How to Get a Commercial Drivers License in Minnesota
Residents must apply for the Minnesota CDL if they operate commercial vehicles inside or outside of the state. There are three CDL license classes available to eligible drivers. Depending on the vehicle and the type of commerce being transported, drivers may be restricted to one type of license. Additionally, certain commercial driving capabilities may also require specific endorsements to add to the commercial license.
Currently, a Minnesota commercial drivers license can only be issued if a learners permit has been held for at least 14 days. In addition, drivers must complete knowledge tests, skills tests and medical examinations to qualify. Once all of the application and testing requirements have been met successfully, applicants can gain their professional driving privileges in Minnesota.
CDL Requirements in Minnesota
Minnesota’s CDL license requirements apply to all resident drivers operating commercial vehicles on public roads. In all cases, drivers must be at least 18 years old to apply for a CDL permit. However, applicants must be over the age of 21 to apply for a hazardous materials endorsement or an interstate license. Exceptions apply.
CDL testing requirements state that all drivers must take written tests before being issued with their permits. Further skills tests are required to upgrade to a full license.
You will be disqualified from holding a MN CDL for one year if you operate the vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Other first offenses include committing a felony using a CMV, refusing a drug test and causing a fatality. If you commit a second offence, you will be disqualified from holding a CDL for life.
How to Apply for a CDL Permit in Minnesota
A CDL permit can be applied for in person, at a local MN DMV office. CDL learners permit rules state that a driver must hold a valid MN Class D license before applying. Visit your local office and complete the following steps to apply:
- Complete and submit a CDL permit self-certification form
- Submit proof of citizenship or lawful presence, such as a United States passport or Permanent Resident card
- Submit your Social Security Number
- Submit a medical examiner’s certificate, if applicable
- Take all applicable knowledge and vision tests
- Pay the CDL permit fee
CDL permits are valid for 180 days, and do not include a photograph. You must hold your permit for at least 14 days before taking the road skills test.
CDL Written Test in Minnesota
A CDL written test must be completed when applying for a permit. Depending on the class of license and the number of endorsements added, multiple tests may be required. The CDL general knowledge test is mandatory for all classes. If you fail an examination, it can be retaken the next day.
The following CDL written tests are available to eligible applicants:
- The CDL general knowledge test
- The CDL air brake test
- The CDL combination test
- The CDL passenger test
- The CDL school bus test
- The CDL tanker test
- The CDL hazardous materials test
Keep in mind that you must take all applicable CDL written tests before taking the corresponding skills test.
Minnesota CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests
MN CDL practice test questions are available in the state’s manual. Although CDL prep is recommended, applicants are not required to attend CDL school. However, CDL training is required for drivers operating school buses or vehicles with hazardous materials placards.
Employers or representatives are responsible for providing the required training and testing. Regardless of the situation, CDL training is mandatory if you fail the road test more than four times.
How to Get a CDL License in Minnesota
Before drivers can apply for CDL licenses, they must complete the road skills test. Search for a local test center online, and bring proof of the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) to the examiner. To get your CDL license at the MN DMV, follow the required steps, which include:
- Submitting a self-certification CDL application
- Submitting a medical examiner’s certificate or waiver, if applicable.
- Having your picture taken.
- Passing vision tests, if applicable.
- Providing proof of a background check, if applicable. Background checks are only required for hazardous material endorsements. Fingerprints must be collected from an authorized location.
- Providing your CDL permit.
- Providing proof of lawful presence and your Social Security Number.
- Paying the CDL application
CDL Driving Test in Minnesota
The MN CDL test consists of three parts: The pre-trip inspection, the basic control test and the road test. Each part must be passed in order to advance to the next stage. The CDL driving test must be taken in the type of commercial vehicle that matches your CDL application. Vehicles must have a valid inspection sticker and insurance card to qualify for the examination. The MN CDL test procedures include:
- The CDL pre-trip inspection, which demonstrates the driver’s ability to perform safety checks on the vehicle. State law requires all commercial drivers to perform daily safety checks on their vehicles.
- The CDL basic controls test, which demonstrates the driver’s ability to control the vehicle safely. The test is performed in an area marked by traffic cones. Examiners mark drivers on their ability to move the vehicle backward and into alleys.
- The CDL road test, which is used to demonstrate the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle in multiple situations including intersections, railway crossings and multi-turn lane maneuvers.
How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in Minnesota
A military CDL skills waiver form may be used to upgrade your license to a CDL within one year of being discharged. While a CDL for veterans does not require a skills test, knowledge examinations must be completed. Follow the below steps to apply for a CDL if you are a member of the military:
- Complete the military CDL skills waiver form
- Pass all applicable knowledge tests at an approved DMV office
- Provide your military ID card or DD214 military papers
- Pay the CDL license fee
Active military members holding a valid CDL upon entry to the armed services are not required to update their licenses until discharged. However, it is recommended you notify the DMV by sending a written statement, a copy of your military ID, a copy of your military orders or a statement from your commanding officer verifying the date you entered the military, and your active duty status, to the following address:
Driver and Vehicle Services 445 Minnesota St. St. Paul, MN 55101
CDL Medical Exams in Minnesota
The state’s new DOT physical requirements must be met be all eligible commercial drivers. A CDL physical exam is not mandatory for all drivers. However, all applicants must submit a completed medical self-certification form when applying for a permit or license.
If a CDL medical exam is required, a report must be completed and a certificate obtained. The examination must be performed by a certified DOT medical examiner registered with the National Registry of Certified Medical examiners. Search online to find licensed examiners.
Types of CDL Classes in Minnesota
There are three types of CDL classes available to applicants in Minnesota. A Class A license must be held when operating a vehicle with a gross combination weight of more than 26,000 pounds. A Class B CDL is required when operating a single vehicle with a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds. A Class C CDL must be held when operating a single vehicle weighing 26,000 pounds or less with a hazardous materials, passenger or school bus endorsement.
Types of CDL Endorsements in Minnesota
CDL endorsements are applied to commercial licenses when a particular cargo is being transported, or a specific vehicle is being operated. Minnesota issues the following endorsements to eligible CDL license holders:
- H: Hazmat Endorsement (Hazardous Materials)
- P: Passenger Endorsement
- N: Tanker Endorsement
- S: School Bus Endorsement
- T: Double or Triple Trailer Endorsement
- X: Tanker and Hazmat Endorsement
Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in Minnesota
An intrastate CDL only permits drivers to operate commercial vehicles within Minnesota, while an interstate CDL allows drivers to operate across state lines. However, drivers younger than 21 years of age are not allowed to hold interstate licenses.
Commercial Driving License Fees in Minnesota
The CDL license cost covers the permit, and all applicable endorsements and testing fees. The CDL permit cost is $10.50, regardless of the class for which you are applying. The following Minnesota CDL fees may apply to your application:
- Class A CDL (Younger than 21 years old): $24.25
- Class B CDL (Younger than years old): $36.25
- Class C CDL (Younger than 21 years old): $29.25
- Class A CDL (Older than 21 years old): $44.25
- Class B CDL (Older than 21 years old): $36.25
- Class C CDL (Older than 21 years old): $29.25
- CDL endorsement examination fee: $2.50 each
- School bus processing fee: $4
- CDL retesting fee (if you fail the knowledge test more than two times): $10
- CDL retesting fee (if you fail the skills test more than two times): $20
The enhanced CDL license cost includes an additional $15 fee.
Minnesota CDL Forms
- Application for Military Skills Test Waiver
- Commercial Drivers License Medical Self-Certification Form
- Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver Fitness
Note: DMV forms change regularly. The forms provided above are current based on the date of writing.
- CDL Manual from dps.mn.gov
- Drivers License Fees from dps.mn.gov
- Commercial Drivers License Endorsements and Restrictions from dps.mn.gov