Who is required to hold a Tennessee driver's license?

Every resident who wants to operate a motor vehicle in Tennessee.

Who is exempt from holding a Tennessee driver's license?

  • Any member of the Armed Forces;
  • Operators or agricultural machinery temporarily operated on a highway;
  • Every non-resident who holds a valid out-of-state driver's license;
  • Any non-US citizen who holds a valid out-of-country driver's license and is employed in Tennessee (after 6 months they must apply for a TN driver's license);
  • Students enrolled in a TN DOS and Homeland Security approved driver training course.

Who is not eligible for a Tennessee driver's license?

You cannot obtain a Tennessee driver's license if
  • your license is currently suspended or revoked in TN or in any other state;
  • you have been determined unable to operate a motor vehicle safely by the Commissioner;
  • you have not shown proof of car insurance or financial responsibility when required to do so;
  • you are under age 18 and have dropped out of school before graduating;
  • you are under age 18 and you do not make “satisfactory progress” in school;
  • you cannot provide the required proof of US citizenship, Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR) or temporary legal presence in the US.

What is the age requirement to obtain a driver's license in Tennessee?

18 years of age.

Which documents are required to apply for a driver's license in Tennessee?

  • Proof of US citizenship or lawful permanent resident;
  • Primary and secondary proof of identity;
  • Proof of any name changes if different than primary id;
  • 2 proofs of TN residency;
  • Social Security Number.

If you are under 18, you must also provide

  • Teenage Affidavit/financial responsibility;
  • Proof of school attendance/progress;
  • Certification of 50 hours behind the wheel driving experience (SF-1256).

What is a Tennessee temporary driver license?

This license is issued to TN residents who have temporary legal presence status and authorized stay in the US.


Can I drive in Tennessee if I am under 18 years of age?

If you are at least 15 years of age you can go through graduated steps of driving experience to gain a full and unrestricted driver's license.

How many steps are there in the GDL?

There are 4 steps:
  • Learner Permit;
  • Intermediate Restricted License;
  • Intermediate Unrestricted License;
  • Regular Driver License.

How can I obtain my Tennessee learner permit?

To obtain a TN learner permit you must
  • be at least 15 years old;
  • pass the standard written exam and the vision screening.

Which restrictions apply to the TN learner permit?

You may drive only with the supervision of a licensed driver 21 years or older who is riding in the front passenger seat. You may not drive between 10 pm and 6 am.

How can I move to the intermediate restricted license?

To obtain an intermediate restricted license, you must
  • hold your learner permit for 180 days;
  • be at least 16 years old;
  • pass the road test;
  • complete 50 hours of supervised driving experience (including 10 at nighttime).

How can I move from the intermediate restricted license to the intermediate unrestricted license?

  • Be 17 years old;
  • Hold your intermediate restricted license for 1 year.

How can I obtain my TN regular driver license?

You may obtain a regular driver license when you turn 18 or when you graduate from high school or receive a GED, whichever comes first. The word “Intermediate” will be removed from your license but it will still include the “Under 21” indicators.


What is the TN knowledge test about?

The written test covers the following 4 areas
  • Traffic signs and signals;
  • Safe driving principles;
  • Rules of the road;
  • Drugs and alcohol.

How many questions are there on the Tennessee permit test?

30 multiple choice questions.

Which score is required to pass the Tennessee permit test?

You must answer at least 24 out of 30 questions correctly.

How can I pass the knowledge test?

  • Study the Tennessee Driver License Manual. The manual contains information on safe driving rules and practices to help you become a safe driver.
  • Practice with our Tennessee DMV written test.

I failed my knowledge test. When can I repeat it?

You must wait at least 7 days to retake the exam.

Is an appointment necessary for the road test?

Yes, you must make an appointment at the Driver License Service Center of your choice.

Do I have to provide a vehicle for my road test in Tennessee?

Yes, the vehicle will be inspected prior to the examination. Be sure that the vehicle has the equipment in proper working order.

What will be evaluated during my TN road test?

  • How you prepare to drive;
  • How you start your vehicle;
  • How you control your vehicle;
  • How you handle intersections and make left and right turns;
  • How you obey the traffic signals and posted signs;
  • How you drive in traffic;
  • How you stop;
  • How you back up;
  • How you judge distance;
  • How you communicate to other drivers;
  • How you share the road with others;
  • How you change your speed to suit the situation.

Which actions will make me automatically fail the road test?

You will be failed immediately if you:
  • violate any traffic law;
  • demonstrate a lack of cooperation or refusal to follow directions;
  • commit any dangerous action;
  • contribute to an accident.