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Application for a driver鈥檚 license in TennesseeTennessee driving school





How do you apply for a learner permit or intermediate license under the GDL law?


Answer: You may apply for a learner permit or intermediate license at any full-service Driver Services Center by providing the proper documentation and forms, listed below. To obtain a learner permit, one must pass a written exam and an eye exam. Our online services include practice learner permit tests. To obtain an intermediate license, one must pass a road test. You may schedule a road test appointment through our online services.


A major feature of the GDL law includes the requirement that applicants applying for an intermediate license must present certification that the intermediate license applicant has a minimum of 50 hours of behind-the-wheel driving experience, including a minimum of 10 hours of driving at night. This certification must be signed by the minor applicant's parent, legal guardian, or certified license instructor confirming this experience.


To apply for a Learner Permit or Graduated Driver License you will need to bring:

         Proof of U.S. Citizenship, Lawful Permanent Resident Status or Proof of authorized stay in the United States

         Primary Proof of Identity

         Secondary Proof of Identity

         Proof of any Name Changes if Different than name on Primary ID

         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.) These documents can list the parent or guardian (parent's name instead of teen's name) as long as the parent or guardian holds a valid Tennessee Driver License.

         A Social Security Number or sworn affidavit if no Social Security number has been issued.

         Proof of school attendance/progress (SF1010 Form, provided by the school; necessary for Learner Permit only unless student is applying for TN Intermediate Driver License with an out-of-state Learner Permit or Driver License)

         Teenage Affidavit/Financial Responsibility (also available at the Driver Services Center)

         Certification of 50 Hours Behind the Wheel Driving Experience (SF-1256) (also available at the Driver Services Center)

         If you are applying for an Intermediate License with an out-of-state permit, you must also provide a Motor Vehicle Record from the issuing state. See below, along with Driver License FAQ #6 and


Additional Requirements


To obtain a Tennessee Driver License for the first time when an applicant is under the age of 18, proof of prior driving experience is required. The applicant must either:


1.Obtain and hold a learner permit for at least six (6) months (180 days)



2.Have been licensed to drive in another state for at least 90 days.

3.Applicants not yet eighteen years old must have an adult sign a Minor/Teen-age Affidavit and Cancellation form, which can be picked up at any driver license station or downloaded in Adobe PDF format.

What is the Graduated Driver License Program?

Tennessee鈥檚 Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program is a multi-tiered program designed to ease young novice drivers into full driving privileges as they become more mature and develop their driving skills. By requiring more supervised practice, the State of Tennessee hopes to save lives and prevent tragic injuries. Tennessee鈥檚 GDL Program started on July 1, 2001.  It places certain restrictions on teens under the age of 18 who have learner permits and driver licenses. The program requires parent/legal guardian involvement, and emphasizes the importance of a good driving record.

The Graduated Driver License law provides for three phases of licensing for teens under 18 years of age:

         Learner Permit

         Intermediate Restricted License

         Intermediate Unrestricted License

The procedures for obtaining a driver license for those under the age of 18 are covered in Chapter Three of the Driver License Handbook.  Review Chapter Three of the Driver License Handbook for additional information on the Graduated Driver License Program.

How do I get a Learner Permit or Intermediate License?

For the issuance of a Tennessee Learner Permit:

         Must be at least 15 years of age

         Pass a standard vision screening. 

         Pass the Class D knowledge exam. Practice exams are available online.

         If you are under the age of 18, you will also need to have:

A parent or legal guardian (with proof of guardianship) present to sign a minor/teenage affidavit and financial responsibility form.

Show proof of school attendance/progress from a current Tennessee school or a letter from the school in your previous state that confirms your attendance and satisfactory progress during enrollment in that school.  This letter must be signed and dated by the principal or guidance counselor no more than 30 days prior to your Tennessee application.

         Provide all required documentation.

For the issuance of a Tennessee Intermediate Driver License:

         Must be at least 16 years of age

         Must have held a valid learner permit for a minimum of 180 days.  

         Must have 50 hours of behind the wheel driving experience (including 10 hours of night driving).

         A 50-Hour Certification form must be signed by your parent, guardian or driving instructor confirming     this experience. 

         Pass a road skills test.

         Provide all required documentation.

         A vision screening will be required only if you are exchanging a learner permit or license from another state.

Source: DMV







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