Tennessee drivers license renewal

Tennessee Driver’s License Renewal Guide

by Zutobi · Updated Jan 03, 2022

Is your Tennessee driver’s license renewal period coming up soon? Here is everything you need to know!

How Often Do I Need to Renew My Tennessee Driver’s License?

Your driver’s license renewal depends on your age and where you are in the Graduated Driver’s license Program:

  • A Permit expires 1 year from when it was issued.
  • A D-Intermediate Restricted License expires in five years, on your birthday.
  • A D-Intermediate Unrestricted License (Under 18) expires in one year, on your birthday
  • A Class D License (Age 18-20) expires when you turn 21
  • A Class D License (Age 21 and older) expires every eight years
  • A Hardship License expires two years after issuance

Note: The Department urges drivers who renew online or by mail to do so 21 days or more before their expiration date, to allow plenty of time for their new license to come in the mail.

What is the Grace Period?

Tennessee does not have a grace period. If you are caught driving with an expired license, you are treated as if you were caught driving with no license at all.

In addition, you will have to pay a late fee upon renewal. These are on top of the regular Tennessee license renewal fees:

  • $5 if your license is over 10 days late
  • $10 if your license is over 6 months late
  • If your license has expired for more than five years, you will have to pay $10, plus you will have to take the written and driving exam.

How to Renew a Tennessee Driver’s License

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security will mail out a courtesy renewal reminder 8 to 10 weeks before your license expires. It will cover your available options for that renewal period.

  • If you still have a valid photo id, you may be invited to renew online or by mail.
  • If you need to take a new photo, you must renew in person at a Tennessee Driver Service Center.
  • If you do not receive your courtesy reminder, you can still renew in person
  • A REAL-ID MUST be renewed in person.

How to Renew Online or By Mail

Renewal by mail or online or two popular options for Tennessee drivers. Here are the steps to successfully do it:

  1. Wait for your courtesy reminder to arrive in the mail, approximately 10-12 weeks before expiration.
  2. To renew by mail, follow the instructions provided. Send your application and fee to the provided address.
  3. To renew online, go to the Tennessee Department’s Online Service page and follow the instructions provided.
    1. Login
    2. Verify Your Information
    3. Make any corrections
    4. Pay the associated fees
    5. Your license will be mailed to the address on your card within 3 weeks. Do not drive if your license expires before your new one comes in.

How to Renew in Person

If you wish to renew your driver’s license in person, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Visit a nearby Driver Service Center. You may need to schedule your appointment in advance at some locations.
  2. Present Proof of Identity, like your photo id or birth certificate. If you are renewing a REAL-ID, you will need these documents.
  3. Correct and Verify Your Information
  4. Take a New Photo
  5. If the location does not print licenses on-site, carry your temporary paper license until your new license comes in the mail. You should see your new license within three weeks.

What are the Fees for Renewing a Tennessee Driver’s License?

Your Base Renewal fee will be the same as your initial application fee, based on this fee chart.

In addition, you should expect to pay:

  • A $2 – $7 application fee, depending on your license type
  • A $4 administrative fee for clerk of court office services
  • A $5-$10 late fee, if your license is expired

Do I Need a REAL-ID in Tennessee?

Starting October 1, 2021, your standard id will not be valid for federal identification. That means it will not be accepted as a primary id when you fly on a plane and go to certain federal buildings, military bases, and nuclear facilities. To get into these places, you will need a REAL-ID, a valid passport, or other federally accepted ids.

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