There are three types of Tennessee state ID cards that provide all the same identification purposes as a driver’s license. Also called an identification license, this type of ID card is ideal for minors, senior citizens and anyone else who either cannot drive or do not wish to drive. It can be used to prove age and identification for traveling, registering to vote and gaining access to age-restricted events and venues.

There is no minimum age to obtain an ID card in TN, and there are good reasons for purchasing a child ID card for minors younger than 18. All ID applicants must meet the same requirements for state residency, legal presence and proof of identity as driver’s license applicants. However, no testing is required. To learn more about getting a DMV ID card in TN, study the following sections and review the forms provided below.

Tennessee DMV ID Requirements

Applicants must meet all Tennessee DMV state ID requirements regardless of the type of identification license requested. There are no age limits linked to identification licenses. In fact, parents are encouraged to obtain a TN ID card for their children, including infants. A state child ID card can provide identification for school, travel and recreational purposes and can hasten identification in emergency situations.

Expiring Identification License

  • Issued only to those who do not hold a current driver license.
  • If you have a driver’s license, you must surrender it before applying for an identification license.
  • At age 65 or older, this state ID license does not expire.

Permanent Identification License

  • Issued to those who are intellectually or physically disabled.
  • Requires a certified statement from a licensed doctor stating applicant is unable to drive.
  • ID card does not expire.
  • Issued free of charge.

Temporary IDs (XID)

  • Issued to persons authorized by the federal government to be present in the United States for a specific purpose and length of time.
  • Does not include any type of driving privilege.
  • Expires at the end of the period of legally authorized presence.

What do you need to get an ID in Tennessee?

Documents needed for a state ID must prove your identity, legal presence in the United States and current address. Applicants younger than 18 must also provide adult consent via the Minor/Teenage Affidavit and Cancellation form. Examples of documents the TN Department of Safety and Homeland Security will accept are discussed below.

Proof of Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency

  • U.S. Birth Certificate
  • Certificate of Birth Abroad
  • Valid U.S. Passport
  • Certificate of Citizenship or Certificate of Naturalization
  • Permanent Resident Alien Card

Primary Proof of Identity

  • Photo driver license or photo ID card issued by another state or country
  • S. Birth Certificate or valid U.S. passport
  • Military or military dependent ID card
  • Foreign passport with valid visa or I-94, with a Certificate of Accurate Translation if not in English
  • Marriage license or certificate

Secondary Identification

  • Computerized check stubs
  • Work ID card
  • Bank statements or loan documents
  • Health insurance cards
  • IRS/tax forms
  • Vehicle registration or bill of sale

Proof of Tennessee Residency

  • Utility bill bearing the applicant’s name (or the name of a minor applicant’s parent or guardian) and address
  • Bank statement
  • Mortgage contract
  • Lease agreement

Social Security Number (SSN)

  • Must provide a sworn affidavit if no SSN has been issued

Note that all documents needed for state ID must be originals or certified copies. No photocopies can be accepted. All documents may be subject to further verification, which can delay the application’s processing time. Temporary Identification License applicants must provide proof of temporary legal presence and length of authorized stay in the United States.

The Department of Safety can provide an extensive list of acceptable ID card documents in each category, and some documents may be used for more than one purpose. If your current name does not match your birth certificate or other documents, you must provide proof of any name changes.

You must also pay the DMV ID card fee at the time of application. Acceptable methods of payment are cash, check, money order, MasterCard, VISA and Discover credit cards.

How to Get an ID in Tennessee

Applicants wondering where to get state ID in TN should head to their nearest Driver Services Center. Located across the state, these offices are usually open Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Call ahead to obtain wait times. If you are going late in the day to apply for ID, be sure to ask what time the last applicant will be taken. This may be an hour or two before the facility closes.

Bring your supporting documents and fee payment. After verifying your information, the clerk will take your photo and issue your card.

REAL ID Cards in Tennessee

A REAL ID card is one that meets the security standards set by the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. You do not need to apply for REAL ID as a separate request in Tennessee because all TN driver’s licenses are now REAL ID-compliant. This means that your TN ID card can be used to board commercial aircraft, enter nuclear power plants or access federal facilities.

How to Renew or Replace a State ID in Tennessee

All renewal or replacement ID card transactions can happen in person at a driver services center. Some applicants will also be able to renew or replace a lost ID card online. The process for renewal or replacement of an ID document is similar to the initial application, but you may not have to provide as much documentation.

DMV ID Costs in Tennessee

Those asking, “How much does an ID cost in Tennessee?” may be surprised by the low fees. The total DMV ID cost for those 17 and younger is $5. Adults age 18 and older will pay $12 for a photo ID card.

Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.