In Tennessee, all drivers older than 21 years of age are required to submit a driver’s license renewal application at least once every eight years. Drivers who fail to complete the DMV license renewal process with the TN Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS) are no longer legally able to operate a motor vehicle until they complete the process. Most drivers are eligible to submit a renewal request in three methods: online, by mail or in-person at a local licensing agency.

To renew a driver’s license online, Tennessee drivers need to simply head to the state’s web portal armed with the necessary information and supporting documentation. Similar eligibility requirements must be met by applicants applying all of the three available methods. Residents who are military personnel living abroad can also submit a request for a renewal from abroad. Read on to learn more about renewing your license in Tennessee.

Eligibility for Drivers License Renewal in Tennessee

Tennessee Drivers License

Note: Drivers can locate the expiration date of their current TN drivers licenses directly to the left of the issue date.

The TN driver’s license office sends out a notice to all drivers in its jurisdiction before renewal time with specific instructions on how the driver can complete the renewal process. While this card is helpful, it is not necessary for renewal. The best place to renew a driver’s license in person depends on where a driver is located throughout the state but does not affect eligibility requirements.

State law requires that all drivers provide proof of American citizenship or lawful presence at the time of their first license renewal by submitting the required documentation in-person to a licensing center. All renewal applicants should also be prepared to show to forms of acceptable ID.

Instances When You Cannot Renew Your Drivers License in Tennessee

Even drivers with an expired driver’s license can renew their license if they submit their application within the necessary time window. In fact, drivers have up to five years to renew an expired license in Tennessee. Drivers with doubts about their eligibility should contact their local DSHS for more information regarding meeting the necessary criteria.

How early can you renew your drivers license in Tennessee?

Drivers can submit a request for a renewed license up to one year before its actual date of expiration. As previously mentioned, drivers can request renewal up to five years after it has already expired without having to retake the skills road test as well.

Tennessee DMV License Renewal Options

There are three ways drivers can choose to submit a renewal application to the TN DSHS. The process of how to renew a driver’s license online is the easiest to complete for many drivers, though applications submitted by mail and in-person are popular, as well. Below, you can learn about each of these methods.

How to Renew Your Drivers License Online

Renewing a driver’s license online in Tennessee can be completed in just a few simple steps. Like other submission methods, drivers can renew their license up to one year before its expiration date online. To be eligible for online submission, drivers should have a current photo uploaded into the TN DSHS system. Drivers eligible for online renewal can use these instructions to submit an online renewal application:

  1. Head to the TN DSHS E-Services web portal.
  2. Enter your identifying information to locate your record. Complete the application and upload the necessary supporting information.
  3. Pay the application fee by credit or debit card.
  4. Submit your application. Print a temporary driver’s license, valid for 20 days from application submission, to keep in your possession while you await your permanent renewed license in the mail.

How to Renew Your Driving License by Mail

Tennessee drivers who would like to submit their DMV license renewal application by mail can do so in a few simple steps as well. Like drivers submitting their application online, drivers who would like to apply by mail must have their current picture in the TN DSHS system. In addition, the applicant must be prepared to include the physical copies of the necessary supporting documentation and a check or money order with the necessary application fee. Complete application packages can be mailed to the applicant’s nearest TN DSHS location offering licensing services.

How to Renew Your Drivers License in Person

All applicants who meet driver’s license renewal requirements in Tennessee can submit an application in person to a Driver Service Center. Applicants who would like to pay the driving license renewal fee and submit the entire application packet in person can do so during the open office hours of their nearest Driver Services Center, or by appointment. Information on the location of all Driver Services Centers found in Tennessee is available from the TN DSHS.

Military & Out of State Renewal in Tennessee

Tennessee residents enrolled in the military who are living abroad can apply for a driver’s license renewal by submitting an application by mail. Military personnel and their families have automatic extensions of their expiring license while the following conditions apply and for 60 days thereafter:

  • On active military duty
  • Based outside the state of Tennessee
  • Not in the possession of a cancelled or suspended license

Tennessee residents in these situations need to submit a driver’s license application renewal form request for a Code 30 exception. Licenses with a Code 30 designation are valid even if their expiration date has passed. To receive a Code 30 exemption, military personnel must show a notarized copy of military orders on official letterhead verifying the applicant’s active duty status. Additional documentation required to process a Code 30 request and ultimately a DMV license renewal includes:

  • A notarized copy of the front and back of the applicant’s military identification card
  • A copy of the applicant’s military orders showing a base outside of Tennessee
  • An acceptable mailing address to receive the requested documentation
  • The required application fee
  • Contact email address

Once the military member is confident he or she meets all of the necessary driver’s license renewal requirements for a Code 30, he or she can submit the application packet by mail to:

The Department of Safety
Cashier Office
1150 Foster Avenue
Nashville, TN 37243

Tennessee REAL ID Drivers License Renewal

Applicants completing the driver’s license renewal process in hopes of receiving a REAL ID are in luck. All licenses issued by the state of Tennessee are REAL ID compliant and therefore valid at federal locations around the country.

Tennessee Drivers License Renewal Fees

In Tennessee, drivers are required to pay a standard driving license renewal fee that is equal to the price of applying for a new driver’s license. As of 2018, this fee amount is a base of $28 regardless of which application method the driver chooses.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 3 2020.