Getting a motorcycle license in Tennessee is a standard procedure that individuals need to perform in order to legally ride a motorcycle on public roads within the state. Motorcycle driving license applicants are required to meet the standards and pass the examinations set by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TN DOSHS). Motorcyclists can apply for a full license, an endorsement added to a valid driver’s license or a motorbike permit, depending on their age and other eligibility requirements. An available option for Class M license applicants is to take the motorcycle safety course, thus gain the opportunity to skip the skills test. For a detailed review of the application process, and to learn how to meet the requirements, continue reading the following sections.

Motorcycle License Requirements in Tennessee

Motorists may apply for a Tennessee Class M permit as soon as they turn 15 years old. However, permit applicants will get their credentials with certain riding restrictions. Therefore, individuals may request a full bike license or an endorsement when they are 16 years of age or older. Riders without a Class D license are obliged to take the knowledge test for a regular driving license, along with the motorcycle knowledge, skills and vision tests. Applicants who possess a valid TN driver’s license may skip the Class D knowledge test. Moreover, riders with a certificate of completion from a state-approved motorcycle safety course may be exempt from taking a road skills test. Tennessee motorcycle driver’s license applicants may have to provide the following documentation:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent resident status or authorized stay
  • Primary proof of identity
  • Secondary proof of identity
  • Proof of name change
  • Two proofs of TN residency
  • Social security number or affidavit for no issue of an SSN

Note that when applying for a motorcycle license in Tennessee, the documents must be presented in their original form, as photocopies are not accepted.

Motorcycle license applicants who are younger than 18 years of age and who do not have a regular driver’s license or permit may have to provide additional proof of school attendance and a teenage affidavit. When adding the TN Class M endorsement, minors must also present a Certification of 50 hours Behind the Wheel Driving Experience (form SF-1256).

Note: New residents must apply for a Tennessee motorbike driving license by presenting and surrendering their valid out-of-state licenses. In case they do not have their credentials from the previous state of residence, they may provide a certified copy of their driving record proving their identity. In addition, the application process may require individuals to present the above-listed documents as a mandatory step of the procedure.

Tennessee Motorcycle License Training Courses

Prior to obtaining a TN DMV motorcycle license, applicants have the option to enroll in an authorized driver’s education and safety course. A successful completion of the safety course for a full bike license may eliminate the motorcycle knowledge exam and the road test for drivers with a valid class D license. Motorists who do not possess a TN driver’s license, but decide to enroll in the safety course may be exempt from the skills test if they complete the course successfully. Applicants may easily complete a rider education program, regardless of whether they are new or experienced motorcyclists.

Tennessee Motorcycle License Tests

When applying for a motorcycle license in Tennessee, applicants who already hold a valid Class D or PD license may be required to pass the following exams:

  • Vision screening
  • Motorcycle rules of the road knowledge test
  • A pre-trip inspection of the motorcycle
  • Skills road test

Motorcycle license applicants who do not hold a Class D or PD license will have to pass a regular rules of the road knowledge test, in addition to the above-mentioned exams. Note that the required tests are mandatory for the completion of this process.

Note: New residents who hold a valid out-of-state motorcycle license or endorsement, may be required to pass the vision screening only. Motorcyclists with an expired motorbike driving license for more than 6 months are obliged to pass full examination including vision, knowledge and skills tests.

The Tennessee Motorcycle License Application Process

Motorcycle license applicants must satisfy certain licensing requirements before being issued the credential. In order to begin the application process, motorists must complete the following steps:

  • Visit a local TN Driver Service Center.
  • Submit the required documentation.
  • Pass the required examinations.
  • Provide a certificate of completion for the motorcycle safety course, if required.
  • Pay the applicable TN motorcycle license cost.

Once the steps for a Tennessee motorcycle license application process are satisfied, applicants will receive their credentials for riding motorcycles on public roads.

Tennessee Motorcycle License Fees

When getting your motorcycle license in Tennessee, the TN DOSHS branch may require motorists to pay certain fees. The TN motorcycle license cost may vary depending on the type of license riders are eligible for. The current fee for a license is set at $29 for an 8-year credential. Drivers younger than 18 years old who apply for a learner’s permit will need to arrange payment in the amount of $6.50. To add an endorsement on a valid driver’s license, motorists must pay a total fee of $55. The aforementioned fees are a combination of the license and application cost. Note that the cost is subject to change without notice.

Last updated on Wednesday, October 3 2018.

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