Applying for a Virginia Commercial Driver's License or Virginia 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 Virginia 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 Virginia DMV customer service center. For additional information about CDL licensing, please refer to CDL classifications, endorsements and restrictions.
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 Virginia CDL or Virginia 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 Virginia 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 Virginia 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.
Completing the Virginia CDL Application
When applying for a Virginia CDL or Virginia 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.
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 Virginia CDL or Virginia 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 expire in one year and are not renewable. Individuals authorized to be in the U.S. temporarily for up to one year receive a CDL instruction permit with the same expiration date shown on the document used to prove legal presence. For customers legally permitted to stay in the U.S. longer than one year, the expiration date of the CDL instruction permit is valid for one year.
Virginia CDL Fees
Commercial driver's license fees are based on how long your license will be valid
(refer to the Virginia 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 Virginia CDL instruction permit
(CIP) costs $3.00.
Virginia CDL Testing
Tests may include a vision screening, Virginia CDL knowledge exams and a Virginia
CDL road skills test. You may also need to take the two-part driver's license
knowledge exam. A Virginia DMV representative will tell you which tests you need
Virginia CDL Knowledge Exams
Virginia CDL General Test Information
The knowledge exams determine your familiarity with the operation of commercial
vehicles, motor vehicle laws and safe driving techniques. Exam questions are taken
from the information in the Virginia Commercial Driver's Manual, which is available
at all Virginia DMV customer service centers.
To prepare for the knowledge exam, familiarize yourself with all information in the Virginia Commercial Driver's Manual and take the Commercial Driver's License exam online.
To pass the exam, you must answer at least 80% of the general knowledge questions
correctly. When taking the knowledge exams, select one best answer. Once you pass
the required knowledge exams, you can take the Virginia CDL skills tests.
The Virginia CDL knowledge exams are given in English or Spanish on a computer
(except the Hazardous Materials exam, given only in English).
You may take the Virginia CDL knowledge exam(s) only once per business day. If
you fail any knowledge exam, you must pay a $2 re-examination fee if you retake
the exam within 15 days. If you use a cell phone while taking an exam, the exam
will be terminated and you must wait until the next day to re-test.
If you fail the general knowledge exam three times at a customer service center, you must complete the classroom portion of a Virginia approved Driver Training School program for commercial motor vehicles and bring the certificate of completion to a customer service center to satisfy eligibility requirements for re-examination. You must have completed the course after the date of the third exam failure.
- It is unlawful to:
Virginia CDL Skills Test Eligibility Requirements
- Attempt to get or provide to others a copy of any knowledge exam or any questions or answers on the exams
- Have assistance or assist others while taking an exam
- Have unauthorized possession of an examination or exam answers.
To be eligible to take the Virginia CDL skills tests, you must:
- Meet the minimum age requirements:
- At least 18 years of age for an intrastate Virginia CDL
- At least 21 years of age for an interstate Virginia CDL
- Hold a valid Virginia driver's license. In addition, your driving privileges
must not be currently suspended or revoked by any licensing jurisdiction.
- Have successfully completed all applicable Virginia CDL knowledge exams
for the type of class and endorsement you wish to hold.
- Pass the required vision screening for commercial drivers.
- Provide a properly registered vehicle of the type you wish to drive for
the on-road driving test.
- For the type of vehicle you wish to drive, you must:
- Have held a Virginia CDL instruction permit for a minimum of 30 days,
- Provide evidence that you have previously held a CDL, OR
- Provide a valid certification from a driver training school designed
specifically for commercial drivers.
- Be able to read and speak the English language sufficiently to:
- Converse with the general public,
- Understand highway traffic signs and signals,
- Respond to official inquiries, AND
- Make entries on reports and records.
Virginia Commercial Driver License (CDL) Skills Tests
The Virginia CDL skills tests consists of a pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle
control, and on-road driving. Make sure to review the Virginia CDL Skills Test
Eligibility Requirements prior to taking the test.
You must take the skills test in the type of vehicle in which you want to be licensed. Translators cannot be used.
A Virginia DMV representative administers the skills tests in a vehicle provided
by you that is in safe working condition. The vehicle must have a valid safety
inspection sticker, license plates, local decals as required, registration card
and working brakes, safety belts, horn, lights, turn signals, mirrors and speedometer.
Only the applicant and the Virginia DMV representative are allowed in the vehicle
during the road skills test. The test may be taken only once per business day.
Scheduling a Virginia CDL Test Appointment
To schedule an appointment for a CDL skills test, select your nearest Virginia Customer Service Center for contact information. The approximate time required to take the 3-part skills test is 90 minutes.
Missed Test Appointments
Virginia DMV will charge a $50 fee for any missed CDL skills test appointment.
You are encouraged to advise test examiners in advance if you are unable to make
your scheduled appointment. If you fail to notify the examiner, DMV will bill
you for the $50 fee.
You will have 31 days to pay any missed appointment fee. If you do not pay within
31 days, you will be charged a $10 administrative fee and lose the ability to
process any Virginia DMV-related transactions. Unpaid bills will be subject to
further collection efforts and may be reported to the Virginia Department of Taxation.
- If you fail the road skills test three times at a customer service center, you must complete the in-vehicle portion of a Virginia approved Driver Training School program for commercial motor vehicles and bring the certificate of completion to a customer service center to satisfy eligibility requirements for re-examination. You must have completed the course after the date of the third exam failure.
Receiving Your Virginia CDL License
Once you pass your required testing, your Virginia CDL or Virginia 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 Virginia DMV has your current, correct address on
record. If you have moved, notify Virginia DMV right away.
Virginia CDL Written Knowledge Tests
You will need to pass the Virginia Knowledge Tests
that are required for
the class of license, restriction, and endorsements you wish to possess. A general
knowledge test for the Class A or Class B and C license must be successfully completed
by all CDL applicants. The information needed to pass these tests is contained
in the FREE Virginia CDL Handbook
. Please read and study this
- Class A - 70 Questions (50 GK + 20 Combination Vehicles) - Skills test required.
- Class B - 50 Questions - Skills test required.
- Class C - 50 Questions - Skills test required for bus, school bus and air
- Passenger Endorsement - 20 questions - Skills test required in bus.
- School Bus Endorsement - 25 questions - Skills test required in school bus.
- Doubles/Triples Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
- Tank Vehicle Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
- Hazardous Materials Endorsement - 30 questions - No additional skills tests.
- Air Brake Restriction Removal - 25 questions - Additional skills test in vehicle with Air Brakes.