How to Get a Hazardous Materials Endorsement

get your hazmat endorsement

You’ve made the decision to get your Hazmat endorsement on your CDL, but the process seems a bit daunting, maybe even confusing. Which thing should you do first? What about the new background investigation you have to go through? How long does it all take and how much will it cost? Well, all the answers you need are here, laid out for you step-by-step. Good Luck!

Why is Getting a Hazmat Endorsement So Hard?!

To be able to haul hazardous materials, you must get a Hazardous Materials Endorsement on your CDL or CDL permit. All applicants must undergo the Security Threat Assessment, which includes a background check and fingerprinting. as part of the process. Since September 11, 2001, the Federal Government has added regulations to ensure drivers who haul potentially dangerous materials are not a potential threat. Check out How to Comply with Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations by the FMCSA.

To meet the requirements of the USA Patriot Act, “The TSA Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment Program conducts a security threat assessment for any driver seeking to obtain, renew, or transfer a hazardous materials endorsement (HME) on a state-issued commercial drivers license (CDL)”. TSA rules require you to begin applying for the security threat assessment at least 30 days prior to the expiration of your CDL.

Basic requirements when applying for a Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) Endorsement

Note: These are the general requirements for obtaining a Hazardous Materials Endorsement on your CDL. For state specific hazmat information, including DMV fees and their exact procedures, go here and then click on your state.

  • Have a valid CDL license or CDL permit (the permit number must be the same number that will be used on the permanent CDL)
  • Undergo the TSA Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment Program

    Complete the online application or you can complete the entire process in person at an application center UNLESS you are from any of the following states:

    Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, in which case, you should visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles for application and fingerprinting information.

  • Go to DMV and:
    • Present proof of identity and date of birth by either #1 or 2.
      1. Proof of U.S. citizenship
        • U.S. Passport
        • Certificate of birth that bears an official seal and was issued by a state, county, municipal authority, or outlying possession of the United States
        • Certificate of Birth Abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State (form FS-545 or DS1350)
        • Certificate of Naturalization (form N-550 or N570)
        • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (form N560 or N561)
      2. Lawful permanent resident
        • Permanent Resident Card, Alien Registration Receipt Card (form I-551)
        • Temporary I-551 stamp in foreign passport
        • Temporary I-551 stamp on form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, with photograph of the bearer
        • Reentry Permit (form I-327)
    • Present a valid medical examiner’s certificate (DOT Card).
    • Present a medical waiver (if applicable) .
    • Pass a vision test.
    • Pass the Hazardous Materials CDL Knowledge written exam. Study the chapter on hazardous materials in your state CDL manual and further prepare by taking CDL Hazmat Practice Tests.
    • Pay all applicable DMV test and endorsement fees.

HAZMAT Endorsement (HME) Threat Assessment Program (HTAP)

The Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment Program (see TSA site) conducts a threat assessment for any driver seeking to obtain, renew and transfer a hazardous materials endorsement on a state-issued commercial driver’s license. You should apply if you have a state-issued CDL and you are required to transport materials that require placarding under the Department of Transportation hazardous materials regulations. To apply, go to this page.

Hazardous Materials Endorsement/Fingerprint-Based Background Checks

Under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56, § 1012), rules of the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) (49 CFR Part 1572) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) (Title 49 of Code of Federal Regulation 383.71(a)(9)), the Motor Vehicle Division may not issue a hazardous materials endorsement (HME) until the applicant has submitted to a fingerprint-based background check and TSA has determined that the applicant does not pose a security threat.
State motor vehicle agencies must notify CDL holders with the HAZMAT endorsement of the requirements within 60 days of the CDL expiration.

Step 1 – Filling Out the Application

You may complete the TSA HAZPRINT driver application on the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Enrollment website or by calling the HazPrint Help Desk at (855) 347-8371. The operator at the desk will guide you through the process and ensure the application is completed correctly. You can also call the help desk at any time if you have questions about the website. It is important to note that the application must be completed either online, or through the HazPrint Help Desk, prior to arriving at the fingerprint capture location. It cannot be done at the fingerprinting site.

Step 2 – Getting Fingerprinted

Your fingerprints can be collected at one of more than 200 fixed and mobile sites in the United States. The Hazardous Materials Endorsement Enrollment website and the HazPrint Help Desk, 855-DHS-UES1 (855-347-8371), are the best sources of information for current site locations, operating hours, and driving directions to the site. Drivers from any of the participating agent states can be printed at any of the agent’s sites – even those in another state. You will be required to provide two forms of identification prior to being fingerprinted. Please refer to the “proper ID types” listed at Hazardous Materials Endorsement Enrollment website. In addition to being fingerprinted, the driver will be asked to review and electronically sign the application to verify its accuracy.

NOTE: The fingerprint capture location only collects and forwards the electronic application and fingerprints. They do not have specific information about the program, nor will they receive status reports after the submission is made.

Step 3 – Security Threat Assessment

Based on the data provided on the HAZPRINT application, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will perform a threat assessment for each driver applicant. The results of this assessment will be available to your State DMV through TSA’s internet portal. The applicant will also receive a letter from TSA with the results of the assessment. Take this letter to the Motor Vehicle Division office as it will indicate that you have been cleared for issuance of the hazardous material endorsement.

Step 4 – Status

TSA’s target date for completion of a threat assessment is 30 days from the date your fingerprints are submitted. Issues with your eligibility or insufficient paperwork may delay this turnaround time. Please wait at least two weeks before calling the Driver Call Center at 855-347-8371, to make sure your fingerprints have been received and that your case is processing accordingly.

Check out the FAQs for more answers to common questions. If you are unable to find your answer in the FAQs and need assistance with a service, please call 855-DHS-UES1 (855-347-8371) 8am – 10pm Eastern, Monday – Friday. Applicants are encouraged to apply early.

How Much Will All This Cost?

Included with the application process is the payment of an $86.50 (current, July 2016) fee. There are two forms of payment accepted: credit card or money order. You may pay by credit card directly on the website or by providing the information to the operator at the HazPrint Help Desk. Electronic payments are not accepted at the fingerprint collection sites. Electronic payments are encouraged, as they are the most secure and convenient, and will save time at the fingerprint collection site. Drivers may also pay at the fingerprint collection sites with a money order in the amount of $86.50, made out to Integrated Biometric Technology, LLC (TSA’s agent for the HazPrint Program/a part of MorphoTrust USA.)

Remember, whatever payment method is chosen, you must complete the application online or by calling the Help Desk prior to being fingerprinted, as the fingerprint collection site cannot fingerprint a driver who has not completed the HAZPRINT application and paid the $86.50 fee.

Is a Hazmat Knowledge Test Required?

Yes. The hazardous materials written exam must be taken at your state DMV office. It can only be taken after the TSA assessment has been completed (see above). The knowledge exam must be passed before issuance of the CDL license with the HAZMAT endorsement. Prepare for your state Hazmat exam with free CDL hazmat practice tests here.