South Carolina CDL Requirements

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


South Carolina 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 South Carolina CDL Required

You need an South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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.

South Carolina 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 South Carolina CDL

To qualify/apply to obtain a Commercial Instructiion Permit:

  • State learners permits are issued for a limited time (six months) and are considered valid for the purpose of behind the wheel training on public roads and highways, if the following minimum conditions are met;
  • 1) A CDL permit may be issued to an individual who holds a valid Class D license and have passed the appropriate vision and written test for the type CDL sought.
    2) The holder of a CDL permit, unless otherwise disqualified may drive a commercial motor vehicle, but only when accompanied by the holder of a valid CDL with applicable endorsements which are for the type vehicle being driven, and who occupies the seat beside the individual for the purpose of giving instruction in driving the commercial vehicle.
    3) He/she does not operate a commercial motor vehicle transporting hazardous materials as defined in 383.5 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

  • You must complete Form DL-402 Affidavit of Previous Driver’s License, and Form 447-CDL application at a DMV Office certifying that you meet the requirements found in Section 391 of the FMCSR.
  • You must self-certify the type of commerce for which you intend to use your CDL by completing Form DL-405A. This information will be added to your national Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) record.
  • You must also provide a valid medical certification for any type of commerce that requires it. DMV will not accept a medical certificate if it expires within 30 days from the date it is presented. If a medical variance document is required it too must be valid and provided to the DMV.
  • You must successfully pass the vision test. This is no charge at the DMV
  • Pass the skills test which includes the pre-trip inspection, demonstration of off-road and onroad driving skills.
  • a) When renewing your CDL license, if you have had five or more points against you in the prior two years you will have to take the General Knowledge Test.
    b) If you hold a Hazardous Materials Endorsement of your CDL, you will have to take the Hazardous Material Endorsement Test.

    More information from South Carolina DMV about Getting a CDL or CLP.

    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
    • A South Carolina driver license
    • Other state’s driver license (if transferring from another state)
    • Military ID card

    How much does the South Carolina CDL cost?

    Commercial Driver’s License Fees


    • CDL Application $15.00 charged each time application is made, except for public school bus drivers.
    • CDL Permit $2.50 valid for only six months, only one renewal within a two year period.
    • CDL Knowledge Test $2.00 for every attempt whether you pass or fail.
    • CDL License $12.50 5 year commercial driver’s license

    More information about fees from SC CDL Manual.

    Sources:
    Official South Carolina CDL Manual
    South Carolina DMV/DPS
    FMSCA Guidelines