You will need to apply for a Wisconsin CDL, or commercial drivers license, if you plan to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). You must get a commercial license for the type of vehicle you plan to operate. To do so, you must meet the requirements, such as the age and residency requirements. Depending on the CMV that you plan to operate, you may also need to add endorsements to your license, which will require additional testing.

To get a CDL license in Wisconsin, you must first obtain a commercial learners permit, or CLP, through the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). To do so, you will need to take and pass the knowledge test. Certain CMVs also require additional written tests. Once you get your CLP and hold it for 14 days, you can take the road skills test. If you pass, the Wisconsin DMV will issue you a CDL.

CDL Requirements in Wisconsin

Certain CDL license requirements are enforced in Wisconsin on order for an applicant to gain licensure successfully. These include the below:

  • Hold a valid Wisconsin driver license
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Submit proof of your U.S. citizenship or permanent legal presence
  • Submit your Social Security Number, or SSN
  • Pass the necessary knowledge tests
  • Submit medical documents
  • Take the road skills test

When it comes to CDL requirements in Wisconsin, there are also three types of disqualification groups. These include:

  • General disqualification.
  • Hazmat disqualifications.
  • School bus disqualifications.

If you are disqualified from any of the above groups, the DMV will issue you an order of disqualification, and mail it to your last known address.

How to Apply for a CDL Permit in Wisconsin

You must first get a CDL permit in Wisconsin before you can obtain a full CDL license. To do so, you must bring the following documentation with you to your knowledge test:

  1. A completed Wisconsin Driver License (DL) Application (Form MV3001)
  2. Your valid Wisconsin driver license
  3. Proof of Social Security Number:
  • Social Security card
  1. Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal status
  • A valid U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card
  • A U.S. state or local government-issued Certificate of Birth
  • A U.S. Certificate of Naturalization
  • A Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
  1. The permit and testing fees

A Wisconsin CDL learners permit is valid for 180 days, and is only valid to operate a CMV. When driving a CMV with your permit, the CDL permit rules state that you must be accompanied by a qualifying driving instructor or a person who is licensed to operate that type of CMV. He or she must also be at least 21 years of age, and seated next to you while driving. Note that with a CDL permit, you may not transport any other passengers.

CDL Written Test in Wisconsin

You must take a CDL written test for the type of vehicle you plan to operate before you can get a CDL permit. Depending on the class of license and the endorsements you will need, you may need to take more than one knowledge test. However, all applicants will need to take the CDL general knowledge test. Additional knowledge tests include: the passenger transport test, the air brakes test, the combination vehicle test, the hazardous materials test, the tank vehicle test, the double or triple trailer test and the school bus test.

Once you pass the necessary CDL written tests, you can move forward with taking the road skills test.

Wisconsin CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests

You do not need to enroll in a CDL school to get a CDL license in Wisconsin. However, by getting formal training, you will learn in-depth skills and knowledge to get a CDL. If you choose not to take a CDL training course, you can use the Wisconsin Commercial Driver’s Manual to prepare for the tests. You can print a copy of the CDL book online, or request a copy in person from the Wisconsin DMV website.

How to Get a CDL License in Wisconsin

To apply for CDL credentials in Wisconsin, you must visit a DMV customer service center to take the exam on a computerized system. Additionally, you must be sure to bring the abovementioned documentation with you, including your completed CDL application. Once you hold a CLP for 14 days, you can make an appointment to take the road skills test.

CDL Driving Test in Wisconsin

You can take the CDL test after you pass the knowledge tests. To do so, you must contact a CDL third-party testing company. Though not required, you should make an appointment for your skills test, since there is a minimum two-day waiting period. To take the test, you must provide a vehicle for the road skills test that must be the same type of vehicle for which you plan to be licensed.

The CDL driving test will encompass three general skills:

  1. Vehicle inspection
  2. Basic vehicle control
  3. On-road driving

Once you pass the road skills test, your CLP will be upgraded to a CDL.

How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in Wisconsin

If you had a military CDL, you might be exempt from taking the CDL road skills test, excluding the school bus “S” endorsement skills test. To qualify, you must be a Wisconsin resident, and you must pass the necessary knowledge tests. You must also complete the WisDOT Form MV3588, which must be signed by your commanding officer, or a training officer.

CDL Medical Exams in Wisconsin

New DOT physical requirements state that you must self-certify to the type of CMV operation, or tier-operation, that you expect to drive in with your CDL. Therefore, you must fill out and submit the Commercial Driver Certification: Tier of Operation Form MV3230.

Depending on the type of commerce you plan to operate, you may also need to submit a current Medical Examiner’s Report and a Medical Examiner’s Certificate prepared by an examiner on the National Registry of Medical Examiners. This typically encompasses a CDL physical, too. If you fail to submit the necessary medical documents, you may lose your CDL.

Types of CDL Classes in Wisconsin

There are three kinds of CDL classes available in Wisconsin: the Class A CDL, Class B CDL and Class C CDL. They are further outlined as:

  • Class A license: combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of more than 26,000 pounds, provided that the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the towed vehicle is not more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B license: Any single vehiclewith a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds, or such a vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR of less than 10,000 pounds.
  • Class C license: Any single vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds or less, or such a vehicle towing a vehicle less than 10,000 pounds transporting hazardous materials needing placarding, or designed to carry 16 or more passengers – including the driver.

Types of CDL Endorsements in Wisconsin

There are several CDL endorsements in Wisconsin available to licensed drivers. These include the below:

  • S: School Bus Endorsement
  • P: Passenger Endorsement
  • H: Hazmat Endorsement
  • N: Tanker Endorsement
  • T: Doubles or Triples Trailers Endorsement
  • F: Farm Service Endorsement

Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in Wisconsin

You will need an interstate CDL in Wisconsin to drive a CMV from one state to another state or a foreign country, or between two places within Wisconsin, but if the passengers or cargo are parts of a trip that begins or ends in another state or foreign country.

You will need an intrastate CDL, on the other hand, if you plan to drive a CMV within Washington, and you do not meet any of the above descriptions for an interstate CDL. If you operate in both intrastate and interstate commerce, you must choose to drive interstate commerce.

Commercial Driving License Fees in Wisconsin

The CDL license costs in Wisconsin vary, depending on the service. They include the below:

  • CLP: $30
  • CDL: $74
  • CDL renewal: $74
  • Duplicate CDL: $14
  • CDL Endorsements, $5 each, plus a $10 issuance fee
    • First-time school bus: $10
    • Hazmat endorsement: $44; $34 with renewal
    • Hazmat fingerprinting fee: $23.75
Last updated on Thursday, March 5 2020.