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Tennessee Drivers Licenses

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security is responsible for issuing drivers licenses and learners permits.

How to get a driver’s license

All drivers that are under the age of 18 are required to complete each phase of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program.  The GDL is a multi-phase program that is designed to provide the driver with gradually increasing levels of freedom and responsibility as they complete the various phases of the program.

The first phase is to obtain a learner’s permit.  This will require that the driver be at least 15 years old, pass a vision test, pass a written exam, and meet a few other eligibility requirements.

The second phase of the GDL is to graduate to an intermediate restricted driver’s license.  The driver will have to be at least 16 years old and will have had to have a learner’s permit for at least 180 days and will have had to complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice with at least 10 hours of them conducted at nighttime.  If a driver meets these requirements, they will need to take a road skills test that evaluates how well the driver can operate a vehicle.  If they pass the test they will be granted a graduated driver’s license.

The final phase of the GDL is to obtain an unrestricted driver’s license.  Just as the name implies, this license does not have any restrictions other than the standard traffic laws.

Here are some drivers license practice tests that will help you learn the road rules and signs and that will help you prepare for the day of your test.

Renew a driver’s license

Driver’s licenses and state identification licenses need to be renewed every 5 years and expire on the birthday of the person they are issued to.  There are several ways to renew a license and you can even renew one that has been expired if it has been less than 5 years since it expired.

The fastest way to renew a driver’s license is online.  To renew online you will need your license number and the last four digits of your SSN.  You will also need a credit or debit card to make the payment.  Once you complete the online renewal process you can print out the final confirmation page to use as your temporary license.  You can use the temporary license until your new driver’s license is mailed to you.  You can renew your license online here.

You can also choose to renew your driver’s license in person at a local Tennessee DMV.  If you want a new photo for your license you will need to visit a DMV in person.

A renewal can also be completed via traditional mail.  The renewal notice that you receive prior to the expiration date will provide instructions on how to renew via mail if it is an option.

Ordering driving records or history

You can order driving records and history for yourself or on another person.  Find out more information in our public records section.