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Frequently Asked Questions

Question 6

Is my out of state learner's permit valid in Tennessee and what restrictions apply to that permit?

Answer: Tennessee recognizes learner permits issued by other states, so you may drive with it here, as long as you abide by all of the restrictions that would apply to you if you were in your home state.

New residents holding a valid out-of-state learner permit must obtain a Tennessee Learner Permit or Driver License no later than thirty (30) days after establishing residency.

If you have moved to Tennessee with an out-of-state learner permit, you will need the following:

For the issuance of a Tennessee Learner Permit:

  • You must be at least fifteen (15) years of age.
  • Surrender your valid out-of-state permit and submit all other identity/citizenship/residency requirements for a Class D license to the examiner.
  • Pass a standard vision screening. If your permit has expired more than 6 months you will also have to pass the Class D knowledge exam.
  • 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.

For the issuance of a Tennessee Driver License:

  • You must be at least sixteen (16) years of age.
  • Surrender your valid out-of-state permit and submit all other identity/citizenship/residency requirements for a Class D license to the examiner.
  • Pass a standard vision screening. If your permit has expired more than 6 months you will also have to pass the Class D knowledge exam.
  • Pass a road skills test.
  • If you are under the age of 18, you will also need the following:
    • 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.
    • Must have held a valid learner permit in the other state for a minimum of 180 days. If your permit from the other state has been issued for less than 180 days you cannot receive a Tennessee license.You will be required to get a Tennessee permit and hold it until you have reached the required 180 days.
    • 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.
    • An original, certified Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) (no photocopies) from the former state issued no more than 30 days prior to your Tennessee application date.
      • If there are accidents or moving violations shown on your MVR from the previous state the Examiner will have to submit the MVR to Nashville for review before issuing a Tennessee license. This review is to determine if the violations in the former state total less than 6 points. If the points limit is exceeded you will have to hold a Tennessee learner permit for 180 days without accumulating 6 points or more on your Tennessee record.
      • If your MVR from the previous state is clear (no violations or accidents) you will be permitted to take the road test for a Tennessee Intermediate Restricted driver license.

For more information, see: How to apply for a Learner's Permit or Graduated Driver License

For more general driver license information (general info, office locations, online services etc.) visit Driver Services.

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