Renewing Your CDL in California
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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.
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 $43. 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). 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.
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.
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.
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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