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Applying for a Commercial Driver's License or CDL Instruction Permit

A commercial driver's license (CDL) allows you to operate a commercial vehicle in Virginia and possibly other states, depending on your qualifications. To obtain a CDL or CDL instruction permit in Virginia, you must meet all requirements for a Virginia driver's license.

You must apply for your CDL or CDL instruction permit in person at a DMV customer service center. For additional information about CDL licensing, please refer to CDL classifications, endorsements and restrictions.

Age Requirements

You must be at least at 18 to obtain an intrastate CDL and age 21 to obtain a CDL.

Identification and Residency Requirements

Each time you apply for a CDL or CDL instruction permit and DMV records show you have not held a Virginia driver's license or ID card in the past, you must present documents proving your identification and residency.

  • If you are age 19 or older, you must show two proofs of identity, one proof of legal presence, one proof of Virginia residency, and proof of your social security number.
  • If you are under 19 years of age, you will be required to show one proof of identity, one proof of legal presence, one proof of Virginia residency, and proof of your social security number. http://wsdweb/drivers/applyingcdl.html

Use the interactive Document Guide to determine which documents you will need to bring to DMV when you apply.

Documents accepted by DMV as proof of identity, legal presence, Virginia residency and social security number may change without prior notice.

You may hold either a driver's license or a CDL, but not both. If you hold a license of any kind, you are not eligible for an ID card.

Medical Certification Requirements

All CDL applicants must certify either that they are in compliance with the federal and Virginia motor carrier safety regulations or that they do not have to comply with them. You may refer to the Code of Federal Regulations for an explanation of these requirements or refer to Medical Certification Requirements.

If you must meet the federal or Virginia motor carrier safety regulations, you must provide a valid Department of Transportation Medical Examiner's Certificate. This form should be completed by a licensed medical examiner.

Driver Education Requirements

If you are 18 or older, are applying for a CDL, and have not previously held a CDL, you must either hold a valid Virginia driver's license or have satisfied all the requirements necessary to obtain such a license. In addition, you must:

  • pass a state-approved driver education program designed specifically for commercial motor vehicles and hold a CDL instruction permit for at least 14 days, or
  • if you did not complete the driver education program designed specifically for commercial motor vehicles, hold a CDL instruction permit for at least 30 days before taking the CDL road skills test at DMV.
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Selective Service Registration

Generally, males under age 26 must register with the Selective Service. If you are required by federal law to register with the Selective Service, you must authorize DMV to send your personal information to the Selective Service unless you have already registered.

DMV is prohibited from issuing any type of driver's license or ID card to an applicant who is required by federal law to register with the Selective Service, but who refuses to authorize DMV to send his information to the Selective Service. If you have questions about Selective Service registration, visit the Selective Service website at or call 847-688-6888, TTY: 847-688-2567.

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Completing the Application

When applying for a CDL or CDL instruction permit, you must complete an application for a Virginia driver's license (form DL 1P). You may complete this form before or after coming to DMV. Use your full legal name, as abbreviations and nicknames will not be accepted. For your convenience, you also may apply to register to vote, change your voter registration address, or indicate your desire to become an organ donor when you apply for your CDL.

Falsifying information on any driver's license or identification card application is a criminal offense. Altering or assisting a person with improperly or fraudulently obtaining a driver's license, learner's permit, CDL, CDL instruction permit or ID card are also criminal offenses.

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HAZMAT Endorsement

Applicants for a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HAZMAT) must be fingerprinted for a background check. The non-refundable fee is $83.00.

Applicants using Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC®) comparability for a reduced fee hazardous materials (HAZMAT) endorsement do not have to be fingerprinted. The non-refundable fee is $41.00.

Duration of a CDL or CDL Instruction Permit

Normally, your Virginia CDL is valid for eight years and expires on your birthday. Your first license will expire on your birthday in the eighth year of license validity.

Individuals required to register with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry (Virginia Code Chapter 9 of Title 9.1) (Registry) will be issued licenses valid for five years. They are not eligible for a Virginia commercial driver's license/instruction permit with an "S" endorsement during any period in which registration with the Registry is required. In addition, they are also not eligible for a Virginia CDL or CDL instruction permit with a "P" endorsement unless it bears a restriction code prohibiting the driver from transporting children for school and/or daycare activities.

For many individuals authorized to be in the U.S. temporarily, a CDL will be valid only for the amount of time that the individual is legally permitted to stay in the U.S. These individuals will not be eligible to receive a limited duration CDL if their authorized stay in the U.S. is less than 30 days from the date of their application. The expiration of the CDL will be the same as the expiration date shown on the document used to prove legal presence. If the document does not show an expiration date, the CDL will be valid for one year.

CDL instruction permits are issued for a period of 180 days and may be renewed one time without testing. Individuals temporarily authorized to be in the U.S. and who have fewer than 180 days remaining, will receive a CDL instruction permit with the same expiration date as shown on the document used to prove legal presence.

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CDL Fees

Commercial driver's license fees are based on how long your license will be valid (refer to the DMV Fee Chart for details). A standard CDL with no endorsements costs $64.00 and is valid for 8 years.

Endorsement(s) cost an additional $1.00 per year. A CDL instruction permit (CIP) costs $3.00.

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Tests may include a vision screening, CDL knowledge exams and a CDL road skills test. You may also need to take the two-part driver's license knowledge exam. A DMV representative will tell you which tests you need to take.

For additional information, refer to the CDL skills test eligibility requirements.

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Receiving Your License

Once you pass your required testing, your CDL or CDL instruction permit will be mailed to the address in DMV's records. DMV has converted to a new secure process for issuing driver's licenses and ID cards, and has discontinued issuing them over the counter. The U.S. Postal Service will not forward driver's licenses, so make sure that DMV has your current, correct address on record. If you have moved, notify DMV right away.

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Additional Information

Applying for a Driver's License

Persons convicted of certain sexual offenses (as listed in Va. Code § 46.2-323) must register with the Virginia Department of State Police as provided in § 19.2-298.1.

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