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 (one year or more) 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 License (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.
- Drivers of commercial motor vehicles must have a valid Med Cert documentation (DOT card, skills performance evaluation, waiver exemption, etc.). In addition, all commercial drivers are required to "self-certify" regarding the type of commercial driving they will be doing. Please refer to the self-certification category.
- A commercial learner's permit (CLP) is now valid for 180 days instead of six (6) months.
- Only 3 endorsements are allowed on a commercial learner's permit (CPL):
- Passenger: a "P" endorsement prohibits the CPL holder from carrying passengers in a commercial motor vehicle. According to federal law [49CFR383.25(a)(1)], only federal or state auditors and inspectors, test examiners, other trainees and commercial driver's license holders who accompany the commercial learner's permit holder are permitted in the vehicle.
- School Bus: an "S" endorsement prohibits the CPL holder from carrying passengers in a school bus. According to federal law [49CFR383.25(a)(1)], only federal or state auditors and inspectors, test examiners, other trainees and commercial driver's license holders who accompany the commercial learner's permit holder are permitted in the vehicle.
- Tank Endorsement: an "N" endorsement allows the CPL holder to operate a vehicle if it has an empty tank and prohibits any tank that previously contained hazardous materials that have not been purged of all residue.
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 (noncommercial Class C full license or higher and or a Maryland 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) unless your vision specialist has already submitted your vision exam results to the MVA electronically;
- 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.
- 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. 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. 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 (and commercial or noncommercial license) 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 the MVA Photo Guidelines;
- Review the documents you brought with you;
- Give you a vision screening or scan your Vision Screening Form (form DL-043A) unless your vision exam results have been submitted electronically by your Authorized Online Vision Certification Provider; and
- Verify that you meet all eligibility requirements.
- Have you sign the application. See the MVA Signature Guidelines.
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, along with any required endorsements;
- 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.
All knowledge and skills test passing scores are valid for a maximum of six (6) months. Knowledge and skill tests expire and must be retaken and a new application is required if:
- The knowledge tests(s) were passed but a learner's permit was not issued.
- The knowledge test(s) were passed but a skills test was not passed or if passed a new driver's license was not issued.
- The learner's permit was issued and has expired before being converted to a driver's license.
- The learner's permit has not expired but the applicant wants to apply for a new permit.
- The applicant has a license that is expired for one (1) year or more.
Driver’s Skills Tests:
You can set up a skills test appointment by visiting the MVA Central Scheduling System (CSS), or by calling the MVA Customer Service Center at 410-768-7000 or 1-800-492-4575 TTY for the Hearing Impaired. Please listen to the whole message to hear the prompt to press # 7 then # 2 to speak to a Customer Service Representative so you can schedule an appointment.
CDL and class A & B noncommercial skills tests are not given at the Baltimore City, Beltsville, Essex, Westminster or White Oak offices.
Applicants who test for a CDL in a commercial motor vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission are given an “E” restriction on their licenses. The driver is not permitted to operate any commercial vehicle that does not have an automatic transmission. To operate a commercial motor vehicle with a standard shift or manual transmission, the driver will be required to retest in a commercial motor vehicle that is equipped with a standard shift or manual transmission.
Skills Tests from other States Accepted for Maryland Commercial Driver’s Licenses
Maryland commercial driver’s license (CDL) permit holders can now complete their skills tests in another state. The permit must be valid and cannot expire before the new Maryland CDL can be issued. However, Maryland does not perform CDL skills tests for permit holders from other states. Please make certain that the state in which you wish to be tested will do so before obtaining a Maryland CDL permit.
How to apply another state’s CDL skills test for a Maryland CDL:
The Maryland MVA works with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) through a Report Out of State Skills Test Results system (ROOSTR Lite)
- When a Maryland CDL applicant completes a skills test out-of-state, the AAMVA sends the results to the MVA through the ROOSTR lite site.
- The skills test results can then be viewed and printed and a scanned confirmation of the testing results, including all relevant information, can be placed in the MVA’s system.
- When the CDL applicant reports an out-of-state test and requests a Maryland CDL, the CDL process can be completed, provided the permit is still valid.
- 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: