Obtaining a Commercial Learner's Permit
You are required to obtain a Maryland Commercial Learner’s Permit (also called a learner’s instructional permit) when you request any of the following changes in driving privileges:
Your Current Credential
Your Requested Credential
Maryland noncommercial driver’s license class C
Maryland CDL class B or A, with or without endorsements
Maryland noncommercial driver’s license class C
Maryland CDL class C with the following endorsements:
Expired (more than one year) Maryland CDL (all classes)
New Maryland CDL in the same class
Maryland CDL class C
Maryland CDL class B or A
Maryland CDL class B
Maryland CDL class A
Maryland CDL (all classes)
Maryland CDL (all classes) with the following endorsements:
Maryland CDL with the following restriction(s):
Maryland CDL (all classes) with the restriction(s) removed.
- You must hold a valid Maryland full non-provisional, noncommercial Class C or higher Driver’s License (or a Maryland CDL of any class) prior to applying for the commercial learner’s permit.
- A commercial learner’s permit may not be required when you:
- Have a Maryland noncommercial class A or B license and want to convert it to the same class of Maryland CDL; or
- Have a Maryland CDL and want to add an endorsement or remove a restriction, other than those identified above; or
- Have a valid out-of-state or expired less than one (1) year CDL (includes Canada) and want to convert (transfer) it to the same class of Maryland CDL. For more information see Obtaining a Commercial Driver's Licesne (CDL). If your Maryland CDL has been expired for less than one year, you may renew it without having to first obtain a learner’s permit; see Renewing a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for more information.
- Effective January 30, 2012, commercial drivers must provide the MVA with copies of their updated medical documentation (DOT card and waiver/exemption if required) for the duration of their CDL, whether they are actively operating a commercial motor vehicle or not. The driver must also declare a self-certification category relating to their type of commerce.
What is the procedure for obtaining a commercial learner’s permit?
First, gather the documents that you will need to present to the MVA:
- Maryland driver’s license (non-commercial and/or CDL)
- Proof of your age – this can be your Maryland license or other document that includes your date of birth.
- If you need an unrestricted learner’s permit (enables you to drive across State lines) – you must be at least 21 years, 0 months.
- If you only need to drive in Maryland (i.e., permit with an Intrastate Only restriction) – you must be at least 18 years, 0 months. (Cannot have the passenger and/or HAZMAT endorsement(s).
- Medical Examiner’s Certificate (DOT card) – An unaltered photographic copy of the valid DOT Card is acceptable. If you qualify for a waiver or exemption, you must present the waiver/exemption statement in addition to the DOT card. See CDL Medical/Physical Requirements for more information.
- Glasses or contact lenses, if needed, or a completed and signed Vision Screening Form (see Vision Screening and Requirements for more information);
- Payment for the learner’s permit (cash, check, or MasterCard or Visa credit card or MVA credit voucher).
- You will need to provide your Social Security Number (SSN) to the MVA but you do not need to bring documentary proof.
- Effective January 30, 2012, commercial drivers must provide the MVA with copies of their updated medical documentation (DOT Card & waiver/exemption if required) for the duration of their CDL, whether they are actively operating a commercial motor vehicle or not. The MVA will be contacting CDL holders, subject to the new FMCSA requirements starting January 30, 2012 through January 30, 2014. You DO NOT need to submit your medical certification (Med Cert) information or declare a self-certification category with the MVA until you have been directly contacted by the Administration. If you are contacted by the MVA to provide them with this documentation and you fail to do so within the time frame indicated, your entire driver’s license privilege both commercial and noncommercial will be cancelled. However, if you visit a MVA branch office to renew or obtain a duplicate, corrected or new CDL, you will be required to present valid Med Cert documentation at that time. The driver must also declare a self-certification category relating to their type of commerce. Click here for information on the self-certification categories. See CDL Medical/Physical Requirements for more information. You may also Click here to view the Frequently Asked Questions link for additional information.
- If the medical documentation expires and the learner's permit is still valid, the driver must submit updated medical documentation or the CDL permit will be cancelled.
Second, visit any MVA full-service branch office; no appointment is needed. An MVA Driver Licensing Agent (DLA) in the office will:
- Take your photograph. See note about MVA Photo Guidelines;
- Review the documents you brought with you;
- Give you a vision screening or scan your Vision Screening Form (form #DL-043A); and
- Verify that you meet all eligibility requirements.
Note: MVA Photo Guidelines: Because of the ever increasing need to use a photo driver’s license, learner’s permit or moped permit as proof of personal identification (i.e.: MVA, Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, etc.) in addition to its role as a licensing document, the Maryland MVA is required to follow and enforce certain guidelines concerning approving and using an acceptable digital image/photograph on these license products. The same guidelines would also follow for the issuance of a Maryland Photo Identification Card.
The MVA will not permit an applicant to significantly alter, hide or enhance their face or facial features by the use or excessive use of:
- Face Paint
- Cosmetic Contacts
- Facial Contortions
- Hats/Scarves/Other Clothing
- Hands, etc.
If a supervisor deems it necessary, the customer will be required to remove the unacceptable face paint, cosmetics, etc. before a photo is taken.
If a photo image is taken and it is determined to be unacceptable by an MVA supervisor due to any of the above reasons or otherwise, the MVA reserves the right to require that the customer either sits for another image or is refused the issuance of the MVA product.
- Issuance of license: TR, 16-111.1(d)(2-iv): A color photograph of the applicant that is taken in accordance with a procedure that the Administration requires.
- Form and contents of an Identification Card: TR, 12-301(g)(2v): A color photograph of the applicant taken by the procedure that the Administration requires.
Upon completion of these steps, you will be given a test of your driving knowledge. If you fail the test, you must return on a different day to try again. If you pass the test, you will be directed to a Driver Licensing Agent (DLA) who will collect the fee owed, and issue your commercial learner’s permit.
Note: If your learner's permit expires or you are not able to complete/pass the required skills tests before it expires, you will be required to reapply for a new permit, pass the Vision and Knowledge tests and pay the required fees.
While you are driving with the commercial learner’s permit:
- A supervising driver (mentor) must accompany you. The supervising driver:
- Must have a valid CDL of the same class as or higher class than your learner’s permit class;
- Must be 21 years or older;
- Must have a minimum of 3 years driving experience in the same or higher class; and
- Must be in the front seat, with no other front seat occupants.
- You cannot use any wireless communication device (including cell phone) except to make an emergency 911 call.
Note: Customers must also be sure to change their name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) prior to coming to the MVA. The license, learner’s permit or ID card will not be issued if the new desired name change does not match the SSA records and is not automatically verified by the SSA files. It may take a minimum of 48 hours or longer for the SSA to update their records with your name change.
- There is a fee for each commercial learner’s permit issued.
Driver Services Division
6601 Ritchie Highway, NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062
For telephone questions:
MVA Customer Service Center: