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  • New to Tennessee

    Great Smokey Mountains, the Mississippi River, the Tennessee Titans, Jack Daniel’s distillery. Before you start making a list of all the fun things to do in Tennessee, make sure you take care of all the requirements the state has for drivers.

    Find Local Tennessee DMV (County Clerk)

    The first thing you will need to do when you make Tennessee your new home is to find your local County Clerk office. The County Clerk handles all vehicle issues.

    What You Need to Know About Driving in Tennessee

    You have 30 days to obtain a driver’s license as well as register your vehicles. In order to do that you need to visit your local County Clerk. In some counties in Tennessee, you will need to pass an emissions test and there is a state requirement to carry liability car insurance.

    Tennessee State Driver’s License and ID’s

    Tennessee doesn’t allow you to have more than one valid driver license or ID, so you will have 30 days to obtain a new Tennessee license or ID and turn in your out of state one. You will have to visit a full-service driver service center to take a vision screening which is the only exam required for a new license if you have a valid one from another state. The fee varies depending on what type of license you need.

    Documents you will need:

    • Primary proof of identity.
    • Original birth certificate.
    • Secondary proof of identity.
    • Proof of US citizenship, lawful permanent resident status or proof of authorized stay or temporary legal presence in the US.
    • Proof of any name changes if different than name on proof of citizenship documents.
    • Two proofs of state residency. Evidence must contain your name with your resident address and not be more than 4 months old. P.O. boxes are not valid.
    • Your Social Security number or a completed Social Security Number Affidavit (Form SF-1324/RDA1348) if you don't own a Social Security number.
    • If you are not a licensed driver, a Tennessee ID card is a good thing to have. It lets you travel by plane in the US and beyond. It is also a valid form of ID for banking, signing a contract or enjoying the nightlife.

      The identity requirements are the same for getting an ID as they are for a license and Tennessee has two types of IDs: one that expires and one for disabled persons (both physically and mentally) that does not expire.

    Registering Your Vehicle or Boat in Tennessee

    Registering your vehicle or boat in Tennessee is easy but it does require a trip to your local county clerk with documentation.

    Things you will need to register your vehicle:

    • Emissions testing certificate, if applicable. Not all counties require it.
    • Your current out-of-state registration certificate.
    • The name and mailing address of the lien holder to whom you are making payments, if applicable.
    • Valid out of state title if no lien.
    • Payment to cover all registration fees. These fees vary by county. Call before visiting your county agent.

    For more car registration information, visit our Car Registration page.

    Boat registration documents vary by county. Call your county clerk before visiting for exact requirements. For more detailed information, visit our TN Boat Registration page.

    TN Auto Insurance Coverage

    You are required to carry car insurance on your vehicles according to Tennessee law. Lien holders may require you to carry collision insurance to protect a financed vehicle.

    Register to Vote in Tennessee

    If you would like to vote as a new resident in Tennessee, you will need to meet the qualifications and register. The qualifications to vote include:

    • you must be a United States citizen.
    • You must be 18 years old or older on or before the date of the next election.
    • You must be a TN resident.
    • You have not been convicted of a felony, or if you have, your full citizen rights were restored.
    • You must be registered no later than 30 days before the election.

    Download and complete the Mail-In Application for Voter Registration (Form SS-3010). The application provides the address to where you need to send it for your district. You can also register to vote when getting your license or ID or register in person at any of the following:

    • County Clerk’s Offices
    • County Election Commission Office
    • Department of Health (WIC program)
    • Department of Human Services
    • Department of Mental Health
    • Department of Safety (Motor Vehicles Division)
    • Department of Veteran’s Affairs
    • Public Libraries
    • Register of Deeds Offices

    For more detailed information, check out our Voter Registration page.

    Military Personnel Stationed in Tennessee

    While stationed in TN as an active military member, you and your spouse do not have to apply for a TN driver's license in order to drive provided:

    • You carry a valid out-of-state driver's license.
    • You do not establish residency.

    Visit our Drivers in the Military page more information.

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