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TN Driver’s License Renewal: Know All about It

  • Driver's License
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 9 minutes

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Are you a resident of Tennessee? Then you must know how challenging is it to get a Tennessee driver’s license. So, you might feel nervous when it’s time for your TN driver’s license renewal. Is it so hard to renew your driver’s license in TN?  

Yes, renewing your driver’s license in Tennessee isn’t an easy process. A driver must renew his license yearly in The Volunteer State. Even though it may seem uninteresting, it’s crucial to remember your renewal deadline. Else you could get a penalty or jail time while driving with an expired license.  

So, how can you renew your TN driver’s license renewal? How much to renew a driver’s license in TN? The renewal process can be hassle-free if you navigate through our blog. Keep reading!  

How early can I renew my driver’s license in TN? 

Your Tennessee driver’s license will have the expiration date printed in red below your license number and to the right of your photo. You can submit a TN driver’s license renewal request within 30 days of expiration. 

Eight to ten weeks before the expiration date, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security will issue you a courtesy renewal notification. You must read this renewal carefully because it includes explanations of the three alternatives you have for finishing the renewal procedure. 

But you can renew your driver’s license without using this renewal notice. For instance, if you changed your address and didn’t receive your renewal notification for some reason, you can still start the renewal process in person without it. 

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When does a TN driver’s license expire? 

  • The learner’s permit expires after a year. 
  • The D-Intermediate Restricted License expires in five years on your birthday.  
  • Your D-Intermediate Unrestricted License (below 18) expires in a year on your birthday. 
  • When you turn 21, your Class D License (18-20 years) expires. 
  • A Class D license (age 21 and above) expires every eight years. 

How to do a TN driver’s license renewal 

Are you all set to renew your Tennessee driver’s license? Now, you may be thinking about how to do it. Tennessee provides you three options to renew your driver’s license – online, in-person, and by mail.  

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOS) will mail you a friendly reminder eight to ten weeks before your license expires. It will include all of the options needed for the renewal. 

  • You can renew online or by mail if your photo ID is still valid.  
  • If you require a new photo for the license, you must renew it in person at a Tennessee Driver Service Center.  
  • If you don’t get the reminder mail, you can renew the license in person.  
  • The renewal of a REAL-ID always needs an in-person renewal.  

How to renew a license online 

Doing the TN driver’s license renewal online is perhaps the easiest and most popular method followed by state drivers. However, you must meet certain conditions to renew a driver’s license in TN. Therefore, we recommend waiting until you receive the reminder mail before doing the online renewal. 

Requirements  

  • You are a citizen of the US.  
  • The renewal is for a standard license without any limitations and endorsements.  
  • You’re not doing the renewal process for the first time. It applies to all licenses issued after January 1, 2001.  
  • The license has your valid photo. But, be aware that you must update the photo every five years.  
  • You’re not planning to change your name on the license.  

After verifying your eligibility, you can renew your driver’s license online via Tennessee Driver Services’ website. You must provide your name, birth date, driver’s license number, and Social Security Number (SSN) to verify your identity.  

What to do after verification? 

Then you must pay the renewal cost of $28 with a credit or debit card. If you decide to renew online and your license has expired for longer than 30 days, there will be additional costs. A modest administrative charge for online processing may also apply. 

When the procedure gets finished, you will get an email confirmation. With your expired license, you can print and carry it as a 20-day license extension. Remember that drivers with a Class A, B, or C Commercial driver’s license must renew in person. If you want to convert your license to a REAL ID, you must renew in person. 

If you didn’t receive the renewal notice in the mail, go to the closest driver service center to finish the renewal process. 

How to renew a license by mail 

driver's license in Tennessee
Image courtesy: https://www.tn.gov/

For TN driver’s license renewal by mail, you must meet the same requirements as you do online. However, suppose you’re eligible to renew via mail. In that case, the reminder mail will have the instructions on how and where to send the application. Remember to remit the renewal fee of $28 along with the application.  

How to renew a license in-person 

You can do an in-person TN driver’s license renewal at nearby driver service centers. For that, you must meet the following requirements. 

Requirements  

  • You are not a US citizen. 
  • The license got issued after January 1, 2001, and you’re renewing it for the first time. The first renewal asks individuals in Tennessee to provide proof of citizenship. 
  • You didn’t receive the reminder mail for renewal. 
  • The current photo on your license is invalid. It usually happens after eight years. 
  • The license you have is a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).  
  • You possess a Temporary Driver’s License. So you must produce two documents showing Tennessee residency and proof of legal presence. 
  • The license has some restrictions.  
  • You’re planning to change your name on your license. 
  • You plan to upgrade your license to a REAL ID. It requires residency and citizenship proof.  

What to do next? 

If you meet the above requirements, follow these steps to renew your license. 

  • Visit a nearby Driver Service Center. In some places, you might need to make an appointment in advance. 
  • Produce identification proof, such as a photo ID or birth certificate. You require these documents if you want to renew your REAL-ID. 
  • Update and verify your information. 
  • Get a new photograph taken for the license. 
  • Pay the renewal fee of $28.  
  • Carry your temporary paper license until your new one arrives in the mail if the location does not print licenses on-site. Within three weeks, you should receive your new license. 

How can active military personnel renew their driver’s license in TN? 

Your Tennessee driver’s license may obtain a Code 30 if you are an active duty member of the US military. It implies that as long as you satisfy the requirements listed below, it will be valid despite the expiration date. 

  • You’re on active duty and stationed outside Tennessee.  
  • You don’t have a suspended, canceled, or surrendered license.  

A driver needs to compile the following documents if they want to add a Code 30 to the driver’s license.  

  • As a cover letter for your request, attach a completed Military Checklist. 
  • Your driver’s license duplicate.  
  • A copy of military orders proving you’re on active duty stationed outside Tennessee. Be aware that Fort Campbell Army Base is considered a Tennessee base.  
  • Orders may be substituted by a letter on official business letterhead from the commanding officer or, if it specifies the present deployment location, by a leave and earnings statement. 

What to do next? 

You should send the required documents and the renewal fees to the following address: Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Driver Services Division — Special Handling Unit, Attn: Military Coordinator, Browning Building, Room 253, 1150 Foster Avenue, Nashville, TN 37243.  

Noe that National Guard members or military personnel’s dependents cannot use Code30 requests. Moreover, you must renew your license within 60 days of the date of your separation or reassignment if you are transferred within the state or are no longer in the military. 

How long does it take to get a replacement driver’s license in TN? 

You must wait at least 20 days to get your new license if you renew your license through via online or by mail. However, you can use the confirmation page from an online renewal as a temporary license for 20 days until you get the new one. Contact the Driver License Issuance center if it has been more than 20 days since you applied for your new license. 

How much to renew a driver’s license in TN? 

The TN driver’s license renewal cost is $28, and the new ID has an eight-year validity period. 

You should also expect to pay for: 

  • Depending on your license type, an application fee of $2-$7. 
  • For clerk of court office services, there is a $4 administrative fee. 
  • There would be a $5–$10 late fine if your license expired sometime back.  

Is there a grace period for an expired driver’s license in Tennessee? 

There is no grace period in Tennessee. Driving with an expired driver’s license carries the same penalties as driving while in possession of no license at all. You must also pay a late fee when renewing. These are additional to the standard license renewal fees in Tennessee.  

  • $5 if your license is more than ten days overdue. 
  • $10 if your license is more than six months overdue. 
  • You must pay $10 and pass the written and driving tests if your license has expired for more than five years. 

Should I need a REAL ID in Tennessee?  

Your regular ID isn’t accepted for federal identification from October 1, 2021. Unfortunately, that implies that it won’t be recognized as the main identification when you board a plane and enter certain government buildings, military bases, and nuclear power plants. Instead, you’ll require a REAL ID, a current passport, or another form of government-accepted identification to enter these locations. 

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