A hardship license (Class H) may be issued to a minor who is 14 years old to operate either a Class D passenger vehicle or Class M motorcycle or both. This license is only issued in cases of family hardship and are limited to specific needs.
Proof of hardship must be mailed with a Hardship License application to the Driver Services administrative office for evaluation. Each application is reviewed and evaluated on an individual basis. Less than one percent of all licenses issued to minors are hardship licenses. If approved, the applicant will receive a letter authorizing application for a hardship license.
Applicants who are approved to apply for a Class H hardship license must pass a vision screening, knowledge test, and road test to operate a Class D passenger vehicle. However, to drive a Class M vehicle, the applicant will also be required to take the Class M knowledge and driving test in addition to the Class D knowledge test. Upon being licensed, operation of the Class M vehicle is limited to 125 cc.
The Class H license is valid only for daylight hours and for travel to authorized locations as specified in the approval letter.
Drivers with a hardship license who are at least fifteen (15) years old are extended the same privileges as those holding a Class PD license, when they are accompanied by any of the responsible adults listed for the Class PD.
Regardless of age at time of approval, a Hardship License will expire on the applicant's 16th birthday.
Please note: If you are approved for a hardship license and it is less than 6 months until your 16th birthday, you will be required to renew a Class PD upon expiration of your hardship license. You will need to hold the learner permit until you have attained a total of 180 days driving experience between the two license types and meet the Graduated Driver License Requirements as outlined in the Driver License Handbook.
If the holder of the hardship license/certificate is at least 15 years of age, the Class H license/certificate may be used as an instructional permit for Class D vehicles, as long as all other requirements pertaining to appropriate Learner Permit license/certificate are met.
Please Note: If a driver is found to be driving before or after hours, on an unapproved route, or with non-approved passengers, their license can be suspended.
Please Note: All documents are subject to further verification with the issuing agency or source. Documents subject to verification may delay the issuance of your permit, driver license, identification only license, or temporary driver license.
No photocopies will be accepted!
For a Class H (Hardship) Driver License you will need:
The Comprehensive Driver License Manual is designed for all current and potential drivers in Tennessee and will help new and old drivers alike get ready for initial, renewal, and other license applications by explaining:
It also includes information needed to pass the knowledge tests for a Class D Tennessee driver license.