What documents are required to obtain a Tennessee drivers license? Tennessee

Required Documents for a Tennessee Driver License

Tennessee’s Department of Safety (DOS) requires that all residents submit documents that prove that they are United States citizens and residents of Tennessee (TN) before they receive their drivers license. Residents must also provide documents that prove their identity in order to receive a TN driver license.

Documents that DOS will accept to prove your citizenship and identity include your:

  • Birth certificate
  • Valid United States passport
  • Official naturalization or citizenship certificates (i.e. N550, N560)
  • School photo identification card
  • Social Security card
Acceptable documents that you can use to prove you are a resident of TN are:

  • Recent utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Pay stub
  • Most recent state income tax return form
  • TN voter registration card
You are not allowed to submit photocopied documents as proof of your citizenship, residency, or identity. Additionally, documents that you use to prove your residency must have your name and street mailing address on them.

DOS checks all documents for authenticity and accuracy. Should you use out-of-state documents to prove your identity or citizenship (i.e. birth certificate) it could take one to two extra days for you to receive your TN drivers license.

Required Documents after Relocating to Tennessee

Drivers who relocate to TN must surrender their out-of-state driver license to the nearest driver licensing station within 30 days. It is illegal to possess drivers licenses from more than one state in TN.

You will surrender your license after you pass any necessary licensing examinations. For example, if your out-of-state driver license is expired for six months or longer you must take the TN vision, written, and driving tests. If your out-of-state driver license is not expired, you are only required to take and pass the vision screening.

Required Documents for Teen Drivers

If you are a teen who is younger than 18 years old, you must submit a driving certification form to the clerk at the driver licensing station. The certification form requires the signature of your parents or legal guardians and asserts that you practiced driving for at least 50 hours.

10 of the 50 hours of driving practice must take place at night. Teens who receive their driver training through a licensed drivers education school should ask their drivers ed teacher to sign their certification form.

If you’re younger than 18, you must also submit a letter from your school. Ask your school principal or guidance counselor to sign the letter stating that your attendance and academic progress are satisfactory. Make sure the letter is dated within 30 days of the date that you apply to take the written portion of the license test.  

You do not have to make an appointment to take the written test, but an appointment is required to take the driving test. Study the TN driver’s manual and take at least one practice test to prepare for the examinations.

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