If you live in California, Oregon, or Washington, learn the guideline for getting your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) below. If you want to learn on how to obtain one at other states, we have also put together a guide on how to get a CDL at all states.
To apply for a commercial permit
- Visit a DMV office.
- Complete a California Commercial Driver License Application form DL 44C.
- Complete a 10 Year History Record Check form (DL 939) if you have been issued a driver license in the same or different name to operate any type of motor vehicle in another state or other jurisdiction within the previous 10 years.
- Give a thumbprint and have your picture taken.
- Provide verification of your Social Security Number and verify your birth date and legal presence (you may use your California driver license).
- Pay the application fee for a 5-year license.
- Pass a vision exam.
- Submit a completed Medical Examination Report form DL 51. The DMV will only accept a Medical Examination Report form DL 51 with a revision date of 1/2014 or later.
- Pass the traffic laws and sign tests for the class of vehicle you will drive. You have three chances to pass the test.
Note: The DMV will not be administer written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.
Once you are issued a permit, you may only drive with someone who has a valid California driver license in your same class of license, who is the correct age required for that class of license.
To apply for your CDL
- Call a DMV CDL office and make an appointment for a driving test (Commercial driving test appointments cannot be made online).
- Bring the type of vehicle for the class you want to drive.
- Pass a pre-trip inspection (You have three chances to pass the pre-trip).
- Pass a skills and driving test (You have three chances to pass the skills and driving test).
- Submit to DMV a Certificate of Driving Skill (DL 170) if your employer is authorized by DMV to issue such certificates, signed by both you and your employer.
Intrastate or Excepted Interstate Requirements
- Meet the qualifications for or have a Regular Driver License (non-commercial Class C).
- Be at least 18 years of age, present proof of your full legal name, and present proof you are a U.S. citizen or permanent lawful resident.
- Provide your Social Security Number.
- Present proof of your residence address.
- Pass the CDL General Knowledge Test.
- Determine the appropriate CDL Class (Class A, B or C), and pass any additional CDL Knowledge Tests and/or meet any additional requirements for that specific class.
- Complete the Commercial Driver License Application (Form 735-175), and indicate that you have at least one year driving experience in at least a non-commercial Class C vehicle.
- Complete requirements for any CDL endorsements needed.
- Pass a vision screening and submit a copy of a valid medical examiner’s certificate and, when required, a medical waiver or exemption that proves you meet minimum Oregon medical standards for holding a CDL.
- Pass CDL Skills Tests.
- Pay the applicable testing and issuance fees (see note on payment of test fees).
- Not be suspended or otherwise disqualified from holding a CDL in Oregon or any other state.
- Certify your intent to operate a vehicle in intrastate commerce or excepted interstate commerce.
- Have your photograph taken.
Non-Excepted Interstate Requirements
In addition to the above requirements, you must:
- Be at least 21 years old.
- Submit a copy of a valid medical examiner’s certificate and, when required, a medical waiver or exemption that proves you meet minimum federal medical standards for holding a CDL.
- Certify that you meet or will meet all other federal requirements for operation of a CMV in non-excepted interstate commerce.
- Certify your intent and/or qualification to operate a vehicle in non-excepted interstate commerce.
You must obtain a training certificate before you are allowed to get a CDL. Schools offering certificates must be approved.
Class A CDL
Minimum training required—160 total hours, including at least:
- 40 hours – classroom instruction
- 18 hours – street driving training
- 16 hours – training in backing maneuvers
- 16 hours – proficiency development
- 70 hours – combined lab and range training, observation
Class B CDL
Minimum training required—48 total hours, including at least:
- 20 hours – classroom instruction
- 14 hours – street driving training
- 4 hours – training in backing maneuvers
- 4 hours – proficiency development
- 6 hours – combined lab and range training, and observation
Class C CDL
Minimum training required—36 total hours, including at least:
- 20 hours – classroom instruction
- 8 hours – street driving training
- 2 hours – training in backing maneuvers
- 2 hours – proficiency development
- 4 hours – combined lab and range training, and observation
After your training is complete you’ll receive your certificate.
Note: Certificates are not required for CDL upgrades. They are only required for a first CDL or if you are obtaining a CDL for the second time.