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THE VIRGINIA CDL COURSE PACKAGE COVERS EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO PASS THE VIRGINIA CDL WRITTEN AND SKILLS TESTS FOR ALL CLASSES OF VIRGINIA CDL AND ALL AVAILABLE VIRGINIA CDL ENDORSEMENTS.
VIRGINIA CDL Information
Specific Virginia CDL Information

Applying for a Virginia Commercial Driver's License or Virginia CDL Instruction Permit

A commercial driver's license (CDL) allows you to operate a commercial vehicle in Virginia and possibly other states, depending on your qualifications. To obtain a Virginia CDL or CDL instruction permit in Virginia, you must meet all requirements for a Virginia driver's license.

You must apply for your CDL or CDL instruction permit in person at a Virginia DMV customer service center. For additional information about CDL licensing, please refer to CDL classifications, endorsements and restrictions.

Age Requirements

You must be at least at 18 to obtain an intrastate CDL and age 21 to obtain a CDL.

Identification and Residency Requirements

Each time you apply for a Virginia CDL or Virginia CDL instruction permit and DMV records show you have not held a Virginia driver's license or ID card in the past, you must present documents proving your identification and residency.

Use the interactive Document Guide to determine which documents you will need to bring to DMV when you apply.

Documents accepted by Virginia DMV as proof of identity, legal presence, Virginia residency and social security number may change without prior notice.

You may hold either a driver's license or a CDL, but not both. If you hold a license of any kind, you are not eligible for an ID card.

Medical Certification Requirements

All Virginia CDL applicants must certify either that they are in compliance with the federal and Virginia motor carrier safety regulations or that they do not have to comply with them. You may refer to the Code of Federal Regulations for an explanation of these requirements or refer to Medical Certification Requirements.

If you must meet the federal or Virginia motor carrier safety regulations, you must provide a valid Department of Transportation Medical Examiner's Certificate. This form should be completed by a licensed medical examiner.

Completing the Virginia CDL Application

When applying for a Virginia CDL or Virginia CDL instruction permit, you must complete an application for a Virginia driver's license (form DL 1P). You may complete this form before or after coming to DMV. Use your full legal name, as abbreviations and nicknames will not be accepted. For your convenience, you also may apply to register to vote, change your voter registration address, or indicate your desire to become an organ donor when you apply for your CDL.

Falsifying information on any driver's license or identification card application is a criminal offense. Altering or assisting a person with improperly or fraudulently obtaining a driver's license, learner's permit, CDL, CDL instruction permit or ID card are also criminal offenses.

HAZMAT Endorsement

Applicants for a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HAZMAT) must be fingerprinted for a background check. The non-refundable fee is $83.00.

Applicants using Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) comparability for a reduced fee hazardous materials (HAZMAT) endorsement do not have to be fingerprinted. The non-refundable fee is $41.00.

Duration of a Virginia CDL or Virginia CDL Instruction Permit

Normally, your Virginia CDL is valid for eight years and expires on your birthday. Your first license will expire on your birthday in the eighth year of license validity.

Individuals required to register with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry (Virginia Code Chapter 9 of Title 9.1) (Registry) will be issued licenses valid for five years. They are not eligible for a Virginia commercial driver's license/instruction permit with an "S" endorsement during any period in which registration with the Registry is required. In addition, they are also not eligible for a Virginia CDL or CDL instruction permit with a "P" endorsement unless it bears a restriction code prohibiting the driver from transporting children for school and/or daycare activities.

For many individuals authorized to be in the U.S. temporarily, a CDL will be valid only for the amount of time that the individual is legally permitted to stay in the U.S. These individuals will not be eligible to receive a limited duration CDL if their authorized stay in the U.S. is less than 30 days from the date of their application. The expiration of the CDL will be the same as the expiration date shown on the document used to prove legal presence. If the document does not show an expiration date, the CDL will be valid for one year.

CDL instruction permits expire in one year and are not renewable. Individuals authorized to be in the U.S. temporarily for up to one year receive a CDL instruction permit with the same expiration date shown on the document used to prove legal presence. For customers legally permitted to stay in the U.S. longer than one year, the expiration date of the CDL instruction permit is valid for one year.

Virginia CDL Fees

Commercial driver's license fees are based on how long your license will be valid (refer to the Virginia DMV Fee Chart for details). A standard CDL with no endorsements costs $64.00 and is valid for 8 years.

Endorsement(s) cost an additional $1.00 per year. A Virginia CDL instruction permit (CIP) costs $3.00.

Virginia CDL Testing

Tests may include a vision screening, Virginia CDL knowledge exams and a Virginia CDL road skills test. You may also need to take the two-part driver's license knowledge exam. A Virginia DMV representative will tell you which tests you need to take.

Virginia CDL Knowledge Exams

Virginia CDL General Test Information

The knowledge exams determine your familiarity with the operation of commercial vehicles, motor vehicle laws and safe driving techniques. Exam questions are taken from the information in the Virginia Commercial Driver's Manual, which is available at all Virginia DMV customer service centers.

To prepare for the knowledge exam, familiarize yourself with all information in the Virginia Commercial Driver's Manual and take the Commercial Driver's License exam online.

To pass the exam, you must answer at least 80% of the general knowledge questions correctly. When taking the knowledge exams, select one best answer. Once you pass the required knowledge exams, you can take the Virginia CDL skills tests.

The Virginia CDL knowledge exams are given in English or Spanish on a computer (except the Hazardous Materials exam, given only in English).

You may take the Virginia CDL knowledge exam(s) only once per business day. If you fail any knowledge exam, you must pay a $2 re-examination fee if you retake the exam within 15 days. If you use a cell phone while taking an exam, the exam will be terminated and you must wait until the next day to re-test.

Three-Time Failure If you fail the general knowledge exam three times at a customer service center, you must complete the classroom portion of a Virginia approved Driver Training School program for commercial motor vehicles and bring the certificate of completion to a customer service center to satisfy eligibility requirements for re-examination. You must have completed the course after the date of the third exam failure.

Notice - It is unlawful to: Virginia CDL Skills Test Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to take the Virginia CDL skills tests, you must:

Virginia Commercial Driver License (CDL) Skills Tests

The Virginia CDL skills tests consists of a pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control, and on-road driving. Make sure to review the Virginia CDL Skills Test Eligibility Requirements prior to taking the test.

You must take the skills test in the type of vehicle in which you want to be licensed. Translators cannot be used.

A Virginia DMV representative administers the skills tests in a vehicle provided by you that is in safe working condition. The vehicle must have a valid safety inspection sticker, license plates, local decals as required, registration card and working brakes, safety belts, horn, lights, turn signals, mirrors and speedometer.

Only the applicant and the Virginia DMV representative are allowed in the vehicle during the road skills test. The test may be taken only once per business day.

Scheduling a Virginia CDL Test Appointment

To schedule an appointment for a CDL skills test, select your nearest Virginia Customer Service Center for contact information. The approximate time required to take the 3-part skills test is 90 minutes.

Missed Test Appointments

Virginia DMV will charge a $50 fee for any missed CDL skills test appointment. You are encouraged to advise test examiners in advance if you are unable to make your scheduled appointment. If you fail to notify the examiner, DMV will bill you for the $50 fee.

You will have 31 days to pay any missed appointment fee. If you do not pay within 31 days, you will be charged a $10 administrative fee and lose the ability to process any Virginia DMV-related transactions. Unpaid bills will be subject to further collection efforts and may be reported to the Virginia Department of Taxation.

Three-Time Failure - If you fail the road skills test three times at a customer service center, you must complete the in-vehicle portion of a Virginia approved Driver Training School program for commercial motor vehicles and bring the certificate of completion to a customer service center to satisfy eligibility requirements for re-examination. You must have completed the course after the date of the third exam failure.

Receiving Your Virginia CDL License

Once you pass your required testing, your Virginia CDL or Virginia CDL instruction permit will be mailed to the address in DMV's records. DMV has converted to a new secure process for issuing driver's licenses and ID cards, and has discontinued issuing them over the counter. The U.S. Postal Service will not forward driver's licenses, so make sure that Virginia DMV has your current, correct address on record. If you have moved, notify Virginia DMV right away.

Virginia CDL Written Knowledge Tests
You will need to pass the Virginia Knowledge Tests that are required for the class of license, restriction, and endorsements you wish to possess. A general knowledge test for the Class A or Class B and C license must be successfully completed by all CDL applicants. The information needed to pass these tests is contained in the FREE Virginia CDL Handbook. Please read and study this manual carefully.

Classes of Virginia CDL and Required Tests

CDL Class Tests Required Possible Endorsements and Required Tests
Class A
(Combination
vehicle endorsement required)

General Knowledge Written Exam

Combination Endorsement Written Exam

Road Exam

H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
T - Doubles/Triples Written Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam
Class B

General Knowledge Written Exam

Road Exam

H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam
Class C

General Knowledge Written Exam

Road Exam

Note: If upgrading to a Class C from a Class D, no road test is required UNLESS the endorsement requires one.
H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam

Virginia CDL Endorsements

Exam Time Allowed (Minutes) # of Questions on Exam # of Correct Answers Needed to Pass
General Knowledge 60 50 40
Air Brakes 25 25 20
HazMat 30 30 24
Tank 20 20 16
Passenger 20 20 16
Doubles/Triples 20 20 16
Combination Vehicles 20 20 16
School Bus 20 20 16

For the most complete and accurate official Virginia state CDL information, go to the Official Virginia CDL Website.

What is a CDL?
A "CDL" is a Commercial Drivers License. It meets certain minimum "standards" that are the same for every state. It differs from the Virginia "operator's" or "chauffeur's" licenses. It is required if you drive certain kinds of commercial trucks or buses.

What is the COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT OF 1986 (CMVSA/86) administered by the FMCSA?
It is a law passed by the United States Congress which requires ALL the individual states to comply with certain standards in regards to the licensing of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. Virginia driver licensing standards comply with the law, requiring CMV drivers to obtain a Virginia Commercial Driver's License (CDL) when driving applicable trucks and buses. A CDL license can ONLY be issued in the driver's STATE OF LEGAL RESIDENCE, and if you have a CDL, you can have NO OTHER DRIVER'S LICENSE in ANY other state.

When do I need a Virginia CDL instead of my regular Virginia Drivers License?
A Virginia CDL is required if you operate any of the following CMV's . . .
1. A vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 lbs.
2. A vehicle towing a unit with a manufacturer's GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs. when the GCWR exceeds 26,000 lbs.
3. A vehicle used to . . .(a.) carry 15 or more passengers (excluding the driver), or (b.) carry (15) or less people (including the driver) when carrying children to or from school and home regularly for compensation.
4. A vehicle carrying hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding.

What are the eligibility requirements to obtain a Virginia CDL?
1. You must be 21 years old. (18 years if all commercial driving is done within Virginia and if no hazardous materials requiring placarding are transported and if you do not drive double or triple trailer rigs).
2. You must be physically capable (in accordance with the MCSR 49 CFR 391.41 Physical Qualifications for Drivers regulations) of obtaining a valid DOT medical examiner's card (before being issued a CDL permit or taking any CDL skills test).
3. You must otherwise qualify for the license based on your driving record. Any of the following will disqualify you from obtaining a Virginia CDL . . .
* If you possess a license from any state other than Virginia.
* If you are currently subject to any disqualification of your commercial driving privilege from Virginia or any other state.
* If your license is currently suspended, revoked, denied, or cancelled.
* If you have a conviction for operating a commercial motor vehicle while impaired in the 24 months immediately preceding application.
* other technical rules, and further restrictions that pertain only to Virginia are covered in detail within the Course.

How do I obtain a Virginia CDL?
1. Show your Virginia driver license.
2. You must take and pass all Virginia examinations that apply to your license class and endorsement requirements.
3. Show proof of social security number.
4. Meet Virginia driver record eligibility requirements as determined by the State.
5. Fill out an application including certifications.
6. Provide a DOT medical certificate and pass the required CDL knowledge and vision tests (BEFORE a CDL Temporary Instruction Permit will be issued).
7. Pay the Virginia CDL fees.
8. Schedule, take, and pass your Virginia CDL skills test.

A separate booklet is included in the Virginia CDL Course package which covers information such as fees, locations, contacts, procedures and other items specific to Virginia for the written and skills examinations for ALL classes of CDL and ALL available endorsements.

What is a CDL "Skills Test" and how do I take it?
A "skills" test is the practical portion of the exam and includes . . .
1. A vehicle inspection test to measure your ability to perform a vehicle safety check.
2. A basic control skills test.
3. A driving test.
The skills test is normally given at an approved third party testing site in your area. This can vary and the latest procedures are indicated in the Virginia CDL Course.

So let's say I get a Virginia CDL. Can I use it Out-of-State?
Yes! It is good throughout the entire United States.

Can my Virginia CDL be suspended or revoked?
Yes, there are MANY reasons that your Virginia CDL can be suspended or revoked. Improper use of alcohol or drugs, traffic violations, and failure to notify top the list. The Course details ALL of the rules regarding suspension or revocation. The point to remember is that alcohol or drug use is not tolerated and your record WILL FOLLOW YOU THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES FOREVER!!!

So let's say that my Virginia CDL is revoked. Can't I just apply for a CDL in another State?
No!!! Those days are gone.

Are there any exemptions to being required to have Virginia CDL?
Yes, a few . . .
1. Active Duty Military . . . with military licenses operating military vehicles.
2. Firefighters . . . meeting approved training standards and operating authorized emergency vehicles.
3. Farmers . . . in certain cases.
4. Individuals ....operating motor homes or other vehicles used exclusively to transport personal possessions or family members, for non business purposes.

What do the terms Class A, Class B, and Class C mean on my Virginia CDL?
It refers to the type of vehicle that you may operate . . .
CLASS A . . . allows you to operate vehicles which tow trailers or other vehicles with a GVWR over 10,000 pounds. A Class "A" license also allows you to operate Class B and C vehicles.
CLASS B . . . allows you to operate single vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs or more OR a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more, towing trailers/vehicles rated at 10,000 pounds GVWR or less. A Class "B" license also allows you to operate Class C vehicles.
CLASS C . . .allows you to operate vehicles under 26,001 lbs. GVWR, that would normally not require a CDL; except when they are designed to transport 16 or more persons including the driver; or that carry 15 or less people (including the driver) transporting children to or from school and home regularly for compensation, or carry hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding. Applicable endorsements are required.

What are Endorsement Codes and when do I need them on my Virginia CDL?
Endorsements are necessary for certain commercial driving requirements as follows . . .
(T) DOUBLE or TRIPLE TRAILERS.
(P) PASSENGER. For vehicles which are designed to carry 16 or more people (including the driver); or those which carry 15 or less people (including the driver) transporting children to or from school and home regularly for compensation.
(N) TANK VEHICLES. For vehicles designed to haul liquids or liquefied gases in bulk in permanently mounted tanks or portable tanks rated at 1,000 gallons or more.
(H) HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. To carry hazardous materials in amounts requiring placards.
(X) Endorsement code designating a Tank (N) vehicle that carries Hazardous Materials (H).

I'm over 18 years old, but not 21 years old yet. Can I get a Virginia CDL license?
Yes . . . with restrictions. You are limited to INTRAstate driving of commercial vehicles (you cannot drive a commercial truck or bus out of Virginia). You cannot drive a vehicle requiring HAZ MAT placarding, cannot drive double or triple trailer rigs and cannot drive a School Bus with children on board until you turn 21 years of age.

We could go on and on with FAQs but I hope this covers most of your GENERAL questions. Please be assured that the Course answers EVERYTHING that you need to know to obtain ANY or ALL of the available CDL licenses and endorsements in an easy to understand manner. The material is presented in three different ways to reinforce your retention. GOOD LUCK !!

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