New Residents

New residents or those returning to Tennessee who currently hold 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 Services Centers that are located throughout the state.  New residents under 18 years of age, holding a valid learner's permit from another state must meet separate requirements to obtain a Tennessee Teen/Graduated Driver License.

Steps to Get a Tennessee Driver License for New or Returning Residents

  1. Complete Application and Upload Documents
  2. Present Required Documents 
  3. Surrender Out-of-State License
  4. Testing Requirements

Complete Application and Pre-Approve Documents

New residents can complete the Regular Driver License application and have their required documents pre-approved online. By having your documents pre-approved, you will know that you are bringing the correct documents when you visit a Driver Services Center. To complete the application and pre-approval, visit e-Services and select Apply for a License, Permit, or ID in the Non-Commercial Driver License section. Please allow up to five (5) business days for your documents to be pre-approved.

To save time at the Driver Services Center you are encouraged to make an appointment.

Present Required Documents 

When you visit the Driver Services Center you will have to present the following required documents. Even if your documents have been pre-approved online, you will need to bring the original documents or certified copies. Photocopies will not be accepted. All documents are subject to verification with the issuing agency or source. Documents subject to further verification may delay the issuance of your Teen/Graduated Driver License, Regular Driver License, or ID Only License.

Required Documents:

  • Your current license, a certified copy of your driving record or other acceptable ID.
    • If you do not have your current out-of-state license and apply for a Tennessee license with a certified copy of your driving record, known as a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR), it must be original, not a copy, and issued no more than 30 days prior to your application date.
  • Proof of Citizenship/Lawful Permanent Residency or Proof of Temporary Legal Presence
  • Two (2) Proof of Tennessee Residency documents with your name and residential address. A P.O. BOX will not be accepted. Documents must be current and dated within last four (4) months.
  • Proof of full Social Security Number - Social Security Card, W-2 (within last 12 months), payroll check stub, 1099 (within last 12 months)

Surrender Out-of-State License

All new or returning residents must surrender their out-of-state license at time of application for any Tennessee License. Tennessee law does not allow a resident of this state to hold more than one valid license or ID. Only foreign country licenses/IDs may be retained.

Testing Requirements

  • All new or returning residents must take a vision screening at a full-service Driver Services 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 vision screening, Tennessee knowledge test and road skills test.
  • New residents from other countries must take the vision screening, Tennessee knowledge test and road skills test. New residents from other countries are allowed to keep the license issued by that country.