Virginia CDL CDL
CDL Commercial Drivers License - Home Study Course
CDL License Test Prep
Virginia CDL License Test

VIRGINIA CDL LICENSE

Commercial Drivers License
CDL LICENSE Requirements
Home Study Course
For Tests Beginning November 1, 2017

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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.
  • If you are age 19 or older, you must show two proofs of identity, one proof of legal presence, one proof of Virginia residency, and proof of your social security number.
  • If you are under 19 years of age, you will be required to show one proof of identity, one proof of legal presence, one proof of Virginia residency, and proof of your social security number. http://wsdweb/drivers/applyingcdl.html

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:
  • Attempt to get or provide to others a copy of any knowledge exam or any questions or answers on the exams
  • Have assistance or assist others while taking an exam
  • Have unauthorized possession of an examination or exam answers.
Virginia CDL Skills Test Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to take the Virginia CDL skills tests, you must:
  • Meet the minimum age requirements:
    • At least 18 years of age for an intrastate Virginia CDL
    • At least 21 years of age for an interstate Virginia CDL
  • Hold a valid Virginia driver's license. In addition, your driving privileges must not be currently suspended or revoked by any licensing jurisdiction.
  • Have successfully completed all applicable Virginia CDL knowledge exams for the type of class and endorsement you wish to hold.
  • Pass the required vision screening for commercial drivers.
  • Provide a properly registered vehicle of the type you wish to drive for the on-road driving test.
  • For the type of vehicle you wish to drive, you must:
    • Have held a Virginia CDL instruction permit for a minimum of 30 days,
    • Provide evidence that you have previously held a CDL, OR
    • Provide a valid certification from a driver training school designed specifically for commercial drivers.
  • Be able to read and speak the English language sufficiently to:
    • Converse with the general public,
    • Understand highway traffic signs and signals,
    • Respond to official inquiries, AND
    • Make entries on reports and records.

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.
  • Class A - 70 Questions (50 GK + 20 Combination Vehicles) - Skills test required.
  • Class B - 50 Questions - Skills test required.
  • Class C - 50 Questions - Skills test required for bus, school bus and air brakes vehicles..
  • Passenger Endorsement - 20 questions - Skills test required in bus.
  • School Bus Endorsement - 25 questions - Skills test required in school bus.
  • Doubles/Triples Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Tank Vehicle Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Hazardous Materials Endorsement - 30 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Air Brake Restriction Removal - 25 questions - Additional skills test in vehicle with Air Brakes.

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 "standards" that are the same for every state. It differs from your Virginia "operator's" or "chauffeur's" licenses. It is required if you drive certain kinds of commercial vehicles either within Virginia or outside of Virginia.

WHAT IS THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT OF 1986 (CMVSA/86)?

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 Commercial Driver's License (CDL) when driving applicable vehicles. 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 CDL INSTEAD OF MY REGULAR VIRGINIA DRIVERS LICENSE?

A CDL is required if you operate any of the following CMV's . . .

  • A vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 lbs.
  • A vehicle towing a unit with a manufacturer's GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs. when the GCWR exceeds 26,000 lbs.
  • A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more persons (including the operator) or any vehicle carrying children to or from school and home regularly for compensation.
  • A vehicle of any size that carries hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding.

ARE THERE ANY EXEMPTIONS TO BEING REQUIRED TO HAVE A CDL?

Yes, a few . . .

  • Active Duty Military . . . with military licenses operating military vehicles.
  • Firefighters . . . meeting approved training standards and operating authorized emergency vehicles.
  • Farmers . . . in certain cases.
  • Individuals ....operating motor homes or other vehicles used exclusively to transport personal possessions or family members, for non business purposes.

ARE THERE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN A VIRGINIA CDL?

You must meet the following requirements to obtain a CDL . . .

  • 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).
  • Possess a valid medical certificate in accordance with MCSR 49 CFR 391.41.
  • You must otherwise qualify for the license based on your driving record. Any of the following will disqualify you from obtaining a CDL . . .
    • If you possess a license from any state other than your State of Residence.
    • If you are currently subject to any disqualification of your commercial driving privilege in Virginia or any other state.
    • If your license is currently suspended, revoked, denied, or cancelled.
    • If you have a conviction for operating a CMV (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.
      THERE ARE CURRENTLY NO APPRENTICESHIP OR TRAINING REQUIREMENTS TO GET YOUR VIRGINIA CDL. THIS MAY SOON CHANGE.

Access Official Federal CDL Medical Requirements Info

HOW DO I OBTAIN A CDL?

By completing the following items . . .

  • Show your driver's license from your State of Residence.
  • Take and pass all written examinations that apply to your license class and endorsement requirements.
  • Show proof of social security number.
  • Meet driver record eligibility requirements as determined by the State of Virginia.
  • Fill out an application including certifications.
  • Show proof that you passed the required written tests, pass a vision screening, and show proof of a valid DOT medical certificate (BEFORE a CDL Temporary Instruction Permit will be issued and before you will be allowed to the the skills test).
  • Pay the Virginia CDL fees.
  • Schedule, take, and pass your CDL skills test.

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

What do the terms Class A, Class B, and Class C mean on a 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 when the combined GVWR is over 26,000 pounds. A Class "A" license also allows you to operate Class B and C vehicles. Applicable endorsements are required.
  • 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. Applicable endorsements are required.
  • 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 CDL?

Endorsements are necessary for certain commercial driving requirements as follows . . .

  • AIR BRAKES endorsement for vehicles with air brakes.
  • (T) DOUBLE or TRIPLE TRAILERS. For tractors pulling two or three trailers.
  • (P) PASSENGER. For vehicles which are designed to carry 16 or more people (including the driver);
  • (S) SCHOOL BUS. Any vehicle 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).

Access Official Federal CDL Hazardous Materials Info

I'M OVER 18 YEARS OLDS, BUT NOT 21 YEARS OLD YET. CAN I GET A CDL?

Yes . . . with restrictions. Until your 21st birthday, you cannot drive a commercial vehicle outside the borders of Virginia. You cannot drive a vehicle requiring HAZ MAT placarding and cannot drive double or triple trailer rigs.

CAN I USE MY VIRGINIA CDL OUT OF STATE?

Yes! If you are 21 years or older it is good throughout the entire United States.

CAN MY CDL BE SUSPENDED OR REVOKED?

Yes, there are MANY reasons that your CDL can be suspended or revoked. Improper use of alcohol or drugs, traffic violations, and failure to notify top the list. The Virginia CDL 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 CDL IS REVOKED. CAN'T I JUST GET A CDL IN ANOTHER STATE?

No!!! Those days are gone. One computer system keeps track of all licenses THROUGHOUT the United States. In a matter of seconds it can be determined if you possess more than one license.

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