Only at 17 years old and once you have satisfied the necessary criteria will you be eligible for the Intermediate Unrestricted Driving License in Tennessee allowing you to drive at any time without restrictions. You can apply for a Learner Permit at 15 years old under the Graduated Licensing system in Tennessee. See below for the driving progression.
Licenses Under 18 Years Old
Learner Permit, 15 years old
At 15 years old you can visit a Department of Safety (DOS), office in the state and apply for the Learner Permit. You must have a parent or guardian present to sign the application and the financial responsibility form. You must also have a school enrolment letter that is dated no more than 30 days prior in order to continue with the testing for the application. Passing a vision and standard knowledge exam is also required for the permit. Upon providing required documentation of residency and citizenship you will then be given a Learner Permit.
With this permit you may only drive with a licensed adult 21 years or older seated beside you during the day time only. You may not drive at night except for fulfilling the 10 hour portion of night time driving for the behind-the-wheel experience requirement for a Restricted Intermediate License.
Restricted Intermediate License, 16 years
As long as you have held the Learner Permit for 180 days, are at least 16 years old and have completed the road skills test and passed as well as provided the 50 hour behind the wheel experience affidavit will you gain this license. For the application at a DOS office you must also be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to sign the application and provide proof of school enrolment again. Residency, citizenship, auto insurance, car registration and social security number will also be required.
This license allows you to drive unsupervised with a few exceptions. You are not allowed to drive between 11pm to 6am unless you are with a licensed adult driver, you are travelling to or from home and work or school or between the hours of 4am and 6am for hunting or fishing and have a valid hunting and/or fishing license. You can also only drive with 1 passenger, unless the passenger is over 21 or is an immediate family sibling (foster, adopted or natural) living in the same household with parental consent.
Unrestricted Intermediate License, 17 years old
At 17 years old, with no traffic violations and having held a Restricted License for a minimum of one year, you can apply for an Unrestricted Intermediate License. This license lifts all restrictions allowing you to drive unrestricted. At 18 years old, you can then upgrade the license to an Unrestricted License, dropping the “Intermediate” designation.
Adult Drivers & Out of State
For those 18 and over in Tennessee the process of obtaining your license is fairly simple and straight forward as a full license is available upon passing vision, knowledge and road skills testing along with the proper documentation. There is no learner permit phase in the state for those over 18.
Within 30 days of moving to Tennessee you must transfer your driver’s license from your previous state by visiting a DOS office and surrendering your out-of-state license, passing a vision test and providing proof of residency and citizenship to obtain your new Tennessee license.