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

Basic Requirements For A Commercial Driver’s Permit/License

  • You must be at least 18 years of age (to drive intrastate) and 21 years of age or older to drive interstate. You must be 21 years of age to receive a hazardous materials endorsement.
  • You must have held a valid Rhode Island driver’s license for at least two years.
  • You should not have had licenses from other states, Mexico or Canada.
  • Certify that you are in agreement with state motor carrier safety regulations. See Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or call (401) 462-5813 for more information.
  • Provide a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate. You can obtain one by having a licensed medical professional fill out the appropriate Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver Fitness reports. The medical examiner should provide you with a Medical Examiner’s Certificate.
  • Provide proof of identity and legal presence.
  • Provide proof of Rhode Island residency.
  • Provide your Social security number.

Steps To Apply For A CDL Permit/License

  1. You must meet the requirements for a Rhode Island driver’s license.
  2. All applicants must submit an Affidavit for CDL History Check and a 10 year CDL check will be carried out.
  3. Fill out the CDL application form and hand in in-person to a DMV office. For more information see Instruction Permit section below.
  4. Pay the application fee of $10.00. A $1.50 technology surcharge per transaction will also be charged. The permit fee will also have to be paid which is $11.50.
  5. Pass the CDL knowledge exams. See the CDL Manual for the required information. The exam must be taken at Pawtucket only. You will need to 80% of the questions correctly in order to pass.
  6. Attend and then provide proof that you have taken a Commercial driver’s education program specifically for commercial motor vehicles.
  7. Take the road test. Road tests are conducted and scheduled by the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). Call (401) 825-1146 to make an appointment.
  8. Pay license and endorsement fees.

Instruction Permit

In order to be eligible for a Rhode Island CDL, you must first obtain a CDL instruction permit. First, you must fill out the CDL application form. Then show proof of legal presence and US residency. Next, pay the $11.50 permit fee. Lastly, pass the CDL general knowledge exam and road test. Also, you must have your instruction permit for 30 days before obtaining a CDL. Rhode Island Instruction Permits are valid for 90 days. You can only renew the permit once for another 90 days.


A Rhode Island Commercial Driver’s License will be valid for 5 years. If you are 70 years old and above, it will be valid for 2 years. Please see the list of fees below for more information. There is a $1.50 technology surcharge per transaction in addition to regular fees.

  • Application fee: $10
  • Test fee: $10 per written test
  • Permit fee: $11.50 (includes the $.150 surcharge)
  • Road test fee: $51.50

CDL Endorsements

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.


Last updated on Monday, February 19 2018.

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