In many cases, you will need to obtain a commercial learner’s permit before you can apply for a Maryland CDL. However, if you have a CDL from another U.S. State or D.C. or Canada, or if you have a non-commercial Maryland license, you may be able to convert it to a Maryland CDL without a permit.
- 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. CDL holders DO NOT need to submit their medical certification (Med Cert) information or declare a self-certification category with the MVA until they have been directly contacted by the Administration. If they are contacted by the MVA to provide them with this documentation and they fail to do so within the time frame indicated, their entire driver’s license privilege both commercial and noncommercial will be cancelled. However, if they visit a MVA branch office to renew or obtain a duplicate, corrected or new CDL, they 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 view the Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.
- New Medical Certification Requirement for Commercial Driver’s License Holders
All current U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) physical cards issued before May 21, 2014 are valid until their expiration date. However, when your commercial driver's medical certificate expires, you must be examined by a medical professional listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. The National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners is a new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) program. Only a medical examiner who has completed training and successfully passed the FMCSA's physical qualification standards will be listed on the National Registry.
To locate a Certified Medical Examiner in your area please visit the web at https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/NRPublicUI/home.seam or call FMCSA at 1-800-832-5660
To obtain additional information on the CDL Medical/Physical Requirements please click on this link. http://www.mva.maryland.gov/about-mva/info/26300/26300-50T.htm.
- The MVA will ONLY accept a Marriage Certificate or Certificate of Marriage that has been certified and issued by that jurisdiction’s proper government authority such as their Department of Vital Records/Statistics or their local or state court system.
- Effective January 1, 2013 the State of Maryland passed a law that authorized the issuance of a marriage license to same-sex couples, to allow their marriage ceremonies to begin on the effective date of January 1, 2013. The license does not validate the marriage, therefore once the marriage ceremony has taken place, a certified copy of the marriage certificate must be obtained to present to the MVA if a name change is requested. Note: the MVA also recognizes a Same-Sex marriage (civil union) that was performed in another jurisdiction that has passed and enacted similar legislation.
- 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.
- MVA Signature Guidelines: See MVA Signature Guidelines.
- MVA Photo Guidelines: See MVA Photo Guidelines.
Use of Interpreters
All commercial drivers' license (CDL) driving skills and knowledge tests as well as the Class A & B noncommerical skills tests are only given in English. Foreign language interpreters may not assist with any CDL or noncommercial Class A or B skills test or knowledge test.
First, you must hold your commercial learner’s permit for at least 14 days before you can apply for the CDL. While you are driving, you must comply with certain restrictions and requirements:
- 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 must always have your Valid DOT card and waiver/exemption (if required) in your possession when operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
- If you have a CDL Intrastate Only (K) restriction on your permit, you can only drive within the State of Maryland.
- A commercial learner's permit (CLP) is now valid for 180 days instead of six (6) months.
The next step is to make an appointment at any MVA full-service branch office by visiting the office or by calling the Customer Service Center. Tests are not given at Baltimore City, Beltsville, Essex, Westminster and White Oak. On the day of your scheduled visit, be sure to bring with you the following:
- Maryland commercial learner’s permit
- A valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (DOT card). An unaltered photographic copy of the DOT Card is acceptable. If required, you must also present a valid state or federal waiver/exemption. See CDL Medical/Physical Requirements for more information.
- Vehicle to be used in taking the skills test, with a valid registration card. You must provide a safe test vehicle for the driving test. If this vehicle is a rental vehicle your name MUST appear on the rental contract as an approved driver of that vehicle or the test will be cancelled and you will need to set up another test appointment date.
- Accompanying driver – the driver must bring their CDL (in the same or higher class than your learner's permit) and a valid DOT Card and intrastate/interstate waiver or exemption if required.
- Glasses or contact lenses, if needed, or a completed and signed Vision Screening Form (see Vision Screening and Requirements for more information).
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA) assessment letter – you will need this letter if you want to add a hazardous materials (H) endorsement to your CDL.
When you arrive for your scheduled visit you will receive the appropriate skills test(s). Upon completion of the skills test(s), you will be directed inside the office where a Customer Agent (CA) will:
- Collect your commercial learner’s permit;
- Take your photograph. See MVA's Photo Guidelines.
- Review the documents you brought with you;
- Verify that you meet all eligibility requirements.
- Maryland law requires that an out-of-state CDL holder must obtain a Maryland CDL within 30 days of establishing residency in this State.
- 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.
Out-of-State CDL Training Schools & Temporary CDLs
Note: A temporary CDL from another state or jurisdiction cannot be converted/transferred into a Maryland CDL.
The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administrations (MVA) does not issue a temporary CDL of this type nor does it recognize a temporary CDL that has been issued by another state, D.C. or Canada for the purpose of converting or transferring it into a Maryland CDL.
A temporary CDL issued when a CDL driver's license applicant (who is a permanent residnet of another jurisdiction) attends an out-of-state CDL training school and is tested and certified by that school and or the MVA and is then issued a temporary non-renewable CDL from that licensing jurisdiction. Because the majority of theses new CDL license holders are not a permanent resident and are not truly a domiciled resident of that issuing jurisdiction, most of the CDLs issued by that jurisdiction are normally valid for only 30-90 days.
Note: It is highly recommended that you contact the CDL training school and the out-of-state Motor Vehicle Administration before you attend any CDL training to find out what type of CDL license you will be eligible to receive. Many applicants unfortunately complete the out-of-state licensing process and are issued a temporary CDL only to find out that they are only eligible to receive a Maryland noncommercial driver's license and that they may have wasted weeks of time and thousands of dollars at the CDL training school.
To apply for a Maryland CDL, first, gather the documents that you will need to present to the MVA:
- Out-of-State CDL.
- Valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (DOT card). An unaltered photographic copy of the DOT Card – 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 (see Vision Screening and Requirements for more information);
- Payment for the CDL (cash, check, or MasterCard or Visa credit card).
- You will be required to provide documentary proof of your Social Security Number (SSN) to the MVA.
- If a hazardous materials (H) or the Tanker/HAZMAT endorsement(s), is/are being transferred, the MVA requires that you apply for a new Maryland and federal background check and retake the HME Knowledge Test. To add either endorsement to the CDL, you must first initiate a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Hazmat Background Record Check (BRC initiated in Maryland.) To initiate the background check process, you must schedule an appointment with the MVA. Click here and follow the directions provided to make an appointment at one of the following MVA offices:
- Glen Burnie;
- Bel Air;
- Waldorf; or
You may apply for the Maryland CDL the same day that you complete a new Hazmat BRC so be sure to bring all of your documents in with you and be prepared to pass the hazardous materials knowledge test.
3. The out-of-state CDL holder with the Passenger and School Bus "PS" endorsements must take the "PS" Knowledge Tests to transfer these endorsements per COMAR 11.17.14.06(f). If the customer only has the "Passenger" endorsement, they are "NOT" required to take the "P" knowledge test.
Second, visit an MVA full-service branch office where a Customer Agent (CA) will:
- Collect your CDL;
- Take your photograph. See MVA's Photo Guidelines;
- Review the documents you brought with you;
- Verify that you meet all eligibility requirements.
Note: Like Maryland, some states grant an extension of the driver’s license validity period to active duty U.S. military personnel and/or their dependants. If you are exchanging an out-of-state license that has been expired for one (1) year or more, you are required to take the knowledge and skills test in addition to the vision screening.
- Tests may be waived for active duty military and their dependants if the issuing State grants military extensions.
- There is no automatic extension to all active duty military. Each State has their own procedures, and Maryland will review the procedures of the State in which the license was issued before determining whether the transfer can be done without testing: OR
- You can contact the State in which your last license was issued to find out if a military extension is granted before visiting the MVA.
The procedure varies depending on your current license and when it was issued, among other things. If you have a non-commercial class A or class B license that was originally issued before June 15, 1998, you are required to take a skills test in addition to the Vision and Knowledge tests. The skills test must be scheduled and you may make this appointment in person at the MVA branch office that you plan to take the skills tests at or you may contact the Customer Service Center.for assistance. If your non-commercial Class A or Class B license was issued on or after June 15, 1998, the skills test may be waived, unless special circumstances don't permit it, such as those listed below.
If you are required to complete a skills test in addition to the knowledge tests you must obtain a CDL learner's permit.
Skills Test Waiver (Class A or B CDL):
If the customer is trying to convert or upgrade to Cass A or B CDL, and they have a poor driving record for the previous two (2) years, they will be required to obtain a CDL learner's permit (26300-45) and take the required skills tests in the appropriate motor vehicle. A good riving record means that the driver:
- Has NOT had any license or driving privilege suspended, revoked, canceled or disqualified;
- Has NOT refused a chemical test, or;
- Has NOT had any convictions for any type of motor vehicle for:
- Driving in violation of 21-902 of the Maryland Vehicle Law (i.e. DUI, DWI, etc.);
- Driving in violation of a federal law, any states' or local law which is substantially similar in nature to the provisions of 21-902, Maryland Vehicle Law;
- Leaving the scene of an accident;
- A felony involving the use of a motor vehicle;
- Speeding, involving any single charge for any speed of 15 miles per hour or more, above the posted speed limit;
- Reckless Driving;
- Improper or erratic lane changes;
- Following a vehicle ahead too closely;
- A violation of a state or local law relating to motor vehicle traffic control (other than a parking violation) arising in connection with any traffic accident, and have no record of an accident in which they were at fault.
Note: 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 driver must also declare a self-certification category relating to their type of commerce. Click here for information on the self-certification categories.
When you go to the MVA, be sure to bring with you the following:
- Maryland Class A or Class B license.
- Vehicle to be used in taking the skills test, with a valid registration card, if a test is required.
- You must provide a safe test vehicle for the driving test. If this vehicle is a rental vehicle your name MUST appear on the rental contract as an approved driver of that vehicle or the test will be cancelled and you will need to set up another test appointment date.
- Accompanying driver - the driver must bring their CDL (in the same or higher class than your learner's permit) and a valid DOT Card and intrastate/interstate waiver or exemption if required.
- 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 provider has completed a vision examination within the previous 12 months and they have electronically submitted those examination results to the MVA.
The Customer Agent (CA) will:
- Take your photograph. See MVA's Photo Guidelines;
- Review the documents you brought with you;
- Verify that you meet all eligibility requirements.
You will then be required to pass the required knowledge tests and if necessary the skills test. When you are finished, the Customer Agent (CA) will pick up your current license, collect the fee owed and issue your Maryland CDL.
Note: If you chose to or were required to Downgrade your CDL to a noncommercial Class A or B license and it has been downgraded for one (1) year or more, you are NOT eligible to upgrade back to a CDL without obtaining a Class A or B CDL learner's permit and retesting in a commercial motor vehicle.
What is the procedure for converting a U.S. Military license to a Maryland CDL?
Effective January 1, 2013, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) may waive the “SKILLS” tests for an applicant (United States Service Member) who meets the following criteria if they are trying to obtain a Maryland class A or B CDL. Note: To be eligible, the applicant must already possess a valid FULL (non-provisional) noncommercial class C or higher Maryland driver’s license or a valid Maryland CDL if they are hoping to upgrade to a higher class Maryland CDL using this skills test waiver process.
This procedure is followed when the customer is still on an active duty status or is now discharged (within the previous 12 months of the license application date) and holds/held a valid military operators permit/license issued by the US Military and now wants to obtain a Maryland CDL of the same representative class (A or B ONLY) as their military operators permit/license. If the applicant has been discharged they must submit their skills test waiver application (CDL-SK TST WVR) within 12 months of their discharge. Note: The transfer of the Passenger (P) and or School Bus (S) endorsement(s) is prohibited under this skills test waiver program. If the customer wishes to add endorsements, see Adding an Endorsement to a CDL (26300.47).
The applicant MUST have a valid FULL Class C or higher Maryland driver’s license (or Maryland CDL) before they are eligible to apply for a CDL using the skills waiver form.
- As part of their military job function, applicants must have held (if they are now discharged) or still currently hold a valid military operators permit/license and had/have operated the same class of military vehicle(s) which is representative of the class of CDL that they are now applying, for at least 2-years immediately preceding their discharge (if they are not still on active duty status) from the military. If no longer on an active duty status this individual must complete and submit to the MVA the skills test waiver form within 12 months of their discharge in order to be considered for a possible skills test waiver. They must also have a good driving record for the 2-year period immediately preceding their application date. (See the CDL-Sk TST WVR waiver form for specific violation information and requirements by visiting the FMCSA website.
- The applicants Commanding Officer must complete the CDL-SK TST WVR form and certify that the service member is/was assigned in a job assignment requiring the operation of a CMV and that their driving experience has been verified. They will also verify the type of military vehicle operated by the service member to determine the appropriate CDL license classification they are permitted to obtain (class A or B only) as well as any possible license restrictions for air brake equipped vehicles and/or a restricted A CDL (no tractor trailers).
- The applicant must pass the vision and any appropriate CDL knowledge test(s). The waiver only applies to CDL License Classes A and B.
When you go to the MVA be sure to bring with you the following:
- Maryland noncommercial class C license or higher or your valid Maryland CDL.
- Valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (DOT card). An unaltered photographic copy of the DOT card is acceptable. If required, you must also present a valid state or federal waiver/exemption. See CDL Medical/Physical Requirements for more information.
- Glasses or contact lenses, if needed, or a completed and signed Vision Screening Form unless your vision provider has completed a vision examination within the past 12 months and has electronically transmitted those results electronically to the MVA. See the Vision Screening Requirements for more information.
- U.S. Photo Military Identification Card (if applicable).
- U.S. Military Operators Permit (if applicable)
- CDL-SK TST WVR Application For Military Skills Test Waiver (completed by applicant & commanding officer). Waiver form must be presented to the MVA within 12 months of their discharge if the applicant has been discharged.
The Customer Agent will:
- Take your photograph. See MVA’s Photo Guidelines.
- Review the documents that you have brought with you.
- Give you a vision screening or scan your Vision Screening Form (form DL-043A) unless your vision provider has completed a vision examination within the previous 12 months and they have electronically submitted those examination results to the MVA and;
- Verify that you meet all eligibility requirements (includes reviewing your driving record for disqualifying violations as listed on the CDL-SK TST WVR application.
- Have you sign the application. See MVA’s Signature Guidelines.
- You will then be required to pass the required knowledge tests.
- When you are finished, the Customer Agent will pick up your current license, collect the fee owed and issue your Maryland CDL.
Note: Inform the Customer Agent if your vision provider has electronically submitted your vision results to the MVA.
Maryland Commercial Driver's License Endorsements: If you would like additional information on adding an endorsement onto your CDL license, please click here.
- There is a fee for a CDL.
- If the customer holds a valid commercial learner’s permit, there is no additional fee since it was included in the permit fee.
Veteran Status Code:
Effective January 1, 2013 if you are able to present certain United States Military Veteran documentation (original or certified copy issued by the appropriate department/agency) certifying your veteran status you may apply to add a “W” restriction code indicating that you are a U.S. Veteran onto your Maryland driver’s license or identification card (ID card). You can add this “W” restriction code when you are processed for a license or ID card Renewal, Correction or New product.
- In choosing to add this code to the driver’s license or ID card, you consent to being contacted by the appropriate Executive Branch agencies regarding your eligibility for State or Federal Veteran’s benefits.
- “Veteran” means an individual who served on active duty in the armed forces of the United States, other than for training, and was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.
- If you do not have one of the below acceptable proof of veteran status documents indicating a discharge or release under conditions other than dishonorable, you will need to contact the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) Service Office to obtain documentation verifying your status as a veteran. You may call 1-800-446-4926 or visit the MDVA website at http://www.mdva.state.md.us/about/serviceProgram.html for information and assistance.
The acceptable proof of veteran status documents are:
- DD-214 Military Discharge Certificate, or;
- Honorable Discharge Certificate, or;
- Letter from U.S. Military Center in St. Louis, Missouri, or;
- Letter from the Maryland Veterans Administration Service Program
The acceptable documents must show the Veteran status as:
- Honorable, or;
- General, or;
- General Under Honorable Conditions, or;
- Discharged or Released under conditions other than Dishonorable
Fee: There is a fee if the applicant chooses to add or remove this designation onto their license or ID card as a correction.
Removal of the "Air Brake" "L" Restriction
If the CDL license holder has a valid license and they wish to remove the "L" No Air Brake Vehicle license restriction they must:
- Pass the Air Brake law test and obtain a CDL Learner's Permit
- Retain the Learner's Permit for at least 14 days
- Schedule a skills test and provide a representative vehicle (same class as CDL license currently held) for testing with a proper accompanying driver
- Pass a modified Pre-Trip and On-Road skills test
- Obtain a corrected CDL license removing the "L" restriction
For individuals who are removing the "L" restriction from the same class of license they currently hold, the following modified pre-trip inspection is required on the Air Brake components. The applicant must check and describe the following components:
The Pre-Trip inspection will be timed to a maximum of 20 minutes
- Air Compressor
- Slack Adjuster & Push Rod
- Brake Chambers
- Brake Hose/Lines
- Perform inside the vehicle Air Brake Check
- Class "A" vehicles will also have to inspect the Air/Electrical Lines from Tractor & Air/Electrical connections to the trailer
- All of these items with the exception of hose/lines and air/electric lines, air/electric connections for class "A" are noted on the pre-trip inspection sheet by an *.
- If the applicant holds a restricted class "A" CDL ("O" No Tractor Trailers) they are required to provide the proper class "B" truck and trailer combination for the tests. The trailer is not required to have air brakes as long as the truck does.
- The applicant MUST get a 100% score on the pre-trip or it is an automatic failure.
- The examiner should also be quietly looking at the test vehicle(s) during the pre-trip for defective equipment (bad tires, leaks, broken lights, etc.) that might otherwise disqualify the vehicle.
Once the applicant has successfully completed the pre-trip inspection, a public On Road test will be administered and is scored normally. Because the applicant is not upgrading their license class the On-Course skills test maneuvers are not required.
If the individual is also upgrading to a higher class license (or removing the "O" No Tractor Trailer restriction), they must complete a full Pre-Trip, On Course skills test maneuvers and the On Road skills test.
Removal of the "Except Tractor Trailer" "O" Restriction
If the CDL class “A” license holder has a valid license and they wish to remove the “O” Except Tractor trailer license restriction they must:
- Obtain a class “A” learner’s permit
- Retain the Learner’s Permit for at least 14 days
- Schedule a skills test and provide a tractor trailer vehicle for testing with a proper accompanying driver
- Pass a complete full Pre-Trip, On-Course and On-Road skills tests
- Obtain a new CDL removing the “O” restriction
- There is a fee for a CDL Learner's Permit.
Driver Services Division
6601 Ritchie Highway, NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062
For telephone questions:
MVA Customer Service Center: