New residents or those returning to Tennessee and holding a driver license from another state must obtain a Tennessee driver license no later than thirty (30) days after establishing residency. New residents will need to go to any of our full-service driver service centers that are located throughout the state. New residents holding a valid learner's permit from another state must meet separate requirements to obtain a Tennessee learner permit or driver license.
Instructions for new or returning Tennessee resident
Present Required Documents
All documents must be originals or certified. Photocopies will not be accepted.
- Your current license or certified copy of driving record or other acceptable ID. The certified copy of your driving record, known as a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR), must be an original and issued no more than 30 days prior to your Tennessee application date.
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship, Lawful Permanent Resident Status or Proof of authorized stay or temporary legal presence in the United States
- If there has been a name change from the Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Legal Presence presented, certified legal document supporting name change must be presented. This may require presentation of multiple documents. Examples of supporting documents:
- Ex. Court order, marriage certificate, divorce decree.
- Two Proofs of Tennessee Residency with your name and resident address - NO P.O. BOXES (Documents must be current. Must be dated within last 4 months.)
- Proof of full Social Security Number
- Ex. Social Security Card, W-2 (within last 12 months), payroll check stub, 1099 (within last (12) months).
PLEASE NOTE: All documents are subject to verification with the issuing agency or source. Documents subject to further verification may delay the issuance of your permit, driver license, or identification only license.
Surrender Out-of-State License
All new or returning residents must surrender their out-of-state license at time of application for Tennessee license. Tennessee law does not allow a resident of this state to hold more than one valid driver license or ID. Only foreign country licenses/IDs may be retained.
- All new or returning residents must take a Tennessee vision screening at the full-service driver service center. There are additional requirements for commercial driver license holders.
- New or returning residents whose out of state license has been expired for more than six months must take the Tennessee knowledge exam, road skills test, and vision screening.
- New residents from other countries are required to take full tests: vision screening, knowledge exam, and road skills test. They will be allowed to keep the license issued by that country.