ID Scanning Laws

Yes, businesses in Tennessee, including hotels, are permitted to scan IDs. The primary purpose of scanning an ID is to verify the age and identity of an individual, particularly in situations where age-restricted goods or services are being sold, such as alcohol.

Tennessee State Legislature

ID Scanning Resources

Tennessee Legislative

Stay up to date with Tennessee State Legislature

Tennessee Statutes

The Laws of Tennessee Statutes available online

ID Scanner

Popular Hotel ID Scanner for Tennessee

The Legal Framework

Tennessee ID Scanning Laws and Regulations

How is ID Scanning Done?

ID scanning is typically done using specialized equipment that can read the barcode or magnetic stripe on the back of an ID. The scanner extracts data from the ID and displays it, allowing the business to quickly verify the individual’s age and other pertinent information.

In Tennessee, when checking an ID, it is recommended to:

  1. Ask anyone who appears under the age of 30 to show their photo ID.
  2. Have the customer remove the ID from their wallet.
  3. Look at the photo and make sure the photo and physical description match the customer.
  4. Check the expiration date. If the expiration date has passed, the ID is not valid.
  5. Check the date of birth and compare it to a calendar. If the customer is under the age of 21, DO NOT sell them any tobacco products.
  6. If the driver’s license is vertical, this could mean that the customer is under the age of 21. Check the date of birth to verify that the customer is at least 21 years old.
  7. Check for DUPLICATE or REPLACEMENT. This could mean that this is not the actual customer’s ID.
  8. Check for signs of tampering.
  9. Be cautious if a customer shows the interim paper copy of their ID. Check the date it was issued. They should have received the permanent copy of their ID within 20 days of the issue date.
  10. Ask for a 2nd or 3rd form of ID if you are unsure.

When Can You Scan an ID?

In the hotel industry, there are several instances where you might need to scan an ID. These include checking in guests, verifying age for alcohol purchases at the hotel bar, or confirming identity for credit card transactions.

Understanding the Law

While the exact legislative codes governing ID scanning in Tennessee are complex and extensive, the general principle is that businesses are allowed to scan and use information obtained from IDs for specific purposes. These include:

  • Verifying a customer’s age
  • Establishing a customer’s identity
  • Confirming a customer’s license status to operate a vehicle
  • Disclosing such information to another business for verifying a check payment, evaluating creditworthiness, detecting or reducing the risk of fraud, abuse, identity theft or other crimes, collection activities, or confirming that a customer has met the motor vehicle financial responsibility requirements.
  • Disclosing such information to the department of transportation, insurance licensees, notaries, financial institutions if permitted by federal law, or law enforcement agencies.

It’s important to note that the misuse of information obtained through ID scanning can lead to legal consequences. Therefore, businesses should ensure they are using this information appropriately and storing it securely.

Please note that this information is intended to provide a general overview and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult with a legal professional for advice specific to your situation

Tennessee Anti-Trafficking Network

Our Fight Against Human Trafficking

Tennessee AG

Tennessee Human Anti-trafficking Team


Training material for human trafficking awareness


Tennessee's fight against human trafficking

Knowledge Base

Frequently Asked Questions

Acceptable forms of ID include State-Issued Driver’s License, State-Issued ID (for non-drivers), Passport, Immigration Card, and Military ID. All forms of ID are valid until they expire.


This can depend on the hotel's policies and the specific situation. However, in general, hotels have the right to request identification to verify a guest's identity and age.


If a business suspects that an ID is fake, they should refuse the sale or service. They may also report the incident to local law enforcement.


The requirements for data retention can vary. However, businesses must ensure they are complying with all relevant privacy laws and regulations.


In general, the use of data obtained from ID scanning for marketing purposes would likely be considered a misuse of that information under Tennessee law.


The penalties can vary depending on the nature of the misuse, but they can include fines, loss of business licenses, and potential civil liability.