Applying for a New CDL in Nebraska

If you've ever driven down the highway and wondered what it would be like to sit behind the wheel of one of the giant trucks barreling by, you might want to get your commercial driver's license (CDL).

To earn one, you'll need to abide by all national regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and follow the licensing procedure overseen by the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

NE CDL Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a Nebraska commercial driver's license, you'll need to:

  • Possess a valid, regular driver's license.
  • Be at least 18 years old.
    • Applicants under 21 years old will be restricted to driving within NE only—referred to as intrastate driving.
  • Be able to prove your:

NE Commercial Learner's Permits

Earning your NE CDL is a multi-step process. The first of those steps is obtaining your commercial leaner's permit (CLP).

Before you do that, you might want to consider taking a commercial driver license education course. It's not required by the Nebraska DMV or the FMCSA, but it could help you through the involved process.

Whenever you feel ready, schedule an appointment with your local NE Department of Motor Vehicles office, and:

  • Provide your:
    • Proof of identity, U.S. citizenship/permanent residency and Nebraska residency. See the DMV's list of acceptable documents.
    • Social Security number.
  • Submit a completed CLP and CDL Data Form (Form DMV 06-105).
  • Have all of the necessary medical paperwork with you (see below).
  • Pass the vision test administered by the DMV.
  • Pay the $12.50 CLP fee.

You'll also have to take all written tests at this time for the CDL class you want and any endorsements you want to add to your CDL, if applicable.

If you fail your written tests, you'll be able to try again, but you'll have to wait 1 day before doing so.

Once all of that is done, you'll be issued your commercial learner's permit—and be one step closer to getting your commercial driver's license!

CLP Restrictions in Nebraska

A Nebraska commercial learner's permit may be the first step toward getting a CDL, but it comes with different rules than a commercial driver's license.

While you have your CLP, you'll only be allowed to operate commercial motor vehicles on public roads, and only while accompanied by a full-CDL holder.

The NE DMV also requires all commercial learner's permit holders to wait at least 14 days before taking the skills test to earn a full commercial driver's license.

If you're not ready by that point, it's okay. The CLP will be valid for 180 days, and you'll be able to renew it once without having to retake any written exams. Ask your local DMV office about specific CLP renewal deadlines.

Obtain a NE Commercial Driver's License

After at least 14 days have passed and you feel ready, you can take the final step toward earning your CDL: the skills test.

Skills exams are by appointment only, so you'll have to schedule ahead of time with your local Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles office or a third-party tester.

Make sure to bring your:

If you're not a U.S. citizen but in the country legally, you'll also need to bring your proof of legal residency with you.

At the appointment, be prepared to take the following tests:

  • Pre-trip vehicle inspection.
  • Basic controls skills.
  • On-road driving test.

You'll have to arrange to take your skills exam in the same type of vehicle you plan on operating with your commercial learner's permit. If you can't, there may be a restriction placed on your license.

Once you've passed each section, all that's left is paying the appropriate fee, and you'll be an official commercial driver!

CDL Fees in Nebraska

Fees for a CDL in Nebraska vary based on how long your license is valid for. If you're younger than 21 years old, fees are prorated depending on how many years you need your CDL to be valid.

Nebraska commercial driver's licenses are valid for 5 years for anyone older than 21 years old. Younger applicants will need to renew when they turn 21 years old.

  • Commercial learner's permit: $12.50.
  • Commercial driver's license valid for:
    • Up to 1 year: $13.50.
    • Over 1 year, up to 2 years: $24.50.
    • Over 2 years, up to 3 years: $35.50.
    • Over 3 years, up to 4 years: $46.50.
    • 5 years: $57.50.

Nebraska CDL Medical Requirements

To operate commercial motor vehicles in Nebraska, you'll have to prove to the state that you're physically fit for the job.

To be considered medically certified, you'll need an FMCSA-approved physician to help you fill out a Medical Examiner's Certificate (Form MCSA-5876).

Submit a copy of the card to the DMV at:

Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles
Driver Licensing Services
P.O. Box 94726
Lincoln, NE 68509

You can also turn in a copy of the card via fax or e-mail.

The NE DMV also requires all CDL applicants to inform the state of the type of driving they intend on doing, in a process called self-certification.

Contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles office for details on how to self-certify. You'll have to do this before going in for your initial commercial learner's permit appointment.

Military CDL Waivers in Nebraska

The NE Department of Motor Vehicles has a program to help recent veterans or current service members obtain a CDL more easily by having the skills exam waived.

To qualify, you'll need to be currently licensed and:

    • Currently enlisted in the service or reserves.
    • Discharged from the military within the past 12 months.
  • Have held a position in the service where you operated a military motor vehicle equivalent to a commercial motor vehicle.

Eligible applicants will need to submit to the DMV:

For more information, check out our guide to the military skills test waiver.

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