Washington DC CDL Requirements

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


Washington DC 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 Washington DC CDL Required

You need an Washington DC 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 Washington DC 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.

Washington DC 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 Washington DC CDL

To qualify/apply to obtain a Commercial Driver’s Instruction Permit:

Steps to Obtain a Commercial Learner Permit

  • Download a DC CDL Manual to study for the knowledge test.
  • Download and complete the US Department of Transportation Medical Examination Report and Medical Examiner’s Certificate Card [PDF].
  • Visit the Brentwood Commercial Driver License Center
  • Bring your completed US Department of Transportation Medical Examination Report and Medical Examiner’s Certificate Card.
  • Complete the CDL Driver License/Voter Registration Application and CDL Supplemental Application at the DMV.
  • Bring your valid DC regular Driver License, along with a valid, unexpired Passport or Certified birth certificate filed with a State Office of Vital Statistics or Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship. Non-US citizens must bring their valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card. If you do not have proof of lawful permanent residency, but you are legally in the US under a program approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), then in accordance with federal law, we will issue a CDL that is marked as non-domiciled. You must provide proof of your USCIS status.
  • Take a CDL knowledge test(s) for the desired permit class and endorsements at Brentwood Commercial Driver License Center. The CDL knowledge test will be valid for 90 days after passing.
  • Pay applicable fees.

Obtain a Commercial Driver License Learner Permit.
The CDL Learner Permit authorizes you to operate a designated class of vehicles if accompanied by a driver licensed to operate such vehicles.

After you’ve been issued a CDIP:

Schedule a CDL road test either online or by calling 311 or (202) 737-4404. You must be accompanied to the road test by a driver with a valid CDL of the same class or higher.

Please bring the following to your appointment:

  • Valid DC Driver License and CDL Learner Permit
  • Valid and stamped US Department of Transportation Medical Examination Report/Medical Card and Medical Examiner’s Certificate
  • An empty vehicle of the appropriate type (CMV Class) for testing the desired CDL class, with a valid registration document.
  • Take a CDL skills road test(s) for the desired permit class and endorsements at Commercial Driver License Road Test Lot.
  • Upon successful completion of the road test, apply to upgrade to a CDL at the DMV CDL office located at Brentwood Commercial Driver License Center.
  • Pay applicable fees.

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

More information on documentation required here.

How much does the Washington DC CDL cost?

Commercial Driver’s License Fees


  • Commercial Driver Learner Permit $39
  • Commercial Driver License (First-Time and Renewal) $117
  • Commercial Driver License Downgrade $20
  • Commercial Driver License Duplicate $20
  • Commercial Driver License Endorsement $20
  • Commercial Driver License Knowledge Test $10 per test
  • Commercial Driver License Road Skills Test $10

More information about fees from this WA DC DMV Fees Chart.

Sources:
Official Washington DC CDL Manual
Washington DC DMV/DPS
FMSCA Guidelines