Tennessee drivers license

How to Get a Tennessee Driver’s License

Zutobi
by Zutobi · Updated Apr 30, 2021

Getting your Tennessee driver’s license can be an exciting time for both teenagers and adults of all ages. However, there are a few steps you must complete to obtain one. Like many states, Tennessee requires new teen drivers to complete a version of the Graduated Driver’s License program utilized by DMV offices across the country. These programs are put in place to ensure new drivers are completely ready to hit the road by the time they receive their full license. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss exactly how to get a driver’s license in Tennessee.

Learner Permit

Your first step towards getting a driver’s license is to get a permit.

  • You need to be 15 years old or older
  • You need to pass a knowledge test. The test consists of 30 questions on core driving topics and road signs. You need to answer 24 correctly for a passing score.
  • You need to pass the vision exam with at least a 20/40 score in one eye.

The state of Tennessee imposes stringent restrictions on all permit holders:

  • You must drive with a licensed driver 21 or older in the front seat at all times
  • You cannot drive between the hours of 10 PM and 6 AM
  • Seatbelts are mandatory for all passengers

If you want to know more about this part of the licensing process, we recommend that you read our complete Tennessee learner’s permit guide.

Tennessee Intermediate Restricted Driver’s License

At age 16, you’ll be able to move onto your Tennessee intermediate restricted license. You will need to have held your permit for at least 180 days (6 months)  before you receive your intermediate license. 

To apply for your restricted license, you will need to complete the following steps. 

1. Visit a Driver License Office

Visiting your local Tennessee driver’s license office is a common occurrence during the licensing process. This is also the first thing you must do when applying for your restricted license.

2. Present Necessary Documents

Make sure to bring proof of the following information:

  • Proof of US Citizenship or Legal Presence
  • Proof of Name
  • Proof of Date of Birth
  • Proof of Tennessee residency
  • Proof of Social Security number
  • 50-hour certification form signed by a parent or legal guardian

3. Pass Road Skills Test

The Tennessee road skills test will examine your ability to perform core driving skills, such as turning, maintaining lane position, parallel parking and more. You will be required to provide your own vehicle that is up to legal standards. 

4. Pay Required Fee

At the time of writing, the Tennessee intermediate restricted license fee varies depending on your age. If you are 16, the cost is $24.50. If you are 17, the cost is $21.

Intermediate Restricted License Rules & Restrictions

You will still have restrictions on your license during this phase, although less stringent than on a learner’s permit. 

  • Only one passenger that is not in your immediate family
  • Cannot drive between 11 PM and 6 AM
  • Seatbelts are mandatory for all drivers

Tennessee Intermediate Unrestricted Driver’s License

You are eligible for an unrestricted intermediate license when you turn 17. It must be at least a full year of holding the restricted license before you can move to an intermediate unrestricted license. 

Unrestricted License Requirements 

To apply, you cannot have:

  • Six or more points on your driving record
  • Been at fault for a traffic accident
  • Been convicted of a second seat belt violation 

All you’ll need to do is visit your local driver service center and pay a $2 fee. 

License Restrictions

  • Seatbelts are mandatory for all passengers
  • No additional restrictions

Full Tennessee Driver’s License

Once you turn 18, you can apply for your full under 21 driver’s license. At the DMV, you’ll just need to bring your required documents. Remember that you also have to provide proof of at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel experience. 

You’ll receive a temporary license until your permanent Tennessee driver’s license has been mailed to you. This usually takes a couple of weeks.

That’s It!

That’s all you need to know about obtaining a driver’s license in the state of Tennessee. We hope this guide has helped you out and that you now feel comfortable with the steps moving forward. If you need any help studying for your upcoming knowledge or driving exams, then Zutobi is the perfect study resource with a summarized handbook, Tennessee practice tests, and a gamified experience.

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