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California Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Application

Commercial Drivers License

Commercial driving in California and across the country can be a very interesting career choice. There are plenty of preparations to make and studying to do if you choose to become a commercial driver in California. Read on to familiarize yourself with the process and learn about the process of obtaining a new CDL license:

Important Information on Commercial Drivers Licenses

Types of CDL Classes

There are three classes of CDL licenses:

  • CDL Class A: Allows you to drive any combination of vehicles that have a GWVR (gross vehicle weight rating) of 26,001 pounds or more, as long as the car being towed is more than 10,000 pounds.
  • CDL Class B: Enables you to drive a single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, or any vehicle towing another that does not exceed the 10,000-pound GVWR limit.
  • CDL Class C: Allows you to operate a vehicle that has hazardous materials. With an endorsement, you can drive a 16-passenger vehicle, which includes the driver.

Commercial Endorsements

In addition to selecting your desired CDL class type, you have the option of learning additional commercial vehicle skills through endorsements. There are specific endorsement-related tests you will have to pass to receive the letter code on your license.
There are five commercial drivers license endorsements that you can apply for:

  • H: hazardous materials (drivers 21 and older)
  • N: tank vehicle
  • P: passenger
  • S: school buses
  • T: double or triple trailer

Furthermore, each endorsement requires you to pass additional tests in order to obtain it:

  • Hazardous materials endorsement: additional knowledge test only
  • Tank vehicle endorsement:additional knowledge test only
  • Passenger endorsement: additional knowledge test and skills test
  • School buses endorsement: additional knowledge test and skills test
  • Double or triple trailer endorsement: additional knowledge test only

Steps to Apply for a CDL Permit

Before you complete a California CDL application, you must obtain a commercial driving permit. The first step you will have to take is passing the written commercial drivers license knowledge exam, which is based on the California Commercial Driver Handbook.

Steps to take the CDL test:    
  1. Go to your local DMV office.
  2. Complete the Commercial Driver License Application.
  3. Provide one proof of your full name (only originals or certified copies):
    • Birth certificate
    • U.S. passport
    • Military ID card
    • Marriage certificate/divorce decree (if name changed)
  4. Provide one proof of your age(only originals or certified copies):
  5. Provide one proof of your Social Security Number:
    • Social Security card
    • Military ID card
  6. Submit a medical certificate.
  7. Take your picture.
  8. Pass the vision exam.
  9. Pass the written exam.
  10. Pay application fees:
    • Class A or B: $70
    • Class C: $41

For payment, the CA DMV accepts cash, checks, money orders and debit/ATM cards.
Note: All commercial applicants must be at least 18 years of age.

How to Get a CDL License

To get a commercial driving license, you need access to the class of vehicle that you will be driving commercially. It is required that you log plenty of practice hours before finally taking your driving exam. In addition, you will need to be supervised at all times by a currently licensed driver of this kind of vehicle. Once you feel that you are ready to take the exam, make an appointment at a testing office. In order to get your CDL, you must make sure to:

  1. Bring a vehicle that is the same class of the CDL license you are applying for (Class A, B, or C).
  2. Pass the car inspection.
  3. Pass the road skills exam (unless you submit a Certificate of Driving Skill, with the signature of your employer).

About the Medical Examiners Certificate

In addition, prospective drivers must also be medically certified. In the state of California, you must have a Medical Examiner's Certificate completed by a licensed US doctor. The acceptable parties that can sign off on the form include:

  • A doctor of osteopathy (D.O.)
  • A licensed physician assistant (P.A.)
  • A chiropractor
  • An advance practice registered nurse

Interstate vs. Intrastate

While traffic patrols will recognize your commercial drivers license no matter where you are driving in the United States, there is one eligibility requirement that you must meet in order to drive between states. While you are only required to be 18 years of age to drive within your state of residence, driving from state to state requires you to be at least 21 years old.

CDL Training Courses

Unlike the standard Class C drivers license, the state of California does not require that you obtain any professional drivers training prior to taking your CDL license test. However, if you want to have the best chance at passing it, you should definitely give CDL courses a chance. These classes will cover all of the main topics featured on your upcoming exams, so they are the perfect resource to prepare you.

Study Guides and CDL Practice Exams

CDL driver training is highly recommended if you are preparing to take the commercial driving license exam. However, DMV practice tests are the perfect way to supplement your driving education. While drivers courses will help you understand the material that you must know to pass the test, these practice exams are the tool you need to use in order to apply your knowledge. Taking these tests will allow you to see your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to your driving-related studies, and the format is set up to look just like the actual CDL exam.

Related Links

  • How to Replace a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) in California
  • How to Renew a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) in California
  • Commercial Driver's Manual in California
  • Commercial Driving Education in California
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    Submitted by Small Fry (not verified) on 10th Sep 2011

    I re-newed my CDL"S on

    I re-newed my CDL"S on fathers day I still do not have my License, I am now in Washington DC and I am being harassed by the police about not having my hard copy CDL, the two Officers that pulled me over ran my License number and said California do not have any record of me even having a License. they never ask for resigtration or insurance of the car I was driving,they harassed me so BAD they made me stand out side the car for about 20 minutes in the rain interrogating me about my license and threating to arrest me for not having any license. I couldn't do anything but cry. can someone please tell me why don't I have the Hard Copy of my CDL's. it has been a long time since I renewed them why is it taking so long to receive them.

    Submitted by Anonymous on 12th Apr 2011



    Submitted by Anonymous on 18th Apr 2011

    take ur id ,social maybe even

    take ur id ,social maybe even birth papers to prove who u r dmv should have u in the system from,