Getting a CDL renewal in Kentucky seems like a complex process, given the state’s renewal rules and associated fees. It is further complicated by the fact that you may submit certain CDL renewal documents online but must renew the license in person. However, you can prepare yourself by reading carefully through the state’s requirements and laws.

CDL renewal requirements are different other drivers license requirements and usually more extensive. In addition, the CDL renewal cost is usually higher because you may need to re-take certain assessments or add endorsements to your license. Though you may be deterred by these additional qualifications, it is better to renew your CDL than to let it expire. The state may not observe a CDL expiration grace period, so you could immediately incur fines and penalties for driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with an expired license.

When to Renew Your CDL License in Kentucky

You may choose to renew a commercial drivers license for the following reasons:

  • Your CDL is about to expire or has expired
  • You are transferring your CDL license from a different state
  • You want to add an endorsement
  • You want to drop a restriction

If your KY CDL is for farm-related services, you may have an earlier expiration date than normal. These restricted CDLs are usually valid for 60, 120 or 180 consecutive days. Additionally, they are only valid within 150 miles of the farm land being serviced. In effect, you cannot drive a farm-related vehicle too far from the property.

If you have a HAZMAT endorsement, you will receive a notice of your upcoming expiration 60 days in advance.

CDL Renewal Testing Requirements in Kentucky

In order to renew your CDL, you may need a recent medical assessment, a background check, a “hot file” check and more. The CDL expiration grace period, for the “hot file” check requirement is one year.

This means that you do not need to complete it if your license has been expired for less than one year. This check is conducted by the Kentucky state police (KSP) and does not delay or stop the application process, unless the police find a warrant under your name.  

If you have held an expired CDL license for a year or more, you must also re-take written and vision tests. If your license has been suspended, you may need to apply for a reinstatement and re-take all tests. These tests include:

  • A written test.
  • A vision test.
  • A skills test.
  • A medical assessment.
  • A hot file check.

If you drive a HAZMAT vehicle and are applying for a reinstatement, you must complete additional assessments.

What do you need to renew your CDL license in Kentucky?

In order to renew a CDL in KT, you must submit a self-certification form, a history survey, a renewal fee and a medical certificate or medical waiver. The self-certification form and medical certificate may be submitted online through the MyCDL portal. When you apply in person, you may need to present your current CDL and proof of address if your address has changed.

The CDL self-certification form asks you to self-certify what type of driving you expect to do with your license. For example, you must select one of four CDL driving categories, which indicate whether you will be driving in-state only or out-of-state as well. The history survey asks for a record of every driver’s license you have held for the past 10 years, including licenses from other states.

You must also complete a CDL medical exam and obtain a medical certificate by the time of your application, unless you already have an unexpired DOT medical card. The first part of the exam form, a medical examination report, must be completed by you and a medical professional.

The examiner’s certificate must be completed by the same licensed medical professional. If you have a health problem that prevents you from receiving a medical certificate, you may apply for an intrastate medical waiver.

CDL Renewal Process in Kentucky

The CDL license renewal process may be relatively simple if you apply before your license expires. You may need to submit the documents listed above online through the Kentucky MyCDL portal before you can apply in person.

If you are wondering how to renew an expired CDL license and it has been a year or more since the expiration, you must retake written and vision tests. The written test consists of 50 questions on how to operate your vehicle in a variety of conditions, how to handle cargo, how to inspect your vehicle and more. The vision test is administered by an employee on the same day as your written test.

You must have an unexpired DOT medical card to receive a CDL renewal, as mentioned above. If this card is about to expire, find a licensed medical examiner on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) national registry.

Then, schedule an appointment with him or her and bring in the medical examination report and certificate. If the examiner decides that you are physically capable of driving a CMV, he or she will fill out the second half of your report and complete the certificate.

If you do not qualify for a CDL medical card renewal and your examination report is denied, contact the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerk’s office and request a medical waiver packet. Ask your doctor which forms in the packet you ought to complete. You may need an optometrist or ophthalmologist to complete the vision form.

Once you complete the relevant forms, send them to the appropriate office along with a copy of your most recent DOT physical examination.

CDL license renewals must be completed in person at local motor carrier offices. Walk-in customers are welcome Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Remember to bring your current CDL, proof of address if your address changed and money for the renewal fee. You may pay for the renewal fee in cash or with a company check, money order or credit card.

Kentucky CDL Permit Renewal Requirements

How long is a CDL permit good for in Kentucky? The permit lasts six months, meaning you must renew it in that time if you want to continue driving a CMV without a commercial driver’s license. However, you may only renew a permit once in a two-year period.

The state does not charge an additional skills test fee for a CDL permit renewal unless you do not pass the test before the permit expires.

Other CDL permit requirements include a valid DOT medical card, which must be on file at the Division of Driver Licensing. Make sure you bring a copy of the front and back of the card.

You must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Unfortunately, the state does not allow you to transfer a CDL permit from another state. If you do have a permit in another state, you must apply for a new one in Kentucky.

Hazardous Material Endorsement CDL Renewal Requirements in Kentucky

HAZMAT endorsement requirements apply to you if you drive a HAZMAT vehicle. One of these requirements is the Kentucky security threat assessment, the application for which must be completed at least 60 days before your CDL expires.

If you have a threat assessment from another state that expires before your new KT CDL expires, you must take a new one and pay an additional fee.

You may qualify for a 90-day extension after your license expires in order to complete the threat assessment. If you have a CDL in another state with a hazardous endorsement in another state, you must still take the Kentucky written HAZMAT test.

CDL Renewal Fees in Kentucky

The CDL renewal price may vary depending on which tests you re-take and whether you add endorsements or drop restrictions. Consult the list of CDL fees below to see which charges may apply to you. You may contact your employer to find out whether it covers the cost of these fees.

Renewal Fees

  • Renewal CDL for Class B or C licenses: $47
  • Renewal CDL with passenger (P) and school bus (S) endorsements only: $32
  • To upgrade your license from Class B or C to Class A: $47 total, including application, permit and license fees
  • CDL instruction permit, for permit renewals that occur after the first permit expired: $11

Endorsement and Restriction Fees

  • For tanker, doubles, triples or hazardous material vehicles: $17 total, including $12 for a reprint and $5 for the endorsement
  • For passenger endorsements: $97 total, including an application fee, CDL instruction permit fee, skills test fee and a new license fee
  • To drop a K, O or J restriction: $97 total, including an application fee, CDL instruction permit fee, skills test fee and a new license fee

Test and Assessment Fees

  • Hot file check for CDL renewals: $3.00
  • HAZMAT test, if you have a HAZMAT endorsement from another state: $5
  • New threat assessment, if you have a threat assessment from another state that expires soon: $115
Last updated on Friday, March 6 2020.