tennessee drivers license renewal - TN

Renew your Tennessee Drivers license. Prepare all your DMV info. Get all the forms, rules and steps required for your TN drivers license renewal. The majority of drivers can conveniently renew Online by following certain requirements which we will cover. If you will be temporarily away from Tennessee you may renew By Mail. Finally, every driver has the right to renew in person. Just find your closest driver service center. Your last option is to use our site and download your checklist. We’ll supply you with all of the necessary forms, rules, and steps in order for you to be fully prepared for your licensing visit. Please continue reading below to get started with your Tennessee license renewal.

Tennessee Drivers License Renewal Information

Expiration Date

The front part of your license will clearly state the date that your license expires. In The Volunteer State, Class D drivers licenses (regular passenger drivers licenses) expire every five (5) years and the date will always fall on your birthday. You must always carry an active drivers license while you are driving as it is the law to do so.

Renewal Notice

As a courtesy for your upcoming renewal, the Tennessee DMV will send out a reminder by mail between eight (8) and ten (10) weeks before the date of your expiration. This notice will be sent  to the address on file for you and will clearly state the different ways in which to renew.. Because of this there is a law that requires you to make an address change as soon as you move or get a new address.  Just because you did not receive a renewal notice reminder, does not signify that you should not renew on time. You do not need to show up at a driver service center with the renewal reminder. You can simply show your expiring drivers license. Remember that It is always your duty to keep your license active. 

When To Renew

The Tennessee Driver Services agency knows that not everyone can renew at their scheduled date. That's why all Class D or Class M (motorcycle) and ID card holders are allowed to renew ahead of time. You can renew as early as twelve (12) months before the date of your expiration. This should give plenty of time for drivers that will be out of state or country. There will be no additional penalties or fees to do this. The only thing you must do is visit any driver service center. You should never drive any type of motor vehicle with an expired license as it is a violation to do so.

Expired Tennessee License

Tennessee drivers that have allowed their license to expire are in violation of the law. You are never allowed to drive with an expired license as Tennessee does not have a grace period. If more than thirty (30) days have passed since your expiration date, you will be charged an additional $5 late fee upon renewal. The late fee increases to $10.00 if you allow it to expire for more than 6 months. A renewal will not be allowed if its been over 5 years since your license expired. You will need to apply as a new applicant and retake all tests (eye test, written test, and driving test). Remember that driving with an expired license carries the same violation as someone driving without a license.

Certain violations will result in the suspension of your driving privileges. These included DUI arrests, refusing to take a drug and alcohol test (if suspected of driving while under the influence), giving your license to someone else, fleeing from a police officer, not meeting your child support obligations, etc.. If you are convicted and your license is suspended you must surrender your card or you will face additional fines.  In order to restore your drivers license you must follow the reinstatement procedure which applies to your case. 

Renew Tennessee Drivers License Online

This is the preferred method for renewal. Although most drivers in Tennessee can renew online, there are certain requirements that must be met:

Requirements to Renew Online

  • If there are less than twenty one (21) days before your expiration date, do not use this method. Shipping time usually takes 21 days and you would be driving with an expired license.
  • If you last obtained your license between the dates of January 2001 and July 2004 you cannot renew online. You must go in person because you must show the DMV proof that you are a either a U.S. Citizen or proof of Legal Presence.
  • If this is the first time you are renewing, you cannot apply online. You must visits a driver service office and furnish proof of U.S Citizenship or Legal Status.
  • If you are attempting to renew a Commercial drivers license, or a Temporary drivers license, or Temporary ID, you will not be allowed to use this system. Only Class D drivers licenses and Class M motorcycle license may use this option. 
  • If your current expiring license has your photo and it was issued before October 1996 you cannot use the online option.
  • If you are less than sixty (60) years old and your current expiring license is a non-photo license you cannot use the online option.
  • Licenses with a renewal sticker (in the back) cannot renew online.
  • If your license is five (5) years past its expiration date, you cannot use this method.
  • You can only renew online if your last renewal was done in person at a driver service center.
  • If you need to make any changes to your physical appearance, or name change, or birth date change you cannot use this method.
  • You will need to be a resident of Tennessee as your physical address will be needed.
  • You will need to enter your drivers license number (or ID number).
  • As a security measure you will need to enter your Social Security Number (only last 4 digits) and Date of Birth.
  • You are able to make the $19.50 payment FEE ($17.50 for the license PLUS $2.00 application fee). Note: The only forms of payment are MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card and American Express.
  • You will be registered for selective service if you are eighteen (18) or older and less than twenty five (25).

STEPS

  1. If renewing online is an option for you, PLEASE CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED with the Tennessee renewal.
  2. Your license will be sent in no later than three (3) weeks. You will need a printer to print out your receipt which will act as temporary drivers license until your actual card is received. The receipt is only good for twenty (20) days.

Note: To inquire about your drivers license please create a support ticket with the TN DMV. You can get the latest Contact Info or simply use the following info:

Phone Number: (615) 253-5221 or 1-866-849-3548 (Toll Free)
Fax: (615) 253-2092
Email: FinResp.Safety@tn.gov
For Hearing Impaired Drivers: (615) 532-2281

Tennessee Drivers License Renew by Mail

Out of state Tennessee residents and military families may take advantage of this option.

Requirements to Renew By Mail

  • Commercial Driver License's, or Temporary Driver License's, or Temporary ID's may not use the Mail In option. 
  • If the last you renewed was either By Mail or Online you cannot renew by mail. The reason is that you must have a new picture taken at a driver service center.
  • If this is your first renewal you cannot use the Mail In option. The reason is because Tennessee law requires that all first time applicants submit Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Proof of Lawful U.S. Status.
  • If you last obtained your license between the dates of January 2001 and July 2004 you cannot renew online. You must go in person because you must show the DMV proof that you are a either a U.S. Citizen or proof of Legal Presence.
  • Finally, you will need to show proof that you are not currently residing in Tennessee. 

Out of State Renewal By Mail

You will need to prepare your own mail in packet that should contain your Proof of Identification and personal details. Please follow these step by step instructions:

STEPS

  1. Prepare a letter with your complete Name, your Drivers License Number, and Birth Date.
  2. Copies of two (2) documents which show Proof of Identification. Note: Copies must have your signature notarized. 
  3. Your out of state mailing address (license will be sent here) and out of state phone number (you will be contacted if needed).
  4. Proof that you are currently residing out of state. Examples of the types of proof can include:
    • For drivers who are working out of state, please have your company or church create a letter detailing your work.
    • Drivers with spouses in the military must send of a copy of Military ID and a letter from commanding officer. 
  5. Please send payment in the form of a money order or check. The amount usually totals $19.50. ($17.50 for the license PLUS $2.00 application fee). Note: Sometimes the fee will vary slightly depending on your age (at your birthday). For instance, if your age is not divisible by 5 then you will owe a different amount. Before sending the application packet please call the following number: (866) 903-7357 and ask about the exact amount for your renewal.
  6. Mail all of the requirements above to the following address:

    Tennessee Department of Safety
    Cashier's Office
    1150 Foster Avenue
    Nashville, TN 37243-1000

 

Your license will be sent in no later than three (3) weeks. To inquire about your drivers license please create a support ticket with the TN DMV. You can get the latest Contact Info or simply use the following info: Phone Number: (615) 253-5221 or 1-866-849-3548 (Toll Free).

Tennessee Drivers License Renewal for Military Drivers

If you are serving the U.S. military, your license will not expire as long as you remain in active duty. You need to apply via mail or in person for a Code 30, which allows your license to not expire. In order to get this status on your license, you must show or send the DMV the proper documents. Create a letter with the following information:

Renewal Steps for U.S. Military Drivers

  • Your complete name, birth date, drivers license number and current out of state mailing address. 
  • Ask your officer to create a letter explaining the location of your current station OR a copy of your military orders.
  • A copy of military ID. It must be notarized.
  • Special Note: Your dependents may not use this method. 
  • Payment for the cost of a duplicate in the form of a money order or check for a total of $8. Make the check out to Tennessee Department of Safety.
  • Mail all of the requirements above to the following address:

    Tennessee Department of Safety
    Cashier's Office
    1150 Foster Avenue
    Nashville, TN 37243-1000

You will be issued a new duplicate license with a status that does not expire. Please remember that after your return to the state of Tennessee (either because you terminated active duty or reassignment) you will only have sixty (60) days to apply for a renewal for a regular drivers license (with an expiration). The same late fees stated above apply if you go over the 60 days.  

Renew Tennessee Drivers License In Person

This is your only option if more than 2 years have passed since your license expired.

Requirements to Renew In Person

  1. Commercial Driver License's, or Temporary Driver License's, or Temporary ID's may not go in person.
  2. First time renewal applicants by law must submit their Proof Citizenship OR Proof of Lawful Status (see below).
  3. If your last renewal was done Online OR by Mail then you must show up in person this time.
  4. You do not need to bring your renewal notice that was sent via mail.

STEPS

  1. Find a local driver service center location or call the following number to find the best place for you: 1-866-849-3548.
  2. No tests are required if license has not been expired for over 5 years. If is has been expired for over 5 years, you will need to retake all tests (eye test, written test, and driving test). For road test scheduling please visit this link
  3. Bring money to pay the COST of the license. If your license has expired for over 30 days you will need to pay additional money. 
  4. Your signature is required.
  5. Your picture will be taken.

Your newly renewed license will be handed to you.

Tennessee Drivers License Renewal Documents

When going in person to your nearest DMV office, please have the following documents with you.

Auto Insurance

Liability insurance is a must when operating a motor vehicle. In Tennessee drivers are required to follow the Financial Responsibility Law. This means that you must always be able to show proof of financial responsibility.  Be sure that you are properly protected by visiting our auto insurance page for a comparison of rates.

 

 

Other Driver License Topics in the State of Tennessee

  • New Driver's License
  • Renew Driver's License
  • Learner's Permit