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How to Get a TN Driver’s License

  • Driver's License
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 8 minutes

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Getting your driver’s license is something that we all anxiously anticipate. Depending on where you live and your circumstances, the process varies from state to state and might be a little challenging. So, are you a driver looking to obtain a Tennessee driver’s license? Are you confused about getting a TN driver’s license? Do not fret; help is at hand!

To get a driver’s license in Tennessee, first, you need to get a learner’s permit. The Tennessee permit test isn’t extremely challenging if you prepare beforehand. But unfortunately, most people don’t study enough or use inadequate study methods, which is why around 50% of the drivers fail their permit test on their first attempt.  

So, what steps must one follow to obtain a TN driver’s license? How much will it cost you to get a Tennessee driver’s license? Our blog will give a detailed insight into how you can get a driver’s license in Tennessee! 

What do you require for a new TN driver’s license? 

You must be at least 15 years in Tennessee to obtain a driver’s license or learner’s permit. First, find a nearby Driver Services Center, then gather and present the necessary documents.  

Proof of US nationality or authorized presence: This can be a Permanent Resident Alien Card, a valid passport, or a birth certificate from the US.  

Social Security number proof: You can use your Social Security card, a W-2, or a paycheck check stub. 

Two types of Tennessee residency proof: To produce a proof for this, you can use recent utility bills, bank statements, or rental or mortgage paperwork. Ensure that each document has your full name and current address. 

Visit the website of TDSHS (Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security) to know about the full list of documents that prove your citizenship, lawful presence, and residency. Be mindful that you need to produce original copies of all documents. 

Find a cheap auto insurance policy in Tennessee

How to get a Tennessee driver’s license

Teenagers and adults of all ages may find getting their Tennessee driver’s license to be a thrilling time. To get one, though, you must go through a few processes. First, like many other states, Tennessee mandates that newly licensed teens undergo a Graduated Driver’s License program similar to the one used by DMV offices across the country. 

When new drivers earn their licenses, these programs will ensure they are fully prepared to drive. You need to cover three phases for getting a TN driver’s license. 

  • Learner Permit 
  • Intermediate Restricted Driver’s License 
  • Intermediate Restricted License 

How to get Learner’s Permit 

It is the first phase of getting a TN driver’s license. However, there are certain conditions that you should meet to apply for this permit. 

  • You must be not less than 15 years old. 
  • You must pass a knowledge test. This exam will have 30 questions on fundamental driving topics and road signs. You must properly answer at least 24 questions to pass this exam. 
  • A 20/40 score in one eye is required to pass the vision test. 
  • In addition, the driver must present proof of their enrolment in school, which must be in the form of a letter bearing the principal’s signature and not older than thirty days. Also, a parent or legal guardian must demonstrate legal guardianship and financial responsibility. A birth certificate or a court record can be proof of this.  


Though the first phase of getting a Tennessee driver’s license, you will undergo severe restrictions even after obtaining the Lerner Permit.  

  • While driving, you must always have a front-seat passenger who is a licensed driver at least 21 years old. 
  • You can’t drive between 10 PM and 6 AM. 
  • All passengers must use seatbelts.  

How to get an Intermediate Restricted Driver’s License 

It is the second phase of getting a driver’s license in TN. You can upgrade to a Tennessee Intermediate Restricted License when you turn 16. Before getting your Intermediate License, you must have had your permit for at least 180 days. Only those drivers who wish to exchange learner permits from other states must pass the vision test. 

What to do 

Go to a License Office: Visiting a nearby Tennessee Driver’s License Office is typical while applying for a license.  

Produce the necessary documents: Ensure you bring the documents to provide proof of the following information. It includes the proof of your name, birth date, SSN, Tennessee residency, and lawful presence in the country. You must also produce a 50-hour certification form signed by your parent or guardian. It should prove that you have a minimum of 50 hours behind-the-wheel practice, with 10 hours of night driving.  

Pass road skills test: This will determine your ability to execute fundamental driving drills like turning, maintaining lane position, parallel parking, and more. You must bring your car that complies with legal requirements. 

Pay the necessary fee: The Tennessee Intermediate Restricted License fee varies depending on age. For instance, the fee is $24.50 if you’re 16 and is $21 If you’re 17. 


During this phase, your license will still be subject to restrictions but less stringent than on a learner’s permit. 

  • One passenger only who is not a member of your immediate family 
  • You cannot drive between 11 PM and 6 AM. 
  • The drivers need to wear seatbelts.  

How to get an Intermediate Unrestricted Driver’s License 

You can apply for an Unrestricted Intermediate License when you turn 17. Before switching to this license, you must have had the restricted license for at least a full year. 


  • You shouldn’t have six or more points on your driving record. In addition, there mustn’t be two or more seatbelt violations.   
  • A driver shouldn’t be involved in an at-fault accident. 
  • You need to point out that the license must turn into a Class D license after 18 years.  

You must visit a driver’s service center and pay the license fee of $2. Though unrestricted, all passengers need to wear seatbelts.  

How to get Full Tennessee Driver’s License 

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

You can apply for a complete under-21 driver’s license once you turn 18. Then, you only need to bring the necessary documents to the DMV. However, remember that you must also produce proof of at least 50 hours of driving experience. Until your permanent TN driver’s license arrives in the mail, you’ll be issued a temporary license. Ideally, you may receive the license within 14 days.  

What are the requirements for a TN driver’s license for out-of-state drivers?  

Suppose you are just visiting Tennessee and already possess a legitimate driver’s license from another state. In that case, there is nothing else you must do to be able to drive. But ensure that you have the license with you. You have 30 days to obtain a new Tennessee driver’s license if you are relocating or moving back to Tennessee.  

You only need to pass the vision exam and pay the fees if your out-of-state license is up to date. However, you must pass the knowledge and driving tests if your license has been out of active status for longer than six months. 

How long will it take to obtain a driver’s license in TN? 

Ideally, you will receive your Full Tennessee Driver’s License within two weeks.  

How much does a TN driver’s license cost? 

A regular Class D driver’s license in Tennessee will cost you around $28. The cost of a learner’s permit ranges from $5.50-$10.50 depending on whether you are under or over 18.  

Who are not eligible for a driver’s license in TN? 

  • Non-US citizens or people who aren’t lawful residents 
  • Applicants under the age of 18 who don’t perform well in school in a satisfactory manner or who drop out before graduating 
  • Drivers having suspended or revoked license 
  • Habitual drinkers and those who struggle with drug addiction 
  • Applicants who the commissioner believes cannot safely operate a motor vehicle owing to their physical or mental impairments 
  • Any person who refuses to demonstrate their financial responsibilities when obliged to do so 

Can I renew my TN driver’s license online? 

Yes. You can renew your driver’s license in TN online. Learn more about it via our Tennessee driver’s license renewal blog.  

Getting auto insurance in Tennessee

After obtaining a driver’s license in TN, you will be looking to buy a car. But, first, be aware that you must buy an auto insurance policy. Like many other states, Tennessee mandates a minimum level of auto insurance protection for all car owners. In addition, driving without auto insurance is illegal in Tennessee, and you will suffer severe consequences if caught.  

So, you will be on the hunt for a reasonable car insurance policy in Tennessee. Way.com can help you find the most affordable Tennessee car insurance quotes. So, visit Way, compare the insurance quotes, and buy the ideal one with ample coverage. So, why wait further? 

Save well while you buy an auto insurance in TN

Here’s more info on top-rated airport parkingthe best parking spots in your city, affordable auto insurance, easy auto refinance, and high-quality car washes near you.


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