Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?

Where you live will be the determining factor in whether you own a vehicle or not. If you live in the Memphis city center, there are several alternatives available to you. The most flexible would be mass transit on the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA). Its bus system can be used to reach most areas.

Additionally, the MATA currently operates three trolley routes that run through the downtown Memphis area. These lines are adorned with classic street cars of yesteryear. There are also plans by the MATA to introduce a light rail system between the downtown Memphis area and the international airport, with future plans to expand the service into outlying neighborhoods. Also, there are taxis readily available if needed.

If you decide to reside outside the Memphis city area, you will definitely need access to a car. Remember however, rush hour in Memphis can be a little crowded, so patience and extra time will be needed in order for you to have a safe commute.
↑ Top

How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?

Expatriates should get an international driver's license (IDL) before leaving his/her country of origin. With this, an expatriate may drive in the U.S. for up to six months. After that, you must obtain a Tennessee driver's license, (however, it is strongly advised that you obtain your Tennessee drivers licence as soon as possible after your arrival into Memphis).

A Tennessee driver's license can be obtained at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). To do so, you must first obtain a social security number prior to visiting the DMV office. There, you will be required to produce three forms of identification (i.e. a photo ID, birth certificate, proof of residence) and take a written test. If you are from a country or US state where your licence is recognized, you will not have to take a road test; if not, you will need to complete a road test with a DMV instructor. Be sure to schedule a large block of time for this, because the DMV offices are known for their long lines and waiting times.
↑ Top

What side of the road do people drive on?

In the United States, we drive on the right-hand side of the road.
↑ Top

Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.

The extensive bus system coupled with the trolley system is the main forms of public transportation in Memphis. Taxis are also readily available and can either be hailed on the street or called by phone in advance. Though taxis are more expensive than buses and the trolley system, they offer much more flexibility. Buses have stops that lead out into the suburbs, however, the further you move away from central Memphis, the fewer stops are made.
↑ Top

Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.

Yes, expatriates can use the bus and trolley systems that have stops from the inner city leading to the suburbs. Do note however, these stops are only for a limited distance from the city.

Additionally, there are special routes from the city center to certain tourist attractions and sporting events that are available either at specific times or year round.
↑ Top

In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?

The public transportation system throughout Memphis is considered very safe. However, employ common sense: always know your route, don't flash money around and keep an eye on your belongings at all times.
↑ Top

Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?

You can purchase tickets for public transportation at the main bus terminal hubs or by using one of the vending machines. Additionally, tickets can be purchased on the local buses and the trolley.
↑ Top


Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.