South Dakota CDL Requirements

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


South Dakota 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 Dakota CDL Required

You need an South Dakota 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 Dakota 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 Dakota CDL Age Requirements

You must be at least 16 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 Dakota CDL

To qualify/apply to obtain a Commercial Instruction Permit:

Prior to obtaining a CDL, a person must meet the following requirements:
(1) A person who operates or expects to operate in interstate or foreign commerce, or is otherwise subject to Part 391 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations, shall certify that he/she meets the
qualification requirements contained in that title. A person who operates or is exempt from these provisions is subject to State driver qualification requirements and must certify that he/she is not
subject to Part 391;

Drivers Exempt From Part 391
(a) The private transportation of passengers.
(b) Farm vehicle drivers except articulated motor vehicles with a GVWR more than 10,000 pounds.
(c) Farm custom operations engaged in Custom-Harvesting.
(d) Apiarian industry drivers controlled and operated by a beekeeper engaged in seasonal transportation of bees.
(e) Transportation performed by the Federal Government, a State, or any political subdivision of a State. For more information contact the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

(2) Pass a knowledge test for the type of motor vehicle the person operates or expects to operate.
(3) Successfully pass a driving or skills test administered by a state certified third party tester in a motor vehicle which is representative of the type of motor vehicle the person operates or expects to operate.
(4) Certify that the motor vehicle in which the person takes the driving skills test is representative of the type of motor vehicle that person operates or expects to operate.
(5) Provide the State the information required to be included on the CDL application:

(a) An applicant’s proof of identity, date of birth, social security number and residential address is required.
(1) Proof of identity and date of birth can be proven through a federally compliant driver license or ID card, certified U.S. birth certificate (issued by the county or state), valid unexpired passport,
Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship. Non-citizens must provide proof of lawful status in the form of a valid unexpired permanent resident card, valid unexpired employment authorization document or foreign passport with a valid U.S. Visa and unexpired I-94.
(2) Verification of the social security number is completed at the time of application. Source documents accepted as verification of social security number are the following (as long as they include your name and full social security number):

  • Social security card,
  • W-2 form,
  • SSA 1099 form,
  • Non-SSA 1099 form, or
  • Pay stub

(3)Two documents proving principle address such as a utility bill, credit card statement, rent receipt, phone bill, bank statement, mortgage document, tax document or homeowners/renter’s insurance policy. If you are unable to provide proof of principle address please see our website at http://dps.sd.gov for a list of alternate documents or call 1-800-952-3696.

(6) Certify that he/she isn’t subject to any disqualification, suspension, revocation, or cancellation and that he/she doesn’t have a driver’s license from more than one State. The applicant shall surrender all previous driver licenses to the State.

More information from South Dakota DPS 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 Dakota driver license
  • Other state’s driver license (if transferring from another state)
  • Military ID card

How much does the South Dakota CDL cost?

Commercial Driver’s License Fees


  • The fee for a commercial driver license is $25.00.
  • There is also a $10.00 fee for each endorsement to a commercial license.
  • A third party tester may charge up to $80.00 for each attempt to successfully complete the commercial skills test.
  • Reinstatement Fee: A person whose license has been revoked, suspended, or disqualified is required by law to pay a license reinstatement fee of $50.00 to $200.00 plus application fees when he/she is eligible.

More information about fees from SD CDL Manual.

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