Renewing Your CDL in California

Your California commercial driver's license (CDL) must be renewed. Changes in state and federal law have forced changes in the process, especially for those who hold a hazardous materials endorsement.

How to Renew Your CDL

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will send you a renewal notice specifying which renewal options are open. The options are renewing by mail, online, or by appearing in person at a local DMV office.

For a Class A, B, or C commercial licenses, the renewal fee is $42. There are additional fees to add an endorsement or remove a restriction, as well as further testing.

Renewing a Hazmat Endorsement

A major change to the CDL requirements is that if you currently hold a hazmat endorsement, you must undergo a background check conducted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The USA Patriot Act requires this to better control hazardous materials, for public safety.

Schedule an appointment with a TSA agent to initiate the process. Do this online.

To get information on how to get hazmat endorsements to begin with, be sure to read our Applying for a New CDL page.

Medical Clearance

The DMV requires all CDL holders to submit a medical certification every two years, so if it's been that long for you, you'll have to make an appointment with your doctor to fill out a Medical Examination Report (Form DL 51).

Your employer must pay for the exam if you need a CDL to do your job; and if you're getting the exam after you already have the job.

If You Carry Passengers

If you drive a school bus, pupil activity bus, youth bus, general public paratransit carrier, or farm labor vehicle, your Medical Examination Report (Form DL 51). must be signed by either a medical doctor or a doctor of osteopathy. No other health practitioner signatures will be accepted.

New Federal Requirements

You must self-certify your type of vehicle operation with the California DMV. This means you must self-certify one of the following driving categories:

  • Non-Excepted Interstate.
  • Excepted Interstate (Not issued in CA).
  • Non-Excepted Intrastate.
  • Excepted Intrastate (Not issued in CA).

If you choose Non-Excepted Interstate, you must provide the DMV with a federal medical certificate.


DL 51

Medical form must be submitted when applying for a CDL or other special vehicle classes, such as school buses or farm vehicles.

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