Commercial licensing is complicated. Applying for a CDL can be easy with our SC 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 South Carolina driver’s license.
  2. Fill out the CDL application form making sure to check the right option and hand in in-person to a DMV office. For more information see Instruction Permit section below.
  3. Pay the $15 application fee.
  4. Complete Form DL-402 and provide information regarding any out of state driver licenses.
  5. Pass the CDL knowledge exams. See the CDL Manual for the required information. The exam can be taken at any DMV location. You will need to answer 80% of the questions correctly in order to pass.
  6. Pass a vision screening test.
  7. Take road test at your local DMV office.
  8. Pay license and endorsement fees.

When you apply for a CDL, the SC DMV will automatically run a background check against the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS) and the Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) databases to check your driving history in other states.

Instruction Permit

In order to be eligible for a South Carolina CDL, you must first obtain a CDL instruction permit. First, you must fill out the CDL application form making sure to check option #3 “Commercial Beginner’s Permit”. Then show proof of legal presence and US residency. Next, pay the permit fee. Lastly, pass the CDL general knowledge exam and vision screening test. Also, you must have your instruction permit for 30 days before obtaining a CDL. South Carolina Instruction Permits expire in 1 year and are non-renewable.


A South Carolina Commercial Driver’s License will be valid for 5 years. The cost is $12.50 for a standard CDL license. Please see the list of fees below for more information.

  • $15 application fee.
  • $2 fee for each knowledge test you take.
  • $12.50 license fee, after all tests are passed.

You do not have to pay any fees when you first sit for your CDL driving tests. However, you will have to pay a $25 fee if you have to retake them.

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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