How to Get a Driver’s License in Tennessee

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Tennessee operates a graduated driver’s licensing program like many other states. This program helps first-time drivers understand and practice the rules of the road. The process begins with a learner’s permit and later becomes a provisional license.

First-time drivers showing patience and safe driving can eventually upgrade to an unrestricted, adult license in Tennessee. The most common of these licenses is Class D.

The licensing process takes place at a TN DOS office and has extra requirements when applying. This article shares what those extras are, and the steps required to get your full license.

Out-of-State Drivers: You’ll need to transfer your driver’s license if you’ve moved to Tennessee within 30-days of residency. You will provide the license and identification, pass a vision test, submit the SF-1324 form, and pay a $28 processing fee.

Getting Your Tennessee Driver’s License: How-to

You’re can apply for an adult license in Tennessee given you’re not an addict, unable to operate a vehicle safely, or unable to show financial responsibility. Given these don’t apply, you’ll take a trip to your local DMV office to complete the license registration process.

Those having gone through the GDL program – having an intermediate license — can pay a $10 upgrade fee when they turn 18. This lets them skip the following process.

Do these steps at the DMV:

  1. Schedule and visit a TN DOS office
  2. Provide proof of TN residency
    1. Two forms (No P.O. boxes or older than 4-months)
  3. Provide proof of identification
    1. No SSN? Submit a Social Security Number Affidavit (SF-1324)
  4. Pass tests
    1. Vision
    2. Knowledge
    3. Driving
  5. Pay the $28 application fee

The knowledge test is taken (and passed) before the driving test. This exam tests your understanding of traffic signs, road rules, drug/alcohol, and safe driving. You can retake this test every 7 days.

The DMV driving test verifies adult drivers can show respect for the road. You will need to make an appointment before taking the test. This appointment can be made online or by calling 866-849-3548.

Driver’s education is not required in the state of Tennessee, but it can be a great help to get behind-the-wheel experience when applying for a license. These courses give classroom and real-world driving tests so you’re best prepared for the road and driving test during licensing.

Your vision screening verifies your eye-sight, bring corrective lenses if you need them.


Submitting these documents, taking these steps, and passing the tests will grant you an unrestricted driver’s license in Tennessee. This license is valid for 8-years unless stated. You’re also one step closer to easily registering a car of your own!

Note: Safe driving is a necessity but so is your everyday conduct. Breaking road rules and local/state laws can result in a suspended license. Or, a revoked license if you’re a habitual offender.