Applying for a New CDL in Connecticut
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Driving a commercial vehicle can be a great way to make a living, but in order to do it, you'll need to first get your commercial driver's license (CDL).
To get one, you'll need to adhere to the national regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and follow the licensing process in Connecticut run by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Who Can Get a Connecticut CDL?
To qualify for a Connecticut commercial driver's license, you will need to:
- Be at least 18 years old.*
- Possess a valid, non-CDL Connecticut driver's license.
- Show proof of lawful permanent residency, if you are not a U.S. citizen. Acceptable documents include:
- Certificate of citizenship.
- Naturalization certificate.
- Permanent resident (green) card.
- For more examples, see the list compiled by the CT DMV.
* NOTE: Drivers under 21 years old will be restricted to operating motor vehicles within Connecticut—referred to as intrastate driving.
CT Commercial Learner's Permit
Before you can get a CDL in CT, you'll have to get your commercial driver instruction permit (CLP).
The process is pretty involved, so it may be helpful to take a CDL education course beforehand, although it's not required by either the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles.
When you feel ready to apply, you'll need to schedule an appointment with your local CT DMV office and bring:
- Your CT driver's license.
- Proof of your Social Security number. You may bring in either:
- Your Social Security card.
- Your most recent W-2 showing your SSN.
- The proper medical forms (see below).
- A completed Application for Commercial Driver's License (Form R-229a), which you can obtain either:
- At your DMV appointment.
- By mail before your appointment.
- At your DMV appointment.
- Proof of legal permanent residency if you are not a U.S. citizen (see above).
- Payment for the following fees:
- Knowledge exam: $16.
- Learner's permit: $10.
- Applicable endorsement fees (see below).
At your appointment, you'll also be asked to complete certain tasks, such as:
- Submit to a driving record check.
- Pass all written exams needed for the type of CDL you want.
- If you're applying for any endorsements, you'll also need to take those written tests at this time.
When all of the above is successfully completed, you'll be issued a Connecticut commercial learner's permit—congratulations!
Your permit will be valid for 6 months and you can renew it once within 2 years of acquiring it for a $10 fee.
What If I Fail My CDL Knowledge Test?
If you fail your written exams, it's okay. You'll be asked to wait at least 1 business day, and you'll have to fill out another Application for Commercial Driver's License (Form R-229a) and repay the testing fee.
Connecticut CLP Restrictions
A commercial learner's permit comes with its own set of rules, very much like a regular driving permit.
While driving with your CLP, you'll only be allowed to operate commercial vehicles on public roads, and only while accompanied by a full CDL holder.
Your CT commercial learner's permit will be valid for 6 months, but you'll have to wait at least 14 days before you can take your skills test and earn your full commercial driver's license.
If you're still not feeling ready when your CLP is set to expire, you can renew it once within 2 years of when it was issued for a $10 fee. Any time after that, you'll have to retake your written exams to earn your commercial learner's permit back.
Get Your CT Commercial Driver License
When the waiting period of 14 days has passed and you feel ready, you can turn that CLP into a CDL by taking your skills test.
Schedule an appointment with your local CT Department of Vehicles office. Keep in mind that if you need to cancel your appointment for any reason, you'll have to reschedule your make-up test at least 7 business days in advance, or else you'll lose your testing fee.
You'll also have to arrange to take the test in the same type of vehicle you plan on driving with your CDL. If you can't, you may receive a restriction on your commercial driver's license.
Bring to your appointment:
- Your appointment confirmation letter.
- Your medical certification.
- A receipt from the DMV to show your fee has been paid.
- The goldenrod copies of your Application for a Commercial Driver's License (Form R-229a).
- Your commercial learner's permit.
- Your Connecticut driver's license.
- The current registration and insurance for the vehicle you will be taking the test in.
Your skills test will consist of the following components:
- Vehicle inspection.
- Basic vehicle control.
- On-road testing.
After completing everything, you will officially be a commercial driver's license holder!
CDL Fees in Connecticut
The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles charges the following for CDLs and related services:
- General knowledge test fee: $16.
- Air brakes exam: $5.
- Combination vehicles exam: $5.
- Commercial learner's permit fee: $10.
- CLP renewal: $10.
- Duplicate CLP: $10.
- Skills test fee: $30.
- Paid at the time of your knowledge test.
- Endorsements: $5 each.
Medical Requirements for a CT CDL
Every CDL applicant in Connecticut must be deemed physically fit for the job before they can earn their commercial driver license.
Before you schedule your initial appointment with the CT DMV, you'll have to get your medical paperwork in line. You'll need to schedule an appointment with a FMCSA-approved physician and have him or her help you fill out a Medical Examiner's Certificate (Form MCSA-5876).
You'll also have to explain to the state the type of driving you expect to do with your CDL, through a process called self-certifying. You can self-certify online through the Connecticut DMV. Make sure to print out your email confirmation and bring it with you to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The CT DMV has created a page with more information on how to self-certify.
Waivers for CT Military Veterans
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles have developed a program to help recent veterans and current service members earn their CDLs more easily by waiving the skills test.
Eligible applicants will:
- Be currently enlisted.
- Have departed the service within 90 days of applying for the waiver.
- Have a military license authorizing you to drive military vehicles equivalent to commercial motor vehicles.
To qualify, you'll have to submit the following documents:
- Application for Waiver of Driver's License Fee Because of Active Service in U.S. Armed Forces (Form B-88), if applicable.
- Application for Military Skills Test Waiver (Form CDL-SK TST WVR).
- Your military ID OR a DD-214 if you've recently left the service.
- Your Social Security card.
- Applicable medical documents.
NOTE: The waiver will only exempt you from the skills test. You'll still need to pass all written tests, pay all applicable fees, and bring all other required documentation with you to your DMV appointment.