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Applying for a New CDL in Minnesota

Driving a semi-truck, school bus, or other commercial vehicle is typically more difficult than operating an average car or truck, so in order to do so, you must get a commercial driver's license (CDL).

The process is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) division facilitates the licensing process in Minnesota.

Who Can Get a MN CDL?

To be eligible for a Minnesota commercial driver's license, you must:

  • Have a valid, non-CDL MN driver's license.
  • Provide proof of U.S. citizenship/permanent residency. Examples include your:
    • U.S. passport.
    • Birth certificate.
    • Permanent residency card.

If you have recently changed your name, you must bring proof of your name change.

Drivers under 21 years old will be restricted to driving intrastate—that is, within Minnesota only.

MN Commercial Learner's Permit

Before you can get your MN CDL, you'll need to get your Minnesota commercial learner's permit (CLP).*

To get your CLP, you'll first have to schedule an appointment with your local Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services office. Bring with you to the appointment:

You will have to take and pass the applicable written exams, which will vary depending on which class of CDL you're applying for and whether you also want an endorsement.

A Minnesota commercial learner's permit is free. However, if you decide to add an endorsement to your CDL, there will be additional fees charged for those tests.

* NOTE: While it's not required by the FMCSA or the MN DVS, it is highly recommended to take a commercial driver license training course, to help prepare you for the various exams involved in the process.

Minnesota CLP Requirements & Restrictions

Once you pass all written exams, you will receive your CLP from the DVS. Your MN commercial learner's permit will be valid for 6 months, and is non-renewable. You will need to have it for at least 14 days before you can take the CDL road test.

The FMCSA requires all CLP holders to drive on public roads only, and only while accompanied by a full CDL holder.

Obtain a MN Commercial Driver License

To go from a Minnesota CLP to CDL, you'll have to take additional road and skills tests. These include the:

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

Schedule another appointment with your local Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services office and:

  • Provide your:
    • MN driver's license.
    • Commercial learner's permit.
    • Social Security number (SSN).
  • Pass a vision exam.
  • Have your photo taken.
  • Pay the appropriate fee, which varies depending on:
    • Your age.
    • The type of CDL you want.
      • See below for a rundown of CDL fees in Minnesota.

Arrange to take the road/skills tests in the same type of vehicle you expect to operate with your commercial driver license. If you can not, there may be a restriction added to your CDL.

Once you pass the remaining tests, the DVS should issue you your commercial driver license.

MN Military Veterans & CDLs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established a program designed to help veterans more easily acquire a commercial driver's license.

The military skills test waiver allows certain current or recently discharged service members to skip the skills and road testing portion of the CDL process, if they can produce the appropriate paperwork.

See our general guide to the skills test waiver for more information on federal allowances, then contact your local MN DVS office to see if you qualify to participate in Minnesota.

Minnesota CDL Medical Requirements

To get your CDL in Minnesota, you must complete several medical forms, including the:

The Medical Examination Report must be filled out by both you and your physician, while the self-certification form can be completed by just you.

To submit these completed forms, you can:

  • Bring them in person when you apply for your CDL.
  • Fax them to the DVS at (651) 297-4447.
  • Mail them to:
    • Driver and Vehicle Services Division
    • 445 Minnesota St
    • Ste 175
    • St Paul, MN 55101

You may also be eligible for a waiver from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the Minnesota Department of Transportation (DOT) for the following physical requirements:

  • Vision.
  • Insulin-dependent diabetes.
  • Deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Limb impairment.

Contact the Midwestern FMCSA office at (708) 283-3577 for directions on how to obtain one of the above waivers.

If you require a waiver for one of the above requirements, you will need to also bring it with you to the Minnesota DVS when you apply for your CDL.

See the DVS website for information on self-certification FAQs and instructions on the self-certification form.

Commercial Driver License Classifications

There are several different classes of commercial driver license established by the FMCSA, which allow the holder to drive different types of vehicles.

In Minnesota, the Driver and Vehicle Services office also has specific age designations for each class of CDL, including:

  • Class A CDLs—Permit you to drive multiple vehicles that weigh over a certain amount.
    • Must be at least 18 years old to qualify in Minnesota.
  • Class B CDLs—Allow you to operate a single vehicle that weighs over a certain amount.
    • MN applicants must be at least 17 years old.
  • Class C CDLs—Cover all other types of commercial motor vehicle not included in Class A or Class B CDLs.
    • Operators with this class of CDL must also hold at least 1 endorsement out of the following:

CDL Endorsements & Restrictions

An endorsement on your Minnesota commercial driver's license is an additional certification you can add to your CDL that will allow you to drive a greater number of vehicles. You will have to take a separate written test for each endorsement you wish to add to your CDL, and pay an extra fee.

You can get MN CDL endorsements for:

Minnesota has specific instructions for how to apply for each type of endorsement. For additional details, see the MN DVS endorsement page.

*NOTE: If you have a DVS School Bus Waiver, you must bring it in with you when you apply for your commercial driver license. For more information, see the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services page on school bus endorsements.

Restrictions may be placed on your license to limit the number of vehicles you can drive. You may receive a restricted CDL if:

  • You can not drive a manual transmission.
  • You can not operate full air brakes.
  • You take your CDL test in the wrong class of commercial vehicle.

For more information, check out our CDL Endorsements & Restrictions page.

CDL Fees in Minnesota

The DVS currently charges the following fees for CDLs and related services:

  • Class A CDL:
    • Drivers under 21 years old: $25.25.
    • All other drivers: $45.25.
  • Class B CDL: $37.25.
  • Class C CDL: $30.25.
  • School bus endorsement processing fee: $4.
  • Endorsement exam fees: $2.50 each.

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