A CDL renewal is an important part of maintaining your commercial driver’s license as this renewal must be performed on a regular basis in order to retain driving privileges and your ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Often, renewal requirements, documentation and application methods are very different for commercial driver’s licenses in comparison to that of a Class D driver’s license or a commercial learner’s permit (CLP).

While a CDL expiration grace period exists in many states throughout the U.S., this grace period does not mean that your license has not expired or that you may still use the license. The grace period will generally only protect you from having to retake knowledge and skills-related exams before a new CDL can be issued. However, it is far easier and less of a hassle to ensure that your CDL does not expire in the first place. For more information about how to renew commercial drivers licenses in your state, please visit your state’s page:

When to Renew Your CDL License

While it is important to ask, “What do you need to renew your CDL license?” it is equally important to know when your license must be renewed. The length of validity that a CDL will hold depends on the state that issues the commercial license. Typically, a renewal will be required once every 4 to 8 years.

It is also common practice for a state DMV or DOT to send out renewal notices within 30 to 60 days prior to the expiration of a CDL in order to provide a reminder for the renewal. However, you are still responsible for renewing your CDL in a timely manner, regardless of whether or not you receive a notice.

A CDL expiration grace period exists in many states within the U.S. This grace period does not extend the validity of your license. Once your license is expired, it cannot be legally used. However, the grace period will prevent you from having to retest for knowledge and road skill exams related to your CDL or endorsements.

The amount of time that the grace period provides will also vary by state, but it is common to have a grace period that only lasts for a few months following the expiration of a license. In most cases, if you do not renew before your CDL expires or within this grace period, you will be ineligible to renew and will instead be required to start over and apply for a commercial learners permit.

CDL Renewal Testing Requirements

CDL renewal requirements extends to additional testing that may be required when it comes time to renew. If you have a hazardous material endorsement, you will always be required to successfully pass the hazardous material endorsement knowledge test with each renewal, regardless of the state that your license is issued in. In many cases, states may also require additional testing for other endorsements, such as the school bus endorsement.

When submitting a CDL renewal request, it is very common for the DMV or DOT to require a vision exam before the renewal can be approved. In some cases, this exam will not be required with each renewal, but every other. It is also worth knowing that if your CDL has been expired for a lengthy period of time, you may be required to complete all of the knowledge and road skill exams related to your CDL class and endorsements.

What do you need to renew your CDL license?

While it is important to ask, “What do you need to renew your CDL license?”, it is also important to understand that documentation requirements vary from one state to the next. However, you will be required to provide federal required documents, as applicable such as a completed medical examination form. You may also be required to provide documents such as:

  • Proof of identity.
  • Proof of Social Security number.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful presence.
  • Proof of address.
  • The CDL renewal cost.

Therefore, it is important to review your state’s requirements prior to submitting a renewal application for your commercial driver’s license.

CDL Renewal Process

When you need to renew a commercial driver’s license, you will need to review the types of renewal methods that your state allows and whether there are any additional processes for these methods, such as having your photo taken or your vision tested if you submit a renewal application in person.

While a great number of states will only permit in person renewals for CDL holders, a variety of states have begun to expand by-mail and online renewal programs to include CDL holders. However, if you have a hazardous material endorsement, it is also worth knowing that you will always be required to renew in person, regardless of the state that you reside in.

CDL Permit Renewal Requirements

While the question, “How long is a CDL permit food for?” is a valid one, it is worth knowing that the length of validity that a commercial learner’s permit holds will depend on the state. However, in most states, a CLP will remain valid for 180 days. Most states, though not all, will allow at least one renewal prior to requiring an individual to reapply for a CLP and retest for the permit.

Hazardous Material Endorsement CDL Renewal Requirements

To perform a CDL renewal with a hazardous material endorsement, you must complete additional steps, generally prior to submitting your renewal application. A hazardous material endorsement will only remain valid for a five year period at maximum, regardless of the state that it is issued in.

When initially applying for a hazardous material endorsement as well as with each renewal, you will be required to complete a threat assessment with the TSA, which will include fingerprinting and a federal background check. In most cases, the fee for this service is $86.50. However, some states offer a lower rate when the DMV or DOT office handles fingerprinting or other services related to the assessment.

To renew a commercial driver’s license hazardous material endorsement, you will need to either schedule an appointment online or call 833-848-4759. This process will usually take between 30 to 60 days to complete, so it is important to give yourself plenty of time in order to avoid the expiration of your current CDL. However, it is also worth knowing that the following states can complete their application, background check and fingerprinting at local Department of Motor Vehicles:

  • Florida.
  • Kentucky.
  • Maryland.
  • Mississippi.
  • New York.
  • Pennsylvania.
  • Texas.
  • Virginia.
  • Wisconsin.

As stated previously, these states may require a different fee amount.

CDL Renewal Fees

CDL renewal prices can vary by state. In most cases, the price for a renewal will depend on how long the new CDL will remain valid. Additionally, you may be charged a fee for each endorsement that you wish to renew alongside your license. Some states will also charge testing fees in conjunction with renewal fees if you must take a knowledge exam for a particular endorsement that you wish to renew.

Last updated on Thursday, March 5 2020.