the other tests cover road and traffic rules.




How to Get a Driver’s License in Tennessee
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