How to Renew a Commercial Drivers License in Alaska
An Alaska CDL renewal can be performed up to one year in advance of its expiration date. The process requires you to renew your DOT medical certification, gather the legal paperwork required to verify your CDL eligibility and take the knowledge tests required for your license endorsements. If you plan to renew a hazardous materials endorsement, you will also be required to complete fingerprinting, and apply for a hazmat background check from TSA.
There are several steps to complete the process to renew commercial drivers license credentials in Alaska, and drivers will be notified in advance of their license expiration so that they have time to schedule appointments and study for applicable tests. Though the driving test is not required for most CDL renewals, laws change often enough that the knowledge tests will be required to maintain endorsements. And, although most offices offer the ability to retake tests when needed, even experienced drivers should brush up the test material beforehand.
When to Renew Your CDL License in Alaska
An Alaska CDL license renewal may begin as early as one year before the license expiration, and the State of Alaska offers no CDL expiration grace period for drivers who allow their licenses to expire. Hazmat endorsement holders will be notified at least 60 days before the expiration of their licenses.
An Alaska CDL is valid for five years, and expires on the driver’s birthday. Drivers planning to apply for additional endorsements on their license should begin the process early to leave enough time for testing.
CDL Renewal Testing Requirements in Alaska
CDL skills tests are not required to renew most endorsements, with the exception of the passenger and school bus endorsements. Additionally, military applicants may apply for skills test exemptions with the signatures of their commanding officers.
What do you need to renew your CDL license in Alaska?
To satisfy CDL renewal requirements, you will need your current Alaska CDL or your current out-of-state CDL. You will also need proof of your medical fitness, legal presence in the United States, residence in Alaska and Social Security Number. The documents that can be used as proof of status are a/an:
- U.S. passport.
- Certified birth certificate.
- Certification of Naturalization.
- Certificate of Citizenship.
- Employee authorization form.
- Additional legal presence verification form.
If applicable, you will also need an exemption form for diabetes or vision in order to qualify for a new CDL. The form may be completed with your DOT certification.
CDL Renewal Process in Alaska
To complete the required tests for CDL license renewal and present your legally-required paperwork, you will need to make time to visit the DMV in person. However, there are a few extra forms that you may submit by mail, through fax or online, in order to complete the full renewal process.
Your DOT medical certification and Alaska Commercial Driver Self-Certification are required each time you renew or upgrade a CDL.
Step One: DOT Certification
To complete your CDL medical card renewal, you must schedule a CDL physical with a medical professional recognized by the National Registry. The doctor must complete the Medical Examiner Certificate, and must be one of the following:
- A Doctor of Medicine (MD).
- A Doctor of Osteopathy (DO).
- A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC).
- A Physician Assistant (PA).
- An Advanced Practice Nurse (APN).
When you need a DOT medical card renewal, the DMV will send you a notice 60 days before the expiration. If your DOT certification expires, you may not legally operate a commercial vehicle. To avoid a cancellation, submit the medical card to the DMV. You must submit only the medical card. The Alaska DMV will not keep the long form on file.
The CDL vision requirement is 20/40, and a driver must achieve at least this score in order to drive a commercial vehicle interstate. However, some drivers with a lower vision score are eligible for a Vision Waiver for intrastate-only driving. A similar waiver is available for drivers who have diabetes.
Step Two: CDL Self-Certification
You must complete the required CDL self-certification form each time you apply for, renew or upgrade an Alaska CDL. The form designates the driving type of your license, and the qualifications required for the DMV to approve your application. Some driving types are exempt from the medical requirements listed above.
The four driving types are: excepted interstate, excepted intrastate, non-excepted interstate and non-excepted intrastate. If you drive a commercial vehicle across state laws, you are an interstate driving type. If you drive only within the borders of Alaska, your driving type is intrastate. The exempted driving activities are:
- Transporting farm equipment.
- Transporting human corpses.
- Transporting children or school staff between home and school in a vehicle that is not a school bus.
- Driving as a government employee.
- Driving fire trucks or other emergency rescue vehicles.
- Driving in response to an emergency pipeline rupture.
- Transporting winter heating fuel in emergency situations.
- The seasonal transport of bees.
- Transporting migrant workers.
Driving not listed above is not exempt from the national medical requirements. If you do not complete your self-certification, the Alaska DMV may send you a written notice before issuing your new CDL.
Step Three: DMV CDL Renewal
Though you cannot fully renew a CDL online, you may submit your medical card and self-certification in advance of your appointment at the DMV. In addition to the required documentation, you will be asked to take any written tests for your endorsements, and pass a vision exam while renewing your Alaska CDL. The DMV may also choose to update your driver license photo for the next five years.
Please allow two to three hours in order to complete any test, and allow the DMV to process the paperwork and return your documents.
Alaska CDL Permit Renewal Requirements
How long is a CDL permit good for? An Alaska Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) is valid for 180 days, but may be renewed upon CDL permit expiration a single time, for an additional 180 days. If you do not complete the road skills test required for a CDL within this extended period, your permit will expire.
To complete a CDL learners permit renewal, you are not required to resubmit the written tests and certifications that were required for your initial CLP application. However, if your CDL permit expiration passes, you will be required to begin the application process from the beginning.
Hazardous Material Endorsement CDL Renewal Requirements in Alaska
Drivers receive a hazmat renewal notice 60 days before the expiration of their commercial licenses, and they must allow at least 30 days for the background check to process. The Alaska DMV will not renew or upgrade an endorsement until the fingerprinting is complete, and a TSA background check has been approved. Additionally, Alaska does not allow a grace period for expiring licenses.
While the hazmat license renewal process may be completed as much as a year in advance, a background check is not officially required until the license is near expiration. To begin the process, submit a hazmat application to the TSA. Provided there are no reasons the driver would be considered a security risk, the process should take less than 30 days.
Drivers who already have an HME may continue to transport hazardous materials while the background check processes, provided that their licenses are unexpired.
CDL Renewal Fees in Alaska
The CDL renewal cost is $100 for a standard Alaska commercial driver license. However, the renewal price for an Alaska CDL that complies with federal Real-ID regulations is $120. Some other fees include:
- $25 for a commercial driving test.
- $5 for a CLP renewal.
- $86.50 for fingerprinting and a TSA background check (if applying for a hazmat endorsement).
All endorsements are covered under the CDL renewal price, and no additional charges are required to maintain them.