Washington CDL Requirements

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


Washington 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 CDL Required

You need an Washington 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 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 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 CDL

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

  • Apply for a CDIP at a driver licensing office that offers knowledge testing (call to find out).
  • Bring your current license and Social Security number, for ID purposes. This is a mandatory under federal law (49 USC 31308) and WA state law (RCW 46.25.070).
  • Pass the knowledge test.
  • Pay the fees (see below).

Note: A Commercial Learner’s Permit will be valid for 6 months from the date of issue. A second six-month permit may be renewed once in a 2 year period.

After you’ve been issued a CDIP you must be accompanied when you drive a commercial vehicle. They must:

  • Hold a valid CDL and have 2 years’ experience driving the type of commercial vehicle you are driving.
  • Have at least 5 years’ total driving experience.
  • Occupy the seat beside you for the purpose of giving instruction.
  • You can’t operate any commercial vehicle classified or placarded for hazardous materials.

More information from Washington 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 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 CDL cost?

Commercial Driver’s License Fees


  • Commercial driving permit $10
  • CDL knowledge test $10
  • CDL skills test $100
  • Add CDL endorsement to a WA driver license $10 license fee + $17 per yr for the time remaining on your license = $27 – $112
  • Transfer out-of-state CDL to a WA CDL $102 CDL fee + $54 license fee + $35 application = $191

More information about fees from this WA DMV Fees Chart.

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