Getting a Hardship Driver’s License in Tennessee

Tennessee offers a Hardship License (Class H) for minors who find themselves in need due to family hardship. It allows individuals under the standard driving age to operate a vehicle with specific limitations. The process of obtaining a Hardship License in Tennessee is meticulous, requiring a clear demonstration of need and an understanding of the accompanying responsibilities.

Key Takeaways

  • A Hardship License is available for minors in exceptional cases.
  • You must demonstrate a qualifying hardship to apply.
  • The license carries specific operational restrictions.

How To Apply for a Hardship License in TN

To obtain a hardship license in Tennessee, you’ll follow a structured application process, which necessitates detailed documentation and proves your eligibility.

Application Submission Procedure

Step 1: Firstly, ensure that you are a Tennessee resident between the ages of 14 and 16. You will need to complete a Hardship License application, available on the Tennessee State Government website.

Step 2: Next, gather the necessary documentation to establish proof of hardship, which must accompany your application. This includes, but is not limited to, evidence of the circumstances that contribute to your need for a hardship license.

Step 3: Then, mail your completed application along with your documentation to the Driver Services administrative office. It is important to note that each application is individually reviewed, and less than one percent of minor applicants are granted a hardship license.

Remember, obtaining a hardship license is a serious undertaking and should be approached with diligence and attention to detail. If granted, it provides a legal avenue for young drivers to operate a vehicle under specific conditions despite their age.

Eligibility Criteria For Hardship License

To obtain a hardship license in Tennessee, you must meet specific criteria and provide the necessary documentation. This license allows for limited driving privileges under particular conditions.

What are The Documents Needed

  • Proof of residency in Tennessee
  • Evidence of any circumstances that necessitate the need for a hardship license, such as medical emergencies or travel to school or work.

Legal Requirements

  • Compliance with the Compulsory School Attendance and Satisfactory Progress Law for applicants under 18.
  • Not currently revoked or suspended for offenses that would preclude eligibility.

Age Restrictions

  • You must be at least 14 years old to apply.
  • For underaged applicants, a learner’s permit might be required before obtaining the hardship license.

Driving Record Assessment

  • A review of your driving record to ensure no disqualifying violations.
  • Assurance that any other cancellations, suspensions, or revocations have been properly reinstated.

What are The Conditions and Restrictions on TN Hardship License

When obtaining a Restricted License TN, be aware of specific conditions and restrictions that will apply to your driving privileges. These limitations are designed to ensure your safety as well as the safety of others on the road.

Driving Limitations

  • Daytime Driving: Your hardship license permits you to drive only during daylight hours.
  • Purpose of Travel: You are authorized to drive directly to and from school, work, and medical appointments.

Monitoring and Compliance

  • Test Requirements: Successful completion of a Class D knowledge test and, if applicable, a Class M knowledge test is necessary.
  • Vehicle Class: You may operate Class D (passenger vehicles) and Class M (motor-driven cycles), provided you pass the requisite tests for each class.

Please adhere strictly to these parameters to maintain your driving privileges and comply with Tennessee state regulations.

Renewal and Revocation

When your hardship driver’s license in Tennessee is close to expiring or you’re facing the risk of revocation, it’s crucial to understand the specific procedures and regulations that apply to your license.

Renewal Procedure

If you have a hardship license and it’s fewer than six months until your 16th birthday, renewal is a necessary step. To renew your license, you must follow the required renewal process for a Class PD (Provisional Driver) license upon expiration of your hardship license.

Grounds for Revocation

Revocation of your hardship license can occur if you violate specific terms and conditions set by the Tennessee Department of Safety. Understanding the list of violations that can lead to revocation is essential to maintain your driving privileges. These violations could range from accumulating excessive traffic infractions to more serious offenses such as driving under the influence.


In Tennessee, obtaining a hardship license follows state-specified guidelines. This permit allows daytime driving within designated hours, typically from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. For those affected by a DUI, restrictions and eligibility criteria apply, requiring compliance with Tennessee State Government’s regulations. Your driving is confined to pre-authorized locations, ensuring you can fulfill necessary responsibilities despite limitations.

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