Tennessee Permit Requirements

To earn a Tennessee driver permit with Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Driver Services Division, it is helpful to know the permit requirements.  Make sure you have the met all the requirements and that you have the required documents ready.

To obtain a driver’s permit in the State of Tennessee for people under the age of 18, they must comply with the Tennessee Graduated Driver License (GDL) program. A learner’s permit, which is a Class PD license, requires the applicant to be at least 15 years old and pass a written knowledge test and a vision test. The GDL has four steps with fees that must be completed before the applicant can obtain a regular driver’s license. The steps are:

  • A learner’s permit with a total fee of $10.50 for one year.
  • An intermediate restricted license for applicants at least 16 years old with a valid learner’s permit for at least 180 days. The total fee is $24.50 for five years.
  • An intermediate unrestricted license for applicants at least 17 years old with a total fee of $2.00 for one year.
  • A regular driver's license until age 21 total fee $10.00.

Tennessee Permit ID and Documentation

The documentation required for a permit is:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship, of lawful permanent resident status or authorized stay
  • Primary and secondary proof of identity
  • Two proofs of Tennessee residency, P.O. boxes are not accepted
  • Social Security number or proof that one hasn't been issued

You can meet all of these requirements with a valid birth certificate, Social Security card and a high school transcript.

Applicants who are under the age of 18 will also need to have a parent or legal guardian present at the time of application who can sign a financial responsibility and teenage affidavit form. http://www.tn.gov/safety/forms/minor.pdf   The applicant will also need to present proof of school attendance, and a report card from an existing Tennessee school. They may bring a letter signed by an authority at a school they previously attended in another state. This letter must be submitted 30 days or less prior to applying in Tennessee.

Tennessee Written Knowledge Test

The written knowledge test is multiple choice with three possible answers for each question, and practice tests are available. You must get 24 out of 30 questions correct in order to pass. The test covers: laws and rules of the road, safe driving procedures, traffic signs and signals, and alcohol, drugs and driving.

Upon passing the written test, applicants will be issued a Learner Permit which allows them to drive with a supervising adult between 6 AM and 10 PM.

Tennessee Intermediate License

In order to qualify for an actual license students must complete 50 hours of practice driving experience, with 10 hours of practice night driving. This must be done while accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old. 

Upon turning 16 applicants are eligible for an intermediate license.  You can then make an appointment for a road test up to 90 days before their desired test date. Before taking a road test, the applicant must have held a valid learner's permit for at least 180 days.