What is the procedure for obtaining a commercial learner’s permit?
The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) is now printing/mailing one of the most secure driver’s licenses, learner’s permits and identification (ID) cards in the nation. All cards are now delivered through the mail within 7-10 business days. The new cards incorporate cutting-edge security features to help protect against identity theft and fraud. The new cards also meet all state and federal standards and are REAL ID compliant. As always, we encourage customers to Skip the Trip and renew their driver’s license or ID card via web, kiosk and mail. The MVA’s online services can be found here. Much more information on our new secure cards, including how to expedite delivery of the new products, can be found here.
First, gather the documents that you will need to present to the MVA:
- Maryland driver’s license (motorcycle and provisional licenses are not accepted)
- If you have a Limited Term-“T” restricted driver’s license, you may apply for a commercial learner’s permit as long as you reside in Maryland, and can provide the following federally-required documents:
- Unexpired employment authorization documents (EAD), form I-766; or
- Unexpired foreign passport with current admission stamp and/or I-94.
The MVA has received guidance from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) that a Mexican or Canadian national with an Employment Authorization Document may not obtain a non- domiciled CDL. In order to obtain a CDL, in accordance with federal regulation 49 CFR Sections 383.71 9 (f) and 383.73(f), Mexican and Canadian nationals will have to obtain documentation of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residence. The list of acceptable documentation includes the following:
- U.S. Passport
- U.S. Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization
- Consular report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)
- Certified copy of a birth certificate filed with a U.S. State Office of Vital Statistics or equivalent agency in the individual’s state of birth, including Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
- Permanent Resident Card
- Your Social Security number (card may be required)
- Proof of your age.
- If you need an unrestricted learner’s permit (enables you to drive across state lines) – you must be at least 21 years old.
- If you only need to drive in Maryland (i.e., permit with an intrastate only restriction) – you must be at least 18 years old and you cannot have any passengers or HAZMAT endorsements.
- 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).
Second, visit any MVA full-service branch office; no appointment is needed. An MVA driver licensing agent 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
- Verify that you meet all eligibility requirements.
- Have you sign the application. See the MVA signature guidelines.
You will then 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 who will collect the fee owed, and issue your commercial learner’s permit.
Because Maryland participates in the one license/permit for one person program, if the applicant has a driver's license, issued in Maryland with a photo, the learner's permit for which one is applying is produced without a photo.
However, if you have an out-of-country driver's license that has been expired for over one year, and apply for a Maryland learner's permit, it will be issued with a photo.
For more information about obtaining a commercial driver's learner's permit, please click here.
- 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: