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Some states allow residents to renew a commercial drivers license (CDL) online. However, commercial drivers must be aware of any specific eligibility requirements for online CDL renewal. Even if your state does not offer online CDL renewal, you can still access valuable information online to help you renew your commercial drivers license. Our downloadable guide includes details on the forms you need to complete, the documents you need to present and the fees you need to pay in addition to any tests that your state's DMV may require you to take. You will also discover important details on updating your CDL and what to do if you have lost your CDL.

2. By Mail

A limited number of states offer mail-in CDL renewal options. If your state has this option, it will usually require you to meet certain eligibility criteria before you can go forward with submitting your renewal application via mail. You should be aware of your state's options and procedures before you attempt to renew your commercial drivers license via mail. You can download our comprehensive guide to get state-specific information about renewing your CDL in your state. Do not make the mistake of trying to renew by mail only to find out that your state's DMV will not let you do that. Download our guide today.

3. In Person

Because a CDL requires the holder to successfully complete driving, knowledge and medical exams, many states require CDL holders to renew their licenses in person. In-person renewals might be especially necessary if you need to renew certain CDL endorsements, such as those for transporting hazardous wastes or for transporting elderly or underage passengers. Requirements for CDL renewals are often much more complex than those for non-commercial drivers licenses, so it is important for you to know exactly what you need to prepare before you make a trip to the DMV. Our downloadable guide includes all the information you need to know about forms, tests, documents and fees involved with renewing your CDL and any specific endorsements.


A Wisconsin CDL renewal should be performed prior to the expiration date on your commercial drivers license. Should you fail to renew during the CDL expiration grace period or prior to your CDL’s expiration date, you will not only lose your ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle until you obtain a new one, but you will be required to pass all knowledge and driving exams related to your CDL and any endorsements that you wish to keep. The renewal of a WI CDL is very different than renewing a standard class D driver’s license or a commercial learner’s permit (CLP). Therefore, it is imperative that you learn how to submit your renewal request and when to do so.

By asking, “What do you need to renew your CDL license in Wisconsin?” you can better prepare yourself for the renewal process, thus saving you a second trip to the DMV and reducing the amount of time that you can expect to be at the DMV during your initial visit.

When to Renew Your CDL License in Wisconsin

Before reviewing CDL renewal requirements in Wisconsin, you are strongly encouraged to the recommended time frame in which you can and should renew your license. A Wisconsin commercial driver’s license is generally valid for an eight year period. Once every eight years, you will be required to complete a renewal of your license in order to retain your driving privileges and avoid having to complete any additional testing for failing to renew on time. If the Wisconsin DMV has your current mailing address on file, you will receive a reminder to renew your CDL between one and two months prior to expiration. Alternatively, you can also sign up for the DMV’s eNotify program to receive a text or email reminder.

If you do not renew during the CDL expiration grace period or prior to the expiration of your CDL, you will be required to complete all knowledge and road skill related testing before a new CDL can be provided to you. Therefore, it is important to complete your renewal application on time in order to avoid a larger hassle in the future.

CDL Renewal Testing Requirements in Wisconsin

When you renew a commercial drivers license, you may be required to complete additional testing before your renewal request can be completed. With each renewal, you must successfully complete a vision exam. If you have a hazardous materials endorsement (H), you will also be required to complete an additional knowledge test with each renewal request. If you have a school bus endorsement, you will also be required to complete the following tests:

  • A school bus knowledge test.
  • A highway sign recognition test.
  • A pre-trip inspection of a school bus.
  • An abbreviated school bus skill tests (can only be completed by appointment at an authorized third-party testing company).

If you renew after the CDL expiration grace period, the Wisconsin DMV will require you to complete all knowledge and road skill exams related to your CDL class, lifted restrictions and endorsements.

What do you need to renew your CDL license in Wisconsin?

To complete a CDL renewal in Wisconsin, you will be required to provide a number of documents during your visit. These documents must be provided with each renewal and include:

  • Proof of your legal status in the United States
  • Your completed Federal Medical Examiner Certificate, if required
  • You must certify your commercial tier of operation
  • Your completed hazardous materials endorsement application, if applicable
  • Your completed school bus application, if applicable
  • Your completed commercial drivers license renewal application (optional)
  • The CDL renewal cost.

It is also worth noting that if you have a hazardous material endorsement, you will be required to complete additional requirements before you will be permitted to renew your license.

CDL Renewal Process in Wisconsin

To renew a commercial drivers license in Wisconsin, you must visit your local DMV location as online and by mail applications are not permitted within the state. Therefore, it is important to review the list of documents that you will need to bring with you to the DMV in order to ensure that you are able to complete your renewal during your first visit. If you are renewing a school bus or hazardous material endorsement, you are strongly encouraged to begin the renewal process several months in advance in order to ensure that you will be able to renew your CDL prior to its expiration.

Wisconsin CDL Permit Renewal Requirements

If asking, “How long is a CDL permit good for in Wisconsin?” it is worth knowing that a commercial learners permit will remain valid for a 180 day period. This period begins the date that the CLP is issued. A CDL permit renewal is permitted within the state, it is worth knowing that, depending on how many times you have renewed your CLP, you may be required to re-take knowledge exams.

Hazardous Material Endorsement CDL Renewal Requirements in Wisconsin

When performing a WI CDL renewal for a commercial license that includes a hazardous material endorsement, you will need to complete additional steps in order to complete your renewal process and obtain a new license. With each hazardous material endorsement renewal, you will need to submit to a federal background check and have your fingerprints taken. The background check can be applied for at our local DMV for a $34 non-refundable fee. Fingerprinting fees come out to be $23.75. If approved by the TSA, you will then be able to renew your commercial license at your local DMV upon the successful completion of a hazardous material endorsement knowledge exam.

CDL Renewal Fees in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin CDL renewal price is $74 for a standard CDL license. If you have a school bus endorsement, you will be charged an extra $5. The fee for a class upgrade is $15 and you will be expected to pay a total of $15 for each endorsement upgrade. Should you wish to purchase a Wisconsin CLP, you will need to submit a payment of $30.

When completing a CDL license renewal in Wisconsin, it is worth knowing that your employer may potentially pay for the cost of your renewal. It is common practice for employers to pay CDL related fees if a CDL is required for job duties. However, you will need to inquire as to whether or not your employer would be willing to cover the cost of your renewal.

Last updated on Monday, February 4 2019.

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