How to Renew a Commercial Drivers License in Colorado
What do you need to renew your CDL license? How do you know when to renew your license? Commercial drivers rely on their CDL as part of their livelihood, so it is important to know all the steps and requirements in keeping it active and up-to-date. When it comes to CDL renewal, there are multiple steps, from written tests to federal background check.
Since 2016, the processing of renewing a CDL has grown more complicated due to federal laws. There are now multiple documents required to prove identity and residence for a CDL application. Additionally, written tests may be required to maintain your license endorsements and driving tests are required if you have let your license lapse. A Colorado CDL is only valid for a few years before you must begin the renewal process.
When to Renew Your CDL License in Colorado
After getting a CDL in Colorado, your license is valid for four years and expires on your birthday. Be prepared to apply for a new CDL before your current license expires, as the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles will not issue you a new CDL on the spot. Your new license will arrive in the mail approximately 10-14 business days after you apply. However, a CDL license could also take as many as 30 days to be delivered.
CDL Renewal Testing Requirements in Colorado
CDL renewal requirements demand that drivers take written tests to maintain their endorsements. For example, with a hazardous materials endorsement, you will be required to take the knowledge test to maintain your endorsement. However, there may be other tests required to maintain your endorsements.
For example, the Colorado DMV may require you to retake a passenger transport test in order to maintain a passenger endorsement.
However, only knowledge tests are required for a CDL license renewal. You are not required to retake the driving test unless your CDL has expired. Some additional written tests that may be required are:
- Passenger transport test, required for a P endorsement on a Class A, B or C CDL.
- School bus test, required for an S endorsement and must be added to a license that already has a P endorsement.
- Tank vehicle test, required for an N endorsement on Class A, B or C licenses.
- Double and triple trailer test, must be taken to maintain a T endorsement on a Class A CDL.
- Hazardous materials test, required for any driver who wishes to transport hazardous materials and maintain the H endorsement.
What do you need to renew your CDL license in Colorado?
To renew a CDL, you must prove that you are still eligible to receive one. This means providing documentation as proof of your identity, medical fitness, citizenship or legal presence and residence in Colorado. Plan in advance to gather which documents you will need, as the DMV will not accept copies.
In addition to your current CO CDL, you will need:
- Your social security number: Social Security card, a paystub that shows your full SSN, a document from the Social Security Administration, a recent W-2 or a recent 1099.
- Proof of your Colorado address: Utility or mortgage bill, bank statements, current homeowner’s or renter’s policy, mortgage or lease agreement, transcript from an accredited school, motor vehicle registration or government mail.
- Proof of your identity: U.S. Passport, U.S. Birth Certificate, your current CDL or Colorado photo ID, Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship or a Permanent Resident Card.
- Your medical certification: Form MCSA-5876 completed by a medical professional.
For the greatest ease in your reapplication process, all your documents should be as recent as possible. For example, a utility bill from the previous month as evidence of address is preferable to a renter’s policy from the previous year. In fact, the Colorado DMV will not accept proof of residence documents that are more than a year old.
CDL Renewal Process in Colorado
To finalize a DMV CDL renewal, you must take a new driver’s license photo, complete any written tests and pass the DMV’s eye-screening. However, there are a few steps to renewing a CDL that must be completed before you ever step foot into a DMV.
Step One: Complete the CDL Dot Medical Form
Before you can complete a CDL license renewal, you must schedule a CDL physical to renew your medical confirmation. Make an appointment with a certified medical examiner in your area and ask them to complete the Medical Examiner Certificate required for your CDL.
To be an approved medical examiner, the doctor must be a:
- Doctor of Medicine (MD).
- Doctor of Osteopathy (DO).
- Doctor of Chiropractic (DC).
- Physician Assistant (PA).
- Advanced Practice Nurse (APN).
This doctor must complete the MCSA-5876 form in its entirety to be submitted to the DMV. You can submit your DOT medical certification form to the Colorado DMV online, in person, by fax, by email or by mail. The completed document can be emailed to Dor_CDLunit@state.co.us or fax it to (303) 205-5709.
Alternatively, simply take the form to a CDL location when you apply for your new license or turn it in by the online portal on the Colorado DMV website. To mail the form, address your envelope to:
Colorado Department of Revenue
Attn: CDL Unit
PO Box 173350
Denver, CO, 80217
Step Two: Complete the CDL Self-Certification
In addition to the CDL medical card renewal, the Colorado DMV requires you to complete a CDL self-certification. This form can be downloaded on its own or with the medical form attached. Both forms must be submitted to the same location, so you can use the combined form to save a step and only mail one document.
To complete the self-certification, fill out the form by hand and state your full name, license number, driving class, birthday and contact information. Be certain to complete the form in its entirety and write legibly. If any information is missing or unreadable, the DMV will send you a notice and it will delay when you are able to complete your CDL license renewal.
Step Three: Make an Appointment at the Colorado DMV
Complete your CDL drivers license renewal at the DMV in-person. Save time by scheduling an appointment in advance, and be prepared with your required documents.
If you have not submitted your medical and self-certification forms prior to going to the DMV, be certain to bring them with you or you will not be approved for a new license. Finally, bring a payment method for the CDL renewal and testing fees.
Colorado CDL Permit Renewal Requirements
A Colorado commercial learners permit is valid for 180 days, but may be renewed one time for an additional 180 days. For a CLP renewal, you will not have to take the written test a second time, but you should note that the CDL general test is only valid for a year. This means that you may have a valid permit even after your written test credentials have expired.
In that instance, you will be required to retake the general knowledge test before you can apply for your CDL. Further, you must have a valid CLP and a valid written test credential for at least 14 days before you can apply for your CDL skills test.
Hazardous Material Endorsement CDL Renewal Requirements in Colorado
For a hazmat license renewal, you must first renew your TSA background Check. Submit a hazmat application to the TSA online or call the TSA HazMat Call Center at (855) 347-8371. You must submit your application by phone or online; the TSA local offices do not offer in-person application options.
Once you have completed your hazmat renewal for the TSA, visit a fingerprinting facility in Colorado. The facility will forward your prints to the TSA and then to the FBI. Finally, the TSA will review your information and notify you and the Colorado DMV of the case decision. Once confirmed, the DMV will issue your hazmat endorsement and you can reapply for your CDL.
In addition to the TSA check, you will be required to pass a hazmat knowledge test at the DMV. The CDL office will give you three opportunities to pass the test, though there will be a retest fee for each attempt. When you visit the DMV to renew your license, allow two to three hours to make time for the testing.