Get a CDL

Follow these steps to get your first time New York State commercial driver license (CDL). If you already have a CDL, you can renew or replace your CDL. You can also download the Steps to get a Commercial Driver License Resource Guide (PDF) for reference. 

Step 1: Have a New York State driver license (Class D, Class E, or Non-CDL C) or a valid CDL from another state

Get the New York State Commercial Driver's Manual (CDL-10) online or from a DMV call center. Study the sections of the manual that apply to the type of CDL you need. The sections of the manual that you need to study are explained in the manual. The manual describes the classes, the restrictions, and the endorsements of CDLs. This information is also included on the Driver License Class Descriptions (PDF) (MV-500C).

Effective May 14, 2022, the vehicle and traffic law and the transportation law was amended to establish a commercial driver's license (CDL) class A young adult training program. Please visit Commercial Driver’s License Class A Young Adult Training Program for more information including who can participate, training requirements, FAQ’s and more. See the full text of the law.


Step 2: Apply for a commercial learner permit at a DMV office

You must pass the written test for the CDL that you need. There is an application fee of $10.00. This fee allows you to take all written tests (knowledge and endorsement) required for permit and license issuance applied for which are taken at the same time. There will be an additional $5 fee for any other required tests not taken and passed at the time of initial application. There is a fee of $40.00 to take the CDL road test (skills test). You can pay the road test fee when the DMV office issues your commercial learner permit, or you can pay the fee online. You must pay the fee before you can schedule your road test.

The permit is valid for 1 year. If you do not pass your road test within 1 year, you will be required to apply for a new CLP. This may include retaking any required knowledge tests.

When you apply for an original New York State CDL (Class A, B, or C), you must certify that

  • You did not hold a driver license in any state or in the District of Columbia except New York in the last 10 years or you must report every US state (or the District of Columbia) where you held a driver license in the last 10 years.
  • You meet the Federal medical examination requirements (see Medical Certification Requirements for more information). 1

You must also prove your legal presence in the United States.

IMPORTANT: DMV now offers three types of license/permit documents. Learn more about Enhanced, REAL ID and Standard documents


Know what to bring to the DMV office

If you have a Standard and want to change to a REAL ID or Enhanced, you must come into a DMV office. Complete this guide to make sure you have the proofs of identification you need before coming. 


Find the documents you need to get a REAL ID or enhanced license


  • The DMV Document Guide lists all acceptable legal presence and New York State residence proof documents. Please note: You must provide us the original documents (not photocopies), and documents submitted as proof of residence must have your current residence address on it (no P.O. Box permitted).

  • If you are not U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (i.e., temporary visitors) your Commercial Learner Permit (CLP) or CDL document will have the legend “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.

Per federal regulations, the DMV will check for any open suspensions or revocations you may have in any state.  If you have an open suspension or revocation, we will reject your application.


You must apply for a CDL at a DMV Office.

See location, instructions and reservation information for your DMV


Effective February 7, 2022: If you are applying for a CDL for the first time or adding a Hazmat, Passenger, or School Bus endorsement for the first time, you must complete entry-level driver training (ELDT) prior to taking a CDL road test. Hazmat ELDT is required prior to taking the Hazardous Materials knowledge test. The training provider must be registered on the FMCSA Training Provider Registry. Go to the Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) FAQ for more information about the ELDT requirement.

Effective January 10, 2024: The New York State DMV implemented the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) exemption of some pre-trip vehicle inspection requirements for road tests for new CDL applicants or applicants who held, but no longer hold, a CDL and want the school bus (S) and passenger (P) endorsements. The FMCSA exemption is currently set to expire November 27, 2024. CDL applicants who want the FMCSA exemption must take the "Limited School Bus" road test. Go to School Bus Only Restriction for more information about the new exemption.

Step 3: Prepare for your road test and practice with a supervising driver

The supervising driver must have a driver license that is valid to drive the commercial motor vehicle that you use for practice.

Based on feedback we have received from the motor carrier industry regarding the new federal CDL test model, we have learned that drivers are facing difficulties with certain sections of the test, often times resulting in failures. In an effort to address some of the common difficulties encountered during the skills test, we are providing some information that may be useful for drivers and instructors.
Sections 11-13 of the CDL Manual (PDF) covers the skills test.  Please pay special attention to the Air Brake Check information on page 11-4.  We strongly recommend that drivers and instructors focus on the steps outlined for the air brake check, and follow the steps as written.  More information is provided in the full Commercial Driver's Manual (CDL-10).
In addition, please note that the federal regulations allow the pre-trip inspection section to be randomized each time a new test is initiated for an applicant.  As a result, the pre-trip portion of the test could start at the front of the vehicle, in the middle, or if the test is for a Class A vehicle, with the trailer.  On page 11-12 of the manual, you will find the CDL Vehicle Inspection Memory Aid, which drivers are permitted to bring to the test as long as there are no notes or marked items on the document.  Motor Vehicle License Examiners will also have a copy to provide to the applicant at the test site, if necessary.


Step 4: Schedule and take your road test

Use the Road Test Scheduling System.  Please note that you cannot schedule an appointment for a date that is less than 14 days or more than 1 year after being issued a Commercial Learner Permit (CLP). If you do not pass the road test, you must pay a fee of $40.00 before you can schedule another road test. You can pay the fee online with your credit card, or pay the fee at a DMV office.

The permit is valid for 1 year. If you do not pass your road test within 1 year, you will be required to apply for a new CLP. This may include retaking any required knowledge tests.

CDL restrictions defined below by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may affect CLP holders when taking a Skills Test in a vehicle without full airbrakes and/or a manual transmission.

  • E - No Manual Transmission Equipped Commercial Motor Vehicle (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 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.


Additional information 

Will I get a temporary CDL after I pass my road test?

No.  Effective May 23, 2014, the New York State DMV cannot issue a 10-day temporary license document upon successful completion of a Commercial Driver License skills test, in order to comply with the Federal self-certification and medical certification requirements for commercial drivers.

Instead, commercial drivers will have log onto the website listed on the card provided to them at the end of the road test after 6PM that night to obtain the road test results.

Upon passing the road test, commercial drivers must also go into a DMV office (a reservation may be required) in order to amend their license.


What is the fee for a CDL?

It depends on the expiration date and the class of your current driver license, and the date that you receive your CDL.


When will I get my CDL?

The local DMV office will issue a temporary CDL that is valid for 60 days. Your photo CDL will arrive by mail in 3 to 4 weeks.


What if I have a CDL from another state?

To get a New York State CDL, you must apply for your CDL at a DMV office and surrender your out-of-state CDL. If your out-of-state CDL has a hazardous materials endorsement, you must pass the hazardous materials knowledge test when you apply for your New York State CDL. You must also provide fingerprints for federal and New York State background checks for criminal violations.

  1. 1. Federal regulations in 49 CFR Part 391