Renewing Your CDL in California
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Your California commercial driver's license (CDL) must be renewed every five years. Changes in state and federal law have forced changes in the process, especially for those who hold a hazardous materials endorsement.
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 $39. There are additional fees to add an endorsement or remove a restriction, as well as further testing.
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). You must do this every five years. 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 or by calling (877) 429-7746. It costs $89.25 in total.
To get information on how to get hazmat endorsements to begin with, be sure to read our Applying for a New CDL page.
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. Please note: The DMV will no longer accept this form with a revision date before February 2004.
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 must be signed by either a medical doctor or a doctor of osteopathy. No other health practitioner signatures will be accepted.
You must self-certify your type of vehicle operation with the California DMV by January 2014. This means you must self-certify one of the following driving categories:
- Non-Excepted Interstate
- Excepted Interstate
- Non-Excepted Intrastate
- Excepted Intrastate
If you choose Non-Excepted Interstate, you must provide the DMV with a federal medical certificate.
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