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    Renewing a Michigan CDL

    You'll need to renew your Michigan commercial driver's license (CDL) every 4 years, as well as a base operator or chauffeur license. And unfortunately, it always requires a trip to a Secretary of State branch office.

    When you apply for a renewal, the office will check both your state and national driving record on its computer and perform a vision test.

    Assuming your CDL hasn't been suspended, revoked, canceled, or denied, you'll be able to renew on the spot. If there are any restrictions, you'll have to resolve them before your license can be renewed.

    You may also be asked to undergo a new physical exam.

    Be sure to bring with you:

    Written Tests

    You won't be required to take a general knowledge written test to renew your license.

    If, however, you have a hazardous materials endorsement (H or X), you'll need to pass a hazardous materials test every time you renew. All necessary materials are in the CDL manual.

    If you fail the test, you may take it again as often as you wish. You may continue to use your endorsement until your driver license expires on your birthday.

    You may also choose to renew your CDL without the endorsement, and study to obtain it later if you wish. That way, you can drive commercially, although you won't be allowed to transport material that requires hazmat placarding.

    You also must present a Federal Security Threat Assessment to renew a CDL with a hazardous materials endorsement.

    Upgrading or New Endorsements

    Other situations where you'll need to take additional tests when you renew your CDL is when you want to upgrade the group designator, remove an air brake restriction, or add a new endorsement to your current CDL.

    You'll need to take a written test to upgrade from a Group B or C designation, or to acquire endorsements to operate a school bus, double trailer, passenger carrier, tanker, or to haul hazardous materials.

    You'll have to schedule skills tests for B and C upgrades, or endorsements for school buses and passenger carriers.

    Your CDL will cost $25 to renew, plus $5 for each endorsement.

    Hazmat Background Check

    Every 5 years, your TSA background check expires. You must pay $86.50 for a new background check and fingerprinting.

    New Federal Requirements

    You must self-certify your type of vehicle operation with the Michigan SOS. 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 SOS with a federal medical certificate.

    Submit online or complete a self-certification application and:

    • Fax to (517) 636-4359
    • Drop off at any SOS office
    • Mail to:
      • Michigan Department of State
      • CDL Help Desk
      • 7064 Crowner Drive
      • Lansing, MI 48918

    Questions? Call (517) 322-5555.

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