Texas CDL Requirements

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


Texas 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 Texas CDL Required

You need an Texas 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 Texas 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.

Texas 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 Texas CDL

To qualify/apply to obtain a Commercial Instruction Permit:

Texas Drivers Applying for a Commercial Driver License
A driver currently licensed in Texas must present their driver license, proof of their Social Security number (examples include: actual Social Security card, health insurance card issued by governmental agencies, peace officer’s license issued by TCLEOSE, military identification card, DD-214, pilot’s license issued by FAA, certified college or university transcript, IRS form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement, Form 1099-MISC, pay stub (stub must include name and SSN) and Medicare or Medicaid card. A facsimile or metal Social Security card are not acceptable).

Also they will be required to complete an application, a self-certification of medical status, and a Qualification Certification form (CDL-4, CDL-5, or CDL-10) to certify that they meet or are exempt from certain physical qualifications, along with any other necessary certification forms previously mentioned.

All the information necessary to take and pass the required CDL tests is contained in the Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Handbook. If a Texas driver is upgrading from a Class C license to a higher class license, he will be required to take the Texas Commercial Rules Test. (See Section 14 of the TX CDL manual).

Others Applying for a Commercial Driver License
If a person is applying for a Texas driver license for the first time, he will have to fulfill requirements in addition to those for a Texas driver. He will be required to complete an original
application for a Texas driver license and take any knowledge and/or skills tests required. The tests are derived from both the Texas Drivers Handbook and the Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Handbook. All necessary forms/handbooks are available at any Driver License Office or just visit our website.

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

How much does the Texas CDL cost?

Commercial Driver’s License Fees

  • A CDL will require a fee of $60.00 for five years. If a driver already has a valid Texas driver license (Class A, B, or C) and converts to a Commercial Drivers License, they will be given $4.00 credit for each full year remaining on the current license.
  • A $10.00 fee is required for an applicant who makes a change in the class or type of license, endorsement, or restriction, or one that adds a class of vehicle(s) to a CDL.
  • The fee for a Learner’s License for commercial motor vehicles is $24.00.
  • The fee for a replacement (duplicate) license is $10.00.

More information about fees from TX CDL Manual.

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