Commercial licensing is complicated. Applying for a CDL can be easy with our MI guide to your CDL.

Basic Requirements For A Commercial Driver’s Permit/License

Steps To Apply For A CDL Permit/License

  1. You must meet the requirements for a Michigan driver’s license.
  2. Fill out the CDL application form and hand in in-person to a SoS office. For more information see Instruction Permit section below.
  3. Pay the fee for your permit.
  4. Pass the CDL knowledge exams. See the CDL Manual for the required information. The exam can be taken at any SoS location.
  5. Pass the vision screening test.
  6. Attend and then provide proof that you have taken a Commercial driver’s education program specifically for commercial motor vehicles.
  7. Take road test.
  8. Pay license and endorsement fees.

Instruction Permit

In order to be eligible for a Michigan CDL, you must first obtain a CDL temporary instruction permit (TIP). First, you must fill out the CDL application form. Then show proof of legal presence and US residency. Next, pay the permit fee. Lastly, pass the CDL general knowledge exam. Also, you must have your instruction permit for 30 days before obtaining a CDL. A TIP allows you to drive under the supervision of a driver who has a CDL for the kind of vehicle you wish to drive. Michigan Instruction Permits expire in 180 days.


The cost is $25.00 for a base operator’s CDL license. Please see the list of fees for more information.

CDL Instruction Permit

The following is a list of endorsements you can get on your CDL:

  • Hazardous Material (Class H).
  • Tank Vehicles (Class N).
  • Passenger-Carrying Vehicle (Class P).
  • School Bus (Class S).
  • Towing a Double or Triple Trailer (Class T).

Federal Guidelines For Interstate Drivers

The following is a list of federal requirements for interstate drivers.


  • If you already have a CDL, see CDL renewal.
  • For more information regarding test centers and hours and locations see you local SoS office.
  • See Michigan’s Commercial Driver’s Manual for knowledge exam information.
  • Information on drivers exempt from obtaining a CDL can be found here.
Last updated on Thursday, February 15 2018.

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