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How to Obtain ID Cards in Tennessee

A Tennessee ID card is available to residents who can provide proof of identity, state residency and legal presence. However, a DMV ID card does not provide residents with driving privileges. Instead, residents may obtain a new ID card for identification purposes only. As such, two types of ID cards are available to Tennessee residents, including an expiring and permanent identification license. To get an identification card in Tennessee, residents must complete an ID card application in person. Learning about ID card information, including how to apply for ID card credentials, is the best way to start.

Tennessee ID Card Eligibility Requirements

A Tennessee DMV ID card (or an identification only license) is available to all state residents who meet eligibility requirements, including children, infants and applicants with disabilities. As such, these identification cards are available for a fee through the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOSHS). To complete a DMV ID card application, however, all residents (including children) must meet eligibility requirements and submit proof of state residency, legal presence and identity. Additionally, ID card applicants must not hold a current driver license if they wish to obtain a TN identification card as proof of identity. While expiring ID cards generally need to be renewed by a specific date, they do not expire if applicants are older than 65 years of age. Furthermore, a permanent DMV ID card is only available to residents with physical or intellectual disabilities. However, permanent identification card applicants must submit a certified statement from a licensed doctor verifying their inability to operate a motor vehicle. Residents who qualify for a permanent ID card are exempt from paying the application fee. Additionally, a permanent identification card does not expire.

Another type of DMV ID card in Tennessee is a temporary identification license (or a temporary ID credential). Like expiring and permanent DMV identification cards, these types of licenses are only available for ID purposes, as they do notgrant an applicant permission to operate a motor vehicle. Additionally, a temporary ID card is only available to lawful permanent residents or non-U.S. citizens who have proof of authorized stay in the country. To qualify for a temporary identification card, applicants must provide proof of temporary legal presence or authorized stay and pay the applicable fee.

How to Apply for a Tennessee ID Card

To apply for an ID card, residents must visit a local Driver Services Center to complete the identification card application in person. Applicants cannot get an ID card online or by mail. To get an ID card in Tennessee, applicants must visit a Driver Services Center and submit the following original or certified documents:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship, authorized stay or lawful permanent resident status
  • Primary proof of identity, such as a U.S. photo driver license, birth certificate, military ID or U.S. passport
  • Secondary proof of identity, such as a union membership card, computerized check stub, work identification, health insurance or Social Security card
  • Proof of name change (if the applicant’s name differs from the name on his or her primary identification document)
  • Two proofs of state residency (must include the applicant’s name and resident address)
  • Proof of Social Security Number (SSN) or an SSN Affidavit
  • A Minor/Teenage Affidavit, if younger than 18 years of age

When applying for an ID card in TN as a minor, a parent or legal guardian must complete a portion of the Minor/Teenage Affidavit. While residents cannot apply for identification cards online, they may download the Minor/Teenage Affidavit online if they wish to complete the form ahead of time. Furthermore, residents submitting a permanent ID card application must provide proof of medical eligibility during the time of application. Unless residents apply for a permanent ID card, they must pay the expiring DMV ID card fee in the form of check, cash, money order or credit card. However, fees for a DMV ID card application vary depending on if residents are older or younger than 18 years of age or whether they apply for a permanent or expiring ID card or a temporary identification license.

How to Renew ID Card in Tennessee

A permanent ID card does not expire, but applicants may renew expiring identification cards after an eight-year period. To renew ID card credentials for the first time, applicants must visit a Driver Services Center to submit proof of lawful permanent residency or U.S. citizenship. Applicants may choose the option “renew ID card online” through the e-Services portion of the TDOSHS website or complete the process by mail after their first renewal. After the first Tennessee ID card renewal, residents may conventionally renew an identification card online, even if the credential is already expired. When renewing an identification card online, applicants must provide their date of birth, last name, Social Security Number and TN ID card number.

To renew a temporary ID card in Tennessee, however, applicants must visit a Driver Services Center to complete the process in person. When renewing an ID card, applicants must provide two current proofs of their address and updated evidence of legal presence.

How to Replace ID Card in Tennessee

If applicants lose or damage their Tennessee ID card, then they may order a replacement through the TDOSHS. Additionally, applicants may replace ID card credentials that have been stolen from them. To replace a stolen or lost ID card or to order a replacement identification card after a name or address change, applicants may order a duplicate online through the e-Services portion of the TDOSHS website or they may visit a Driver Services Center to apply in person. Once applicants order a new ID card, however, their original expiration date does not change. To order a replacement ID card online, applicants must provide their Social Security and ID card number, last name and birth date.

To replace a temporary identification card, however, applicants must complete the process in person at a Driver Services Center. To replace a TN identification card, applicants must submit proper identification and have a new photograph taken.


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