Renewing Your License
As of January 1, 2016, Tennessee licenses for persons over the age of 21 expire every eight years from the date of issuance. The "standard fees" are calculated for an 8 year driver license and include an application fee.
When your license expires, you are no longer entitled to drive a vehicle or motorcycle and will be subject to the same penalties as someone who has never been licensed.
Tennessee state law requires anyone issued a Tennessee driver license after January 1, 2001 to provide documentation that you are a United States Citizen or a lawful permanent resident at the time of your first renewal. In these instances, you may not renew by mail or by the internet and you will be required to visit a Driver Service Center to renew your license.
If you are eligible and would like to renew your license through the Internet, visit our Online Services menu.
Ways to Renew
The department mails every driver a courtesy renewal notice approximately eight to ten weeks before their license expires. READ YOUR RENEWAL NOTICE CAREFULLY. There are basically three ways to renew a driver license, which will be explained on your renewal notice.
- If you have a current valid photo license, you may renew by mail or online and receive an updated license re-using your current photo.
- If you have certain types of licenses, your renewal notice will direct you to go to your nearest driver services center to have a new photograph made. (See NOTES below)
- Effective January 1, 2013, persons age 60 or older having a non-photo driver license issued December 31, 2012 or prior to that date, are permitted to retain the non-photo driver license. Applicants who attain age 60 on January 1, 2013 or after, will not qualify for a non-photo driver license based on age only. (See NOTE 3)
IMPORTANT: Under Tennessee law, a non-photo Driver License will no longer be accepted as identification for the purposes of voting effective January 1, 2012.
If you did not receive a renewal notice, you may simply take your current license to any driver service center. The renewal notice itself is not necessary for you to be able to renew your license.
NOTE 1: Drivers holding a Class A, B or C Commercial Driver License (CDL) are required to appear in person to renew their CDL license. CDL holders must also provide their current valid DOT medical card at the time of renewal.
NOTE 2: If you currently hold a Temporary Driver License (TDL) or Temporary Identification License (TID) you will be required to appear in person at a driver services center to process your renewal. You must provide updated documentation proving your current legal presence and length of authorized stay in the USA at the time of your renewal. Two documents proving your current Tennessee residence address will also be required at renewal.
NOTE 3: If you travel, you may wish to consider obtaining a photo license to assist with the necessary credentialing to board a commercial aircraft, passenger rail service such as Amtrak and cruise ships. This will require you to go to your nearest driver service center to have a new photograph made for your photo license.
If a person holds a valid Tennessee license and is in the United States Armed Forces, that license shall remain valid regardless of the displayed expiration date as long as:
- the person remains on active duty; and
- is based outside the State of Tennessee, and
- the license is not surrendered, canceled or suspended.
While on active duty the military personnel may have a "Code 30" placed on his or her license (which will indicate the license does not expire). The license with a “Code 30” remains valid unless surrendered, canceled, revoked or suspended.
To add this code, military personnel must provide proper identification and required military documents to the driver service center and pay the appropriate fees or submit by mail. Renewals and duplicates can also be handled through the mail with the proper documents and fees.
Members of the National Guard and family members of military personnel are not eligible for this provision.
Once the person has been discharged or separated from such services or has been reassigned to a duty station within the state, he or she must renew his/her license within sixty (60) days following the date of separation on the DD214 form or reassignment to Tennessee.
NOTE: Assignment to Fort Campbell Army Base is considered reassignment back to Tennessee. Fort Campbell Army Base is located in both the states of Tennessee and Kentucky.
Code 30 Necessary Documentation
- A copy of military orders verifying active duty status and representing being based outside the state of Tennessee.
- A letter on military letterhead from the commanding officer or a leave and earnings statement (LES) if it identifies current deployment station may be accepted in lieu of orders.
CODE 30 Mail-In Information
The mailing address to request a “Code 30” on your license is:
TN DEPT OF SAFETY
1150 FOSTER AVENUE
NASHVILLE TN 37243
Code 30 by mail requires special handling by the Department of Safety. Items needed to process a Code 30:
- Military Orders representing being based outside the state of Tennessee.
- Address to mail the approved and processed license with the Code 30
- Fees based upon the number of duplicates issued to the applicant.
- Contact Email address in the event additional information is needed.