To get your CDL:
- You must be at least 21 years of age or at least 18 years of age to drive intrastate
- Submit your state’s CDL Application and pay the application fee
- Provide identity and Social Security number verification (Varies by state)
- Provide proof of residency for state and US
- Submit your Medical Examination Report Form and Medical Examiner’s Certificate Form
- Pass your vision test
- Pass a written CDL knowledge exam
- After passing, be issued your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)
- Wait at least 14 days before you can schedule a CDL road skills examination
- Pass the pre-trip inspection
- Pass the road skills and driving examination (bring your own vehicle)
- After passing, pay the necessary fees for your new CDL
For your information, if you are a military veteran with experience driving military buses or military trucks, your state may allow you to waive any or all of the following written tests: CDL General Knowledge, Passenger, Tanker, or Hazmat, with proof of relevant military experience.
In most states, acceptable documents include your social security card, a Medicare ID card, a current ID card from any of the US Armed Forces, or a military separation document, otherwise known as a DD-214. Some states may accept other forms of social security number proof, so check with your local department before you go to your exam.
The list of documents accepted as proof of your identity also varies by state. Some of the most commonly accepted include a US birth certificate or certified copy of the certificate, valid US passport, USCIS American Indian Card, valid military ID card, certificate of either Citizenship or Naturalization, Permanent Resident Card, or Temporary Resident ID Card.
In all likelihood, your state probably accepts other documents as proof of identity, so it’s best to check your state CDL manual or BMV/DMV website for the latest information. Proof of residency requirements will vary by state as well. You may only need to provide a copy of a single utility bill depending on your state of residence like in states, such as Alabama, while others like California may require two or three different documents from a list of up to eighteen different options. Be aware the address on the documents must match the address on your CDL application.
A simple portion of this process consists of a vision exam, which you will take with the rest of your CDL exams, but the more in-depth portion involves submitting required medical reports. As of 2021, due to a new law, whether you drive intrastate or interstate, you must supply two forms to your state commercial driver’s licensing agency: the Medical Examination Report Form and the Medical Examiner’s Certificate Form. If you are going to drive interstate, you must use a specific medical examiner listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners to fill out your forms. If these forms are a required part of your job, then your employer must pay for them.