How to Get a Commercial Drivers License in Washington DC
Washington, D.C. CDL licenses are offered to those who wish to drive commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) professionally. To get a commercial drivers license, you must first obtain a commercial learners permit, or CLP, through the District of Columbia’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, you must live in the District, hold a non-commercial driver license and meet the CDL requirements to obtain this credential successfully. You must also submit all the necessary documentation.
To get a CDL license in D.C., you must first take a knowledge test to obtain a CLP. Depending on the type of CMV you plan to operate, you may also need to take additional written tests. Once you hold a CLP for 30 calendar days, you can take the road skills test in the type of vehicle in which you plan to drive when you become licensed. If you pass the road skills test, the D.C. DMV will issue you a CDL.
CDL Requirements in Washington DC
You must meet several CDL license requirements before you can apply for a CDL in D.C. These include the following:
- Have a valid, non-commercial driver license (NCDL)
- Meet the identity, residency and good driving history requirements
- Must be a U.S. citizen, or a non-U.S. citizen, with a valid Permanent Resident card
- Take the necessary knowledge tests
- Get a CLP
- Pass the road skills test
To be eligible under current CDL requirements in DC, you must meet the designated qualifications. These include the below:
- Be at least 21 years of age to get an interstate CDL
- Be at least 18 years of age to get an intrastate CDL
- Submit proof of your U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency
- Provide a 10-year driver history report
In D.C., you are not eligible for a CDL under certain circumstances. These include the following:
- If your NCDL is revoked or suspended
- If you have certain medical conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes
- If you have a specific felony conviction within the last three years
- If you have a scheduled hearing on tickets for moving violations
How to Apply for a CDL Permit in Washington DC
To get a CDL permit, you must bring required documentation with you to the D.C. DMV Brentwood Commercial Driver License Center. The items include the below:
- Your valid NCDL
- Social Security Number (SSN) via one of the following:
- A Social Security Card
- A pay statement showing your full SSN
- A W-2
- A 1099 form
- Two proofs of D.C. residency, which can include any of the below:
- A utility bill
- A telephone bill
- A deed or mortgage
- Proof of identity, which can be proven through the following:
- A valid, unexpired U.S. passport
- A certified U.S. passport
- A Certificate of Citizenship
- A Certificate of Naturalization
- A Permanent Resident card
- The proper medical paperwork
- Your 10-year driving record
- All applicable permit and testing fees
Once you get a CDL learners permit by passing the necessary knowledge tests, you will receive a 45-day temporary permit. Your permanent CLP will be mailed to your address on file with the DMV. Your CLP is valid for 180 calendar days, and can be renewed once for another 180 days without retesting, within 30 days of the expiration date. With a CLP, you can operate a CMV in the license class in which you plan to get licensed. However, you must be accompanied by a licensed CDL driver.
CDL Written Test in Washington DC
To take the CDL written test in D.C., you must visit the Brentwood CDL center. Though you do not need an appointment, you will not be allowed to take the test unless you arrive at least two hours before the center closes.
The CDL general knowledge test is required by all applicants, and will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. Depending on the CMV you plan to operate, you may need to take additional knowledge tests. Each CDL endorsement test will take 60 minutes. If you do not pass a knowledge test, you must wait three calendar days before you can retake an exam.
Washington DC CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests
Obtaining a CDL practice test, a study guide and the CDL book is the best way to prepare for the written and skills tests. Although this is not required, when the time comes to conduct your personal CDL prep, you can print a copy of the CDL handbook online, or request a copy in-person.
How to Get a CDL License in Washington DC
To apply for CDL credentials in D.C., you must visit the Brentwood CDL center, and bring the abovementioned documents with you. Once you get – and hold – a CLP for 30 calendar days, you can make an appointment to take the road skills test.
CDL Driving Test in Washington DC
You can take the CDL test after you pass the necessary knowledge tests. To do so, you must visit a D.C. DMV Commercial Driver License Road Test Lot. You must also take the skills test in the type of vehicle in which you plan to be licensed. You can make an appointment for the road skills test online, through the D.C. DMV website.
On your CDL driving test, you will be tested on three, general skills. They must be taken in the following order:
- Vehicle inspection
- Basic vehicle control
- On-road driving
Once you pass the road skills test, your CLP will be upgraded to a CDL. Then, you must take the printout of your results to the Brentwood CDL center to complete the licensing process.
How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in Washington DC
If you had a military CDL, and were employed within the last 90 calendar days in a military position where you operated a military motor vehicle equivalent to a CMV, or if you are an active-duty servicemember, you do not need to take the road skills test.
However, you will need to take and pass all necessary knowledge tests. You must also be at least 21 years of age, have two years of commercial vehicle driving experience, and provide your active military orders or U.S. Department of Defense Form DD214.
CDL Medical Exams in Washington DC
As defined by the new DOT physical requirements, you must self-certify regarding the type of CMV operation that you expect to perform with your CDL. You can self-certify online, through the D.C. DMV website.
Depending on the type of commerce you plan to operate, you may also be required to submit to a CDL physical to obtain a current Medical Examiner’s Report (Form 649-F), and a Medical Examiner’s Certificate prepared by a qualified the National Registry of Medical Examiners professional. If you fail to get a “certified” medical status on your driving record, you may lose your CDL.
Types of CDL Classes in Washington DC
There are three types of CDL licenses available to interested drivers in DC. They include the Class A CDL, Class B CDL and Class C CDL. Each type is further outlined as:
- Class A license: Any single vehicle with a semi-trailer or trailer with at least two axles. This also includes any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds, if the gross vehicle weight rating of the towed vehicles is more than 10,000 pounds.
- Class B license: Any heavy straight vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds, and any vehicle towing another vehicle that is not more than 10,000 pounds.
- Class C license: Any vehicle that is designed to transport more than 16 passengers, including the driver, or is used to transport materials that are classified as hazardous.
Types of CDL Endorsements in Washington DC
CDL endorsements in DC can be added to a CDL license, if needed. The CDL endorsements that are current available are listed below:
- P (Passenger Endorsement): Designed to carry 16 or more people, including the driver
- S (School Bus Endorsement): School bus with passengers
- T (Double and Triple Trailers Endorsement): Trucks with double or triple trailers
- N (Tanker Endorsement): A truck with a tank
- H (Hazmat Endorsement): Trucks carrying hazardous material
- X (Combination Endorsement): Combination of N and H endorsements for a single endorsement allowing you to operate a truck with a tank or a truck carrying hazardous materials
Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in Washington DC
You will need an interstate CDL in D.C. to drive a CMV from one state to another state, or to a foreign country. You will need an intrastate CDL, on the other hand, if you plan to drive a CMV within – and only in – D.C.
If you operate in both intrastate and interstate commerce, you must choose to drive interstate commerce.
Commercial Driving License Fees in Washington DC
The CDL license cost figures vary, depending on the service elected. The current pricing list includes the below:
- CLP: $78
- First-time CDL: $117
- CDL downgrade: $20
- CDL duplicate: $20
- CDL endorsement: $20
- CDL knowledge test: $10 per test
- CDL road skills test: $10
Keep in mind that cash is not currently accepted as a form of payment at the Brentwood CDL center.
- Medical Examiner's Certificate
- Application for Military Skills Test Waiver
- Medical Examiner's Report (Form 649-F)
Note: DMV forms change regularly. The forms provided above are current based on the date of writing.
- Washington D.C. Commercial Driver License Manual from dmv.dc.gov
- Commercial Driver License from dmv.dc.gov
- CDL Eligibility and Requirements from dmv.dc.gov