WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Legal Information: Tennessee

Restraining Orders

View all
Laws current as of November 27, 2023

What is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

Before moving to Tennessee, the state that issued your protection order may already have entered your order into the NCIC. If not, your order may be entered into the NCIC once your order is registered in Tennessee.

All law enforcement officials have access to the NCIC database, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

How do I register my protection order in Tennessee?

To register your order in Tennessee, you must:

  • Bring a certified copy of your out-of-state (“foreign”) order of protection to the circuit court where you believe it might need to be enforced. See the TN Courthouse Locations page for courthouse address and phone numbers; and
  • Bring any other documents that may show that your protection order is valid, such as proof of service against the respondent.1

There is no charge for registering the protection order.1

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Tennessee for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area on our TN Places that Help page.

1 TN ST § 36-3-622(c)

Does it cost anything to register my protection order?

There are no fees for registering your protection order in Tennessee.1

1 TN ST § 36-3-622(c)

Do I have to register my protection order in Tennessee in order to get it enforced?

As long as the protection order is still in effect, the courts of Tennessee will enforce the protection order as though it was issued in Tennessee.1

In addition, Tennessee law enforcement officers are supposed to enforce an out of state order, whether or not it is registered, as long as the order looks real to the officer. This is known as a “presumption of validity.”2

1 TN ST § 36-3-622(b)(2)
2 TN ST § 36-3-622(b)(1)

Will the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1 However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to. It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living. We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Tips page. You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our TN Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)