Applying for a New CDL in Indiana

Driving a commercial vehicle is a great way to make a living—and one of the only jobs out there that will put you at the helm of a gigantic machine.

But in order to do it, you'll need to first get your commercial driver's license (CDL) through a process that includes both following the national regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the state licensing process in Indiana overseen by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

CDL Eligibility in Indiana

To qualify for an Indiana commercial driver's license, you'll need to:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
    • If you're under 21 years old, you will not be allowed to add a passenger vehicle endorsement to your commercial driver's license.
  • Have had a current IN driver's license for at least 1 year.
  • Offer proof of U.S. citizenship/lawful permanent residency. Acceptable documents include:
    • United States birth certificates.
    • U.S. passports.
    • Certificates of Naturalization.
    • Permanent Resident (green) cards.
      • For all examples, see the full list compiled by the BMV.
  • 2 documents proving Indiana residency.

IN Commercial Learner's Permit

Before you get your CDL you'll have to get your CLP—that is, commercial learner's permit.

It's not required by the FMCSA or IN BMV, but recommended by both to first take a CDL education course, to help you get through the more rigorous process.

When you feel ready to proceed, schedule an appointment with your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles office, and:

  • Bring the proper documents to prove your citizenship/lawful residency and Indiana address (see above).
  • Have the proper medical documents ready (see below).
  • Pass an eye exam.
    • You must have at least 20/40 vision in each eye.
  • Disclose to the BMV every state where you've been licensed in the past 10 years.
  • Pay the $17 CLP fee.

You'll also need to take and pass all the appropriate written tests at this time for the class of CDL you need, as well as any endorsements, if necessary.

Once all of the above is completed, you'll be issued a brand new commercial learner's permit!

CLP Restrictions in Indiana

Your commercial learner's permit is an important step toward getting your CDL, but you'll have to play by a different set of rules while operating a commercial vehicle with one.

The FMCSA requires all CLP holders to stick to public roads only while driving commercial vehicles, and only under the supervision of a full commercial driver license holder.

Your CLP will be valid for 6 months, and you can hold up to 3 permits within 2 years.

Once you have your commercial learner's permit, you'll need to practice with it for at least 14 days before you can take the skills test that would qualify you for a full CDL.

Obtain an IN Commercial Driver License

When at least 14 days have passed and you feel ready, it's time to take your CDL skills test—the last step toward earning your Indiana commercial driver's license.

You'll need to schedule your appointment with a BMV-approved testing site at least 2 days in advance.

Make sure to check out whether you'll be able to take the test in the same type of vehicle you plan on operating with your commercial driver's license. If you can't, and you can't arrange to do so, your CDL may come with a restriction.

Also make sure to bring with you:

The skills test consists of the following parts:

  • Pre-trip inspection.
  • Basic control skills.
  • Road trip test.

If you don't pass right away, you'll be able to retake the skills test once per day, but you will have to pay the full fee each time (testing fees vary by company).

When you do pass, the results will be electronically transferred to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Go to any BMV office to pay the $36 CDL fee and receive your official IN commercial driver's license.

Your CDL will be valid for 4 years, after which you can renew.

CDL Fees in Indiana

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles charges the following for CDLs and related services:

  • Commercial learner's permit: $17.
    • Changed or duplicate CLP: $10.50.
  • Commercial driver's license: $36.
    • Changed or duplicate CDL: $5.50.
  • Upgraded or downgraded CDL or CLP: $19.

NOTE: The Indiana BMV does not conduct CDL skills tests. Fees for skills tests are determined by third-party testing companies.

Indiana CDL Medical Requirements

All CDL holders in Indiana will have to be deemed physically fit before they can earn their licenses.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles requires all commercial driver license applicants to have the following forms filled out by a FMCSA-approved doctor:

You can bring the forms with you when you apply for your commercial learner's permit or submit them:

  • By fax at (317) 974-1613.
  • Through the mail to:
    • Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    • 100 N. Senate Ave., N481
    • Indianapolis, IN 46204

You'll also have to declare the type of driving you intend on doing to the state, through a process called self-certification. You can self-certify online through the BMV's web portal.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles has also compiled a list of frequently asked questions for anyone looking for more information on self-certification.

IN Military CDL Test Waivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles have devised a program to help service members or recent veterans earn a CDL more quickly and easily by waiving the need to take the skills test.

To qualify, you'll need to:

  • Be EITHER:
    • A current service member.
    • Have been honorably discharged within 1 year of applying for the waiver.
  • Have military truck-driving experience within 1 year of applying for the waiver.

You may NOT have acquired within the last 2 years:

  • A license suspension or cancellation.
  • Serious traffic violations.
  • Convictions for violating military or civilian law.

To apply for the waiver, you'll need:

  • A completed Application for Military Skills Test Waiver (Form CDL-SK TST WVR).
  • A copy of your military CDL.
  • Proof of active duty, if applicable.
  • A letter from your commanding officer saying you have military experience driving commercial vehicles within the last 2 years.

You can bring the above materials with you to the BMV office when applying for your CLP, or:

  • Fax them to the BMV: (317) 974-1615.
  • Mail them to:
    • Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    • Attn: CDL Programs
    • 100 North Senate Avenue
    • IGCN, Room N 481
    • Indianapolis, IN 46204

NOTE: Eligible applicants will still need to take and pass all written exams and pay any applicable fees.

Related Content

Provide Feedback

Looking for Applying for a New CDL in Another State?