How to Apply for a Maryland Commercial Driver Learner’s Permit
You do not need to make an appointment to start the process, but please bring proof of your age, identity, and Maryland residence with you when you come to the MVA. Please refer to sources of proof for the required documentation.
A commercial driver license holder with a HAZMAT endorsement must undergo a criminal background check, including a fingerprint process. (U.S.A. Patriot Act).
Drivers of heavy trucks, buses and vehicles placarded for hazardous materials must have a special commercial driver's license with proper endorsements. Vehicles over 26,000 lbs., buses designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver, all school buses, mobile cranes, uncoupled tractors (i.e., bob tails), and most tow trucks are included.
- You must be 18 years old to obtain a learner's permit for an intrastate commercial driver’s license, 21 years of age for an interstate one. In addition, you must also have a full Maryland driver's license (not a motorcycle license).
- You may be required to provide documented proof of your social security number. Your name must match the Social Security Administration’s records to be verified by their files. If you change your name, you must update your file with the Social Security Administration (not at the MVA) and it may take a minimum of 48 hours or longer for them to update their records with your name change.
- You must pass a vision screening and knowledge test.
- Out-of-state learner's permits cannot be exchanged for a Maryland learner's permit or license.
- A valid U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) physical card and a valid intrastate or interstate waiver/exemption if required. The Medical Examination Report for DOT physical card information is downloadable. The CDL Medical Waiver Information Packet for an intrastate or interstate waiver is also available.
In Maryland, all commercial driving (CDL) applicants are required to present valid Med Cert documentation (DOT card, skills performance evaluation, waiver exemption, etc.) whether they are applying for a new license or they are renewing, duplicating or correcting a commercial driver’s license. Commercial drivers are also required to submit updated Med Cert documentation to the MVA for the duration of their license. In addition, all commercial drivers are required to "self-certify" regarding the type of commercial driving they will be doing (dependent on type of commerce and/or their medical qualifications). Unless one visits an MVA office and obtains a new, renewed, duplicate or corrected CDL, the self-certification form, Driving Certification for Maryland Commercial Driver’s License Holders (DL-330) must be completed and submitted each time a new DOT Physical Card is submitted to the MVA, along with the waiver/exemption if required.
If you already hold a learner’s permit and want to obtain a new one, you must reapply and provide the same documents you initially provided. You will also be required to pay the fee and retake the vision screening and knowledge test. Please refer to sources of proof for the required documentation.
For more information on adding an endorsement to your Maryland commercial driver's license, please click here. Or call 1-410-424-3635.
Waiver of the Commercial Driver’s License Skills Test
To assist veterans and active duty personnel who are transitioning to a civilian career, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) adopted regulations that expedite the licensing process for a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration will waive the CDL skills test requirements for a class A or B commercial license for veterans who have been discharged within the previous 12 months and active duty personnel, who meet specific criteria.
The applicants must:
- have a good driving record.
- have a valid Maryland class C (non-provisional) non-commercial driver’s license, or higher.
- have 2 years of driving experience operating a military motor vehicle as part of their job function. The vehicle must represent the commercial motor vehicle that the individual expects to operate after discharge from the military.
- the commanding officer certifies the service member’s years of operating the military vehicle as well as the type of vehicle operated.
- must pass the required CDL vision and knowledge tests. The skills test waiver only applies to CDL driver’s licenses for classes A and B.
- must provide the MVA with a valid U.S. Department of Transportation physical card and an exemption or waiver if required.
For additional information please visit the FMCSA’s website:
Veteran Code on Your Driver’s License or Identification Card
If you present an original or a certified copy of your veteran status with the United States Military, you may apply for a "W" status code on your license. The code indicates that you are a United States veteran on your Maryland driver's license or identification (ID) card and makes you eligible for certain benefits. You can add the "W" restriction code when you are processed for a new license, ID card, renewal, or correction. A fee is charged if the code is being added or removed on a driver’s license or ID card as a correction.
1. With the veteran’s code, you consent to being contacted by the appropriate executive branch agencies regarding your eligibility for state or federal veteran benefits.
2. "Veteran" means an individual who served in the armed forces of the United States, other than for training, and was discharged or released honorably.
3. If you do not have acceptable proof of veteran status (listed below), you will need to contact the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) service office to obtain the 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:
1. DD214 Military Discharge Certificate, or;
2. Honorable Discharge Certificate, or;
3. Letter for the U.S. Military Center in St. Louis, Missouri, or;
4. Letter from the Maryland Veterans Administration Service Program
The documents must show the veteran status as:
1. Honorable, or;
2. General, or;
3. General under honorable conditions, or;
4. Discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable
Renewing Your Commercial Driver’s License
A renewal notice will be mailed to your last address of record with the MVA, 60 days prior to the expiration of your commercial driver’s license. It will not be forwarded to a new address if you have moved. Remember, Maryland law requires you to report address changes to the MVA within 30 days. Commercial drivers must apply in person and obtain a corrected license, unless they are eligible to renew and renew within the 30 day period. Obtain a Change of Address form (VR-154) at any MVA office, online or the form may be mailed to you if you call the MVA Customer Service Center at 1-410-768-7000.
A Maryland commercial driver's license can only be renewed at full-service MVA offices. Please bring your expiring license, a valid U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) physical card and a valid intrastate or interstate waiver/ exemption if required and:
- You must pass a vision screening or submit a vision certification form.
- To renew a Maryland commercial driver’s license with a Hazardous materials endorsement, you must pass the HAZMAT test. The test is written or automated, and given only in English. Tests are administered Mon. - Fri., 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM and Sat. 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM. You must also receive a TSA threat assessment of "O." The U.S.A. Patriot Act requires all commercial driver license holders with a HAZMAT endorsement to undergo a criminal background check, including a fingerprint process, even if they had previously completed one.
- You must have a valid medical examiner's certificate, DOT Card DL-171 (or a comparable card) and a CDL waiver/exemption if required to operate interstate or intrastate.
- You may be required to provide documented proof of your social security number.
- A commercial driver's license fee is required and an additional fee for the commercial driver licensing information system surcharge.
There is also a fee charged by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) for the Hazmat background record check. The state and federal fingerprint/background checks and the TSA processing fee is $88.75. The DPSCS only accepts checks, money orders, Master Card, Visa and Discover credit cards. Checks and money orders must be made payable to the “CJIS Central Repository.” Cash is not accepted.
Note: The Salisbury office does not currently accept Discover credit cards.
Commercial Driver’s License Skills Testing
You must schedule an appointment to take the driving skills test, please click here or call the MVA Customer Service Center at 1-410-768-7000. Hearing impaired customers, please call 1-800-492-4545.
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.
Passenger and school bus operators are not authorized for a waiver for interstate or intrastate operation.
The time limit for the pre-trip inspection will be 45 minutes.
The time limit for the skills maneuver test will be 10 minutes per maneuver.
The Commercial Driver's License Manual provides the instruction and general information needed to prepare for the commercial driver’s licensing tests.
The School Bus Endorsement Study Guide (section 10) provides the information needed for the testing of school bus skills.
Intrastate Non-Commercial Driver Information
If you are a Maryland non-commercial driver operating a commercial motor vehicle within the State of Maryland (intrastate) and the vehicle weighs 10,001 and up to 26,000 pounds, you are required to have a valid Federal Motor Carrier (DOT) Physical Card (DL-171) physical card in your possession. If you were licensed before October 1, 2003, have a preexisting medical condition, and the onset was prior to 10/01/03, you will be exempt from the requirement for a 20-year period, provided your preexisting condition does not worsen. You are still required to maintain a DOT physical.
Out-of State Commercial Driver’s License Training Schools and Temporary Commercial Driver’s Licenses
A temporary commercial driver’s license, issued by another state or jurisdiction, cannot be converted or transferred into a Maryland commercial driver’s license. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) does not issue temporary commercial driver’s licenses nor does it recognize temporary commercial driver’s licenses issued by other states, the District of Columbia, or Canada.
It is highly recommended that you contact the commercial driver’s license training school before you attend any training to find out what type of commercial driver’s license you will be eligible to receive. Unfortunately, many applicants complete out-of-state licensing processes and are issued temporary commercial driver’s licenses that they cannot convert to a Maryland commercial driver’s license. They can only receive a Maryland non-commercial driver's license.
A temporary commercial driver’s license is usually issued when a driver's license applicant attends an out-of-state commercial driver’s license training school and is tested and certified by that school or the jurisdiction’s department of motor vehicles. Because the majority of the new commercial drivers are not residents of that issuing jurisdiction, most of the commercial driver’s licenses that are issued by the jurisdiction are valid for only 30 - 90 days.
To obtain a Maryland commercial driver’s license (CDL), one must start the process in Maryland. A Maryland CDL is only obtained after one receives a CDL learner’s permit and passes the skills tests.
Commercial Driver’s License Name Changes
If your name is different from the name on your birth certificate, then you are required to provide the MVA with an original or certified copy of the document that changed your name (i.e. marriage certificate, divorce decree, court ordered name change, etc.). A cross-reference record will be created with the name on your birth certificate.
The MVA will only accept a certificate of marriage that has been certified and issued by that jurisdiction’s authority (i.e. department of vital records/statistics or local or state court system).
Same-sex marriages also require a certified copy of the marriage certificate be presented to the MVA if a name change is requested. The MVA also recognizes same-sex marriages and civil unions performed in other jurisdictions where they are legal.
Please click here to view frequently asked questions about obtaining a Maryland commercial driver’s license.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(Available in both English and Spanish)