If you live in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut, learn the guideline for getting your Commercial Driver's License (CDL) below. For information regarding other states, TheJobNetwork has published a very comprehensive guide on how to apply for a CDL in all states.
To apply for a Commercial Driver License (CDL), you must have a New York state driver license (Class D, Class E, or Non-CDL C) or a valid CDL from another state. When you apply for an original NYS CDL (Class A, B, or C) you must:
- Certify you have not held a driver’s license in any state except New York or in the District of Columbia in the last 10 years or
- Report every state (or the District of Columbia) where you have held a driver’s license in the last 10 years
- Prove your legal presence in the United States
If you are not U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, your CLP or CDL document will have “NON-DOMICILED” printed on documents issued on it. The “TEMPORARY VISITOR” and the expiration date of your legal status documentation will continue to be displayed on the CLP and/or CDL document.
The DMV will check for any open suspensions or revocations you may have in any state; your application will be rejected if you have an open suspension or revocation.
What do I need to do to get a CDL?
- Obtain the New York State Commercial Driver's Manual (CDL-10), which will have a section covering the type of CDL you need describing the classes, restrictions, and endorsements of CDLs.
- Apply for a CLP at a DMV office. You must pass the written CDL test for your vehicle. There is $10.00 application fee, which allows you to take all written tests (knowledge and endorsement) required for your desired permit and license. There is a $40.00 fee to take the CDL road test (skills test), which you must pay before you can schedule your road test.
- Prepare for your road test and practice with a supervising driver who has a license valid to drive the commercial motor vehicle you use for practice.
- Schedule your road test using the Road Test Scheduling System; you must wait at least 14 days from being issued a CLP. If you do not pass the road test, you must pay $40.00 before you can schedule another road test.
The following CDL restrictions may affect CLP holders taking a Skills Test in a vehicle without full airbrakes and/or a manual transmission:
- E—No Manual Transmission Equipped CMV
- L—No Airbrake Equipped CMV
- Z—No Full Airbrake Equipped CMV restrictions
If the vehicle used for your skills test has:
- An automatic transmission, and CDL, and this is your first road test in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), you will be given an E restriction.
- No form of airbrakes and this is your first road test in a CMV, you will be given an L restriction.
- Air over hydraulic brakes and this is your first road test in a CMV, you will be given a Z.
If you have a CDL with an L restriction and you test in a vehicle with air over hydraulic brakes, you will be upgraded from an L to a Z restriction.
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a basic New Jersey driver license (Class D)
- Have 20/40 vision in each eye (with or without glasses)
- Be able to recognize the colors red, green, and amber
- Be physically fit. Federal law requires commercial drivers to carry a medical examiner's fitness statement at all times and renew it every two years.
After preparing for the exam, you will visit your local MVC Agency. You will be asked to:
- Pass the 6-Point ID Verification
- Present a Social Security card for an initial commercial permit
- Pay $125 CDL permit fee (non-refundable)
- Take the CDL knowledge test and the CDL road test, as required
Note: CDL applicants under 21 years old may only travel within New Jersey and may not receive HAZMAT or passenger endorsements.
The following do not need a CDL:
- Taxi drivers (carrying less than eight passengers) and ride-sharing van drivers
- Operators of rescue or first-aid squad vehicles
- Farmers hauling their own products and equipment within 150 miles of their farms
- Non-civilian operators of military equipment
- Operators of construction equipment not designed for operation on public roads
- Operators of recreational vehicles, provided the vehicle is being operated only for personal use
The Connecticut road test includes pre-trip inspection, an off-road course, and a road test.
To obtain a Connecticut CDL, you must complete a written exam. The written exam is given on a walk-in basis at select DMV offices. To prepare , study the Connecticut Commercial Vehicle Operator's Manual.
You will need to bring the following items with you to the DMV office on your testing day:
- A CT driver's license
- A Social Security card or your most recent W-2 form.
- A physical examination dated within the last 2 years, reported on by a physician on an Examination to Determine Physical Condition of Driver form or a Medical Examination Report (Form 649-F)
- A completed Application for Commercial Driver's License (Form CDL R-229a).
- Printed confirmation of notice of self-certification with the DMV
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