California CDL Requirements

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California CDL Requirements

Before you can begin the application and testing process for either your CDL or CLP, you will need to complete the following:

  • Obtain a California Noncommercial Class C driver's license, if you don't currently have one
  • Complete a commercial driver's license application
  • Visit your local DMV office
  • Complete a 10-year history record check form if you have been issued a driver's license in the same or different name to operate any type of motor vehicle in another state or jurisdiction within the past 10 years
  • Submit a completed medical examination report and medical examiner's certification form (these forms can be found on the FMCSA website)
  • Provide proof of your Social Security number, which will be verified while you are at the DMV
  • Verify your identity
  • Present acceptable residency documents. Your DMV office can provide a list of acceptable documents.
  • Pay the application fee, which is good for 12 months and allows you three attempts to pass each of the knowledge tests
  • Have your fingerprint scanned
  • Pass a vision exam
  • Have your photograph taken

When you have satisfied all of these requirements, you will be eligible to take the written knowledge tests. The State of California will issue your CLP when you have passed the knowledge tests. After a minimum of 14 days of holding your CLP, you are eligible to take the skills test to earn your CDL. To take the CDL skills test in California, you will need to make an appointment at your local DMV office and bring the type of vehicle you will be driving commercially to your exam. The skills test covers vehicle inspection, basic control skills and the road test. If you fail any of the skills test segments, the rest of the test will be postponed, and it will count as one failure toward your three allowed attempts. You can retest at a later date for a $35 retest fee. When you pass the test, you will be issued an interim CDL, which is valid for 90 days until you receive your official CDL in the mail.