Tennessee Driver’s License Renewal Guide

Do not drive with an invalid or expired driver’s license because it’s considered a serious offense. By renewing your license before the expiration date, you will not risk facing penalties and fees. The license renewal process is quite easy. If you are over 21, you will have to get your license renewed every 8 years.

Renewal Notice for Tennessee Driver’s Licenses

Tennessean drivers receive renewal notices (from DMV) 6 to 8 weeks prior to the expiration of their driver’s license. In order to get instructions and renewal notice online, your email address (the one you use) must be registered in the Department of Motor Vehicles. Otherwise, consider updating your email address and check it regularly for a renewal notice. Those who didn’t receive any renewal notice should take their current driver’s license to one of the driver service centers in Tennessee.

License Renewal Process in Tennessee

An in-person visit to a DSC (Driver Service Center) is inevitable when applying for a first-time license. This involves providing proof of legal permanent residence status or US citizenship. Aside from that, some applicants are required to pass practical and written driving tests to get their first driver’s license.

While you can renew an existing driver’s license by mail or online, you’ll generally have to do it in person at a DSC every other time when renewing your old license. You might be required to update your photo during some renewals.

Let’s take a closer look at the three different types of renewal applicants:


Travels can obtain a photo license and use it as a credentialing document when boarding cruise ships, commercial airplanes, or passenger trains in Tennessee. That involves visiting a driver service center and making a new photo for this particular type of license.

Drivers Who Hold a Class A, Class B or Class C CDL (Commercial Driver License)

CDL holders should go in person to a nearby driver service center when renewing their commercial driver’s license. Besides, those drivers need to give their DOT medical card (it must be valid) during the renewal process.

TID (Temporary Identification License) & TDL (Temporary Driver License)

People who aren’t U.S. citizens and don’t possess a TID  (Temporary Identification License) or TDL (Temporary Driver License) issued in Tennessee must renew their driver’s license. They need to provide certain documentation related to their authorized stay and legal presence in Tennessee when renewing their license. Additionally, applicants must provide 2 documents from List A that prove their Tennessee residency.

Renew Your License In-Person

Perhaps you won’t get a renewal notice for some reason. In that case, you should go to a driver service center and bring your old driver’s license with you. As a matter of fact, a renewal notice isn’t required when renewing a driver’s license.

In Tennessee, applicants looking to renew their license for the very first time are required to go in-person and provide documentation that shows their permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship. When it comes to a commercial driver’s license, it is necessary to renew it in-person every time. At every renewal, applicants need to provide a valid DOT medical certificate.

Requirements for Military Personnel

People employed in the US Armed Forces who hold a Tennessee driver’s license should also make sure their license is valid. No matter the expiration date, their driver’s license will remain valid if it isn’t suspended, surrendered, or canceled. In addition, military personal is supposed to remain on active duty.

A driver’s license with a mark Code 30 means it doesn’t expire. Such a license can remain valid as long as it’s not suspended, canceled, surrendered, or revoked.

Adding this code involves providing required military documents as well as proper identification to a driver service center in Tennessee. Besides, it involves paying a certain fee. It is also possible to handle license duplicates and renewals through the email. Note that you’ll also have to pay some fees and provide documents in this case.

Consider using the MILITARY CHECKLIST when you want to make a request for a non-commercial license. Military families, i.e. the families of military members, and National Guard members can’t take advantage of this provision.

NOTE: Persons reassigned to their duty stations and those separated or discharged from these services need to get their license renewed within 60 days (2 months) upon separation. Military personnel stationed at Fort Campbell military base are deemed to be reassigned back to the state of Tennessee.