How to Get a Commercial Drivers License in Virginia
A Virginia commercial drivers license, or CDL, permits you to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). In Virginia, a CMV is defined as a single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 pounds, a combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of over 26,000 pounds, vehicles designed to carry more than 16 passengers or vehicles that transport hazardous material that needs placarding.
To get a CDL license in Virginia, you must apply for a commercial instruction permit through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). To do so, you must take the necessary knowledge tests. Then, you must pass the road skills test. Unless you pass an approved CDL driver education course, you will need to hold a permit for a minimum of 30 days before you can take the road skills test. Once you pass, the Virginia DMV will issue you a CDL.
CDL Requirements in Virginia
The Virginia DMV enforces several CDL license requirements by which drivers must abide in order to be successfully licensed. These include the following:
- Meet the requirements for a Virginia driver’s license
- Submit proof of your identity, legal presence, Virginia residency and Social Security Number
- Certify that you comply with the federal and Virginia carrier safety regulations
- Submit a Medical Examiner’s Certificate, if applicable
- Be at least 18 years of age to get an intrastate CDL
- Be at least 21 years of age to get an interstate CDL
If you are convicted of certain violations in Virginia, in either a CMV or non-CMV, you will be disqualified or prohibited from driving a CMV. These violations include the below:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Refusing blood or breath test
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Using a vehicle to commit a felony
How to Apply for a CDL Permit in Virginia
To get a CDL learners permit, you must complete the Driver’s License and Identification Card Application (Form DL 1P) and provide the following:
- Your Virginia driver’s license
- Two proofs of identity documents
- A Virginia driver’s license
- A Virginia CDL instruction permit
- A U.S. birth certificate
- An unexpired military ID card or discharge papers
- One proof of legal presence
- A U.S. birth certificate
- A U.S. passport
- A Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization
- A Resident Alien card
- One Proof of Virginia residency
- The proof must display your name and the address of your main Virginia residence, as it appears on your application
- Proof of Social Security Number
- A Social Security card
- An IRS W-2 form
- A payroll check or check stub
- The necessary medical paperwork
- Payment for the license fee
Next, according to the requirements for CDL licenses in VA, you must pass the CDL general knowledge test, and any other knowledge exams for the vehicle you wish to drive. CDL instruction permits are issued for 180 days, and may be renewed once, without further testing.
Under Virginia CDL permit requirements, once you obtain your credentials, you can drive a CMV of the class and type shown on your permit. However, you must be accompanied by a person licensed to drive the same CMV type as you.
CDL Written Test in Virginia
The CDL written test determines if you know how to operate a CMV, and whether you know the motor vehicle laws and safety techniques.
All CDL applicants must take the CDL general knowledge test. You may also need to take additional written exams, depending on the CMV you plan to operate. To prepare for the knowledge exams, you can obtain a copy of the Virginia Commercial Driver’s Manual online, or at any DMV customer service center. To pass the written tests for CDLs, you must answer at least 80 percent of the questions correctly.
Virginia CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests
You must pass a state-approved CDL training course, and hold a CDL instruction permit for at least 14 days before you can take the road skills test. If you complete a driver education program that is not designed explicitly for CDL prep, you must hold a CDL instruction permit for at least 30 days before you can take the road skills test. To help study for the written and road skills tests, you can obtain a copy of the Virginia Commercial Driver’s Manual.
How to Get a CDL License in Virginia
To apply for CDL credentials in Virginia, you must do so in person, by scheduling an appointment with your local DMV customer service center. During your appointment, you will need to take a vision test. Once you pass the necessary knowledge tests, you can schedule the road skills test.
CDL Driving Test in Virginia
The CDL test in Virginia is composed of three parts. To pass successfully, ensure you know how to execute the following:
- Pre-trip inspection
- Basic vehicle control
- On-road driving
You must take the CDL driving skills test in the type of vehicle in which you wish to be licensed. You must also provide the vehicle for the test, which must be in safe, working condition.
To schedule a CDL driving test, you can call the nearest customer service center. It will take you approximately 90 minutes to take the three-part skills test. If you miss an appointment, the DMV will charge you a $50 missed CDL skills test appointment fee.
How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in Virginia
If you have a military CDL, you may be able to qualify for Troops to Trucks, which waives the skills test for qualifying military personnel.
To qualify, you must be active-duty personnel, or discharged within the last 12 months, and have driven a CMV or military equivalent while in service. You must also be a Virginia resident and have a state driver’s license, or be eligible to obtain one. If you qualify for a CDL for veterans or military members, you must submit the CDL Skills Test Waiver Military Application form, and submit the DD-214, DD-256, or NGB-22, or U.S. Active Duty or Reservist Military ID Card, if you have not yet been discharged.
CDL Medical Exams in Virginia
To meet the new DOT physical requirements in Virginia, you must certify to one of the four categories of CMV operations by filling out the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Self-Certification form (DL 8).
Based on the category you choose, you may also need to provide the DMV with an original or certified copy of a Medical Examiner’s Certificate prepared by an examiner on the National Registry of Medical Examiners, following a CDL physical examination. If you fail to comply with these medical regulations, you will not be eligible for a CDL.
Types of CDL Classes in Virginia
CDL licenses encompass three different categories of credentials in Virginia. These include the Class A CDL, Class B CDL and Class C CDL, which are further outlined as:
- Class A license: Allows you to drive a combination of vehicles with a GCWR of more than 26,000 pounds while towing over 10,000 pounds, such as a tractor-trailer.
- Class B license: Allows you to drive a single vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds while towing a vehicle that does not exceed 10,000 pounds, such as a straight truck.
- Class C license: Allows you to drive a single vehicle or combination of vehicles that do not fall into either Class A or Class B, such as vehicles designed to carry more than 16 people.
Types of CDL Endorsements in Virginia
There are several available CDL endorsements in Virginia of which commercial drivers can take advantage. These include the below:
- H: For a hazmat endorsement
- N: For a tanker endorsement
- P: For a passenger endorsement
- S: For a school bus endorsement
- T: For a double or triple trailer endorsement
- X: For an endorsement for tank vehicles and a vehicle that transports hazardous materials
Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in Virginia
In Virginia, you must get an intrastate CDL if you plan to drive a CMV within Virginia. You will need to get an interstate CDL, on the other hand, if you plan to drive a CMV from one state to another state, or into a foreign country. If you operate in both intrastate and interstate commerce, you must choose to drive interstate commerce in VA.
Commercial Driving License Fees in Virginia
The CDL license cost in Virginia varies, based on credentials, endorsements and testing. The fees include the following:
- CDL instruction permit: $3 per year
- CDL instruction permit replacement: $2
- CDL: $8 per year, $20 minimum
- CDL replacement: $20
- CDL endorsement: $1 per year
- CDL skills test missed appointment: $50
CDLs are issued by the DMV, and are valid for eight years. Since the validity period of a CDL is eight years, your base CDL fee is $64. If you have a hazmat endorsement, you must renew it every five years. You must also be fingerprinted for a background check, and pay the designated $83 fee.