Pennsylvania CDL Requirements

You must get an Pennsylvania commercial driver’s license (CDL) to be able to drive commercial vehicles in Pennsylvania. For Federal CDL Requirements applicable to every state, click here.


Pennsylvania adopted the Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, and is part of a nationally uniform system of classifying, testing, and licensing commercial vehicle drivers.


When is an Pennsylvania CDL Required

You need an Pennsylvania CDL when you operate the following vehicles:

CLASS A – Applies only to “combination” vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) more than 26,000 pounds, and the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds. A driver with a Class A CDL (plus any appropriate endorsements) can also operate all vehicles included in Class B, C, and D (below)

CLASS B – Includes single or combination vehicles where the GVWR of the single vehicle is more than 26,000 pounds. The vehicle being pulled must not be more than 10,000 pounds. A driver with an Pennsylvania Class B CDL (plus appropriate endorsements) can also legally operate all vehicles in Class C or D.

CLASS C – Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that meets neither the definition of Group A nor that of Group B as contained in this section, but that either is designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver, or is used in the transportation of materials found to be hazardous for the purposes of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act and which require the motor vehicle to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F).

CLASS D – Private passenger, regular operator.

Pennsylvania CDL Age Requirements

You must be at least 18 years of age to drive within state lines (intrastate).

You must be at least 21 years old to:

  • drive commercial vehicles across state lines (interstate)
  • haul hazardous materials

How to Apply for an Pennsylvania CDL

Note: The qualifications needed to obtain and hold a CDL are dependent on the type of driving you do or intend to do and the type of driving you certify.

If you certify a driving type of intrastate or excepted interstate, you must:

1: Acquire a DL-31CD and a Pennsylvania Commercial Driver’s License Manual

2: Go to a Driver License Center with the following:

  • A completed application
  • Valid Pennsylvania Driver’s License
  • Proof of identity and residency
  • Social Security card

If your name has change due to marriage, divorce or court order, please bring your original documents to a Driver License Center showing the change.
A check or money order made payable to PennDOT for the appropriate fees (cash is not accepted at the Driver’s License Centers).

3: Submit Form DL-31CD to upgrade your driving privilege from a Non-commercial Driver’s License to a CDL, along with a DL-11CD to self-certify the type of driving in which you intend to engage.

4: Upon processing a request for a CDL Learner’s Permit, if any of the requested privileges require both a Knowledge Test and Road Test, a Knowledge Test Authorization will be issued. The Knowledge Test Authorization does not allow you to begin on-the-road practicing. Once you successfully complete the Knowledge Test, the Driver License Center will issue you a CDL Learner’s Permit(s). The combined length of the Knowledge Test Authorization and the CDL Learner’s Permit will be one year. EXAMPLE: If you take three months to pass the knowledge test, the corresponding skills permit will be valid for nine months. We will still refer to the process as applying for a permit.

5: Before you may take the Road Test for a Commercial Driver’s License, you must have held a Commercial Learner’s Permit for 15 days for the class of vehicle you intend to drive and the requisite endorsements. You may schedule your Road Test as soon as you have the permit, but the actual date for the skills testing to be performed must be outside the 15-day window.

6: If you wish to apply for a hazardous materials endorsement you must successfully complete a Federal Security Threat Assessment and have your fingerprints taken at an approved fingerprint location.

More information from Pennsylvania DOT about Getting a CDL or CLP.

Commercial Driver’s License Fact Sheet

Documentation Requirements

You will need to provide proper identification when you apply for your CDL. Some acceptable forms are:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card (or proof of the number)
  • U.S. Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • An Pennsylvania driver license
  • Other state’s driver license (if transferring from another state)
  • Military ID card

How much does the Pennsylvania CDL cost?

Commercial Driver’s License Services Fees

Please note: A federal fee of $60 will apply to those who request HAZMAT on their driver’s license in addition to the fees listed below. Initial permits and licensing fees will vary depending on the specifics of the initial product for which you are applying.

  • Four-Year License Renewal (If your license expires on or before 12/31/2014) $69.50
  • Four-Year License Renewal (If your license expires on or after 1/1/2015) $89.50
  • Four-Year License Renewal with Hazmat (If your license expires on or before 12/31/2014) $79.50
  • Four-Year License Renewal with Hazmat (If your license expires on or after 1/1/2015) $104.50
  • Four-Year License Renewal with Motorcycle (If your license expires on or before 12/31/2014 $89.50
  • Four-Year License Renewal with Motorcycle (If your license expires on or after 1/1/2015) $109.50
  • Four-Year License Renewal with Hazmat and Motorcycle (If your license expires on or before 12/31/2014) $99.50
  • Four-Year License Renewal with Hazmat and Motorcycle (If your license expires on or after 1/1/2015) $124.50
  • Two-Year License Renewal (age 65+) (If your license expires on or before 12/31/2014 $39
  • Two-Year License Renewal (age 65+) (If your license expires on or after 1/1/2015) $49
  • Two-Year License Renewal with Hazmat (age 65+) (If your license expires on or before 12/31/2014) $49
  • Two-Year License Renewal with Hazmat (age 65+) (If your license expires on or after 1/1/2015) $64
  • Two-Year License Renewal with Motorcycle (age 65+) (If your license expires on or before 12/31/2014) $49
  • Two-Year License Renewal with Motorcycle (age 65+) (If your license expires on or after 1/1/2015) $59
  • Two-Year License Renewal with Hazmat and Motorcycle (age 65+) (If your license expires on or before 12/31/2014) $59
  • Two-Year License Renewal with Hazmat and Motorcycle (age 65+) (If your license expires on or after 1/1/2015) $74
  • Change (including a change of address) or Replacement of License $27.50
  • Change or Replacement of License with Motorcycle $32.50
  • Duplicate Camera Card $5
  • Duplicate Camera Card with Motorcycle $10

Commercial Out-of-State Driver’s License Fees

  • Out-of-State New Driver 4-Year License $89.50
  • Out-of-State New Driver 2-Year License (age 65+) $49
  • Out-of-State New Driver 4-Year License with Motorcycle $94.50
  • Out-of-State New Driver 2-Year License with Motorcycle (age 65+) $54
  • Out-of-State New Driver 4-Year License w/Hazmat $104.50
  • Out-of-State New Driver 2-Year License w/Hazmat (age 65+) $64
  • Out-of-State New Driver 4-Year License w/Hazmat and Motorcycle $109.50
  • Out-of-State New Driver 2-Year License w/Hazmat and Motorcycle (age 65+) $69

Upgrade From Non-Commercial To Commercial

  • 7 to 12 Months Prior to License Expiration $28.50
  • 13 to 24 Months Prior to License Expiration $43.50
  • 25 to 36 Months Prior to License Expiration $58.50
  • 37 to 48 Months Prior to License Expiration $73.50

(One permit, with photo fee included. Additional fees may apply for Hazmat, Motorcycle or additional permits)

Upgrading Existing CDL Privileges

  • Upgrading Commercial Class or Endorsement $13.50
  • Removing Commercial Restrictions $13.50
  • Upgrading to Transport Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) $28.50

More information about fees from PA DOT.

Sources:
Official Pennsylvania CDL Manual
Pennsylvania DMV/DPS
FMSCA Guidelines