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Applying for a New CDL in Nevada

Driving a big rig can be a big rush—and a great way to make a living, to boot. But if you want that life, you'll first have to get your commercial driver's license (CDL).

To get one, you'll have to follow all of the national regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the licensing procedure in Nevada, which is overseen by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Nevada CDL Eligibility Requirements

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

  • Have a valid, non-CDL Nevada driver's license.
  • Be at least:
    • 18 years old to drive commercial vehicles within Nevada only (called intrastate driving).
    • 21 years old to drive commercial vehicles anywhere in the country (called interstate driving).

You'll also need to show the NV DMV proof of your:

  • Identity (1 document), such as your:
    • Birth certificate.
    • Valid U.S. passport.
    • Permanent residency card.
  • Social Security number (1 document), including your:
    • Social Security card.
    • W-2 tax form.
  • Nevada residency (2 documents); for example, a:
    • Utility bill.
    • Recent pay stub.
    • Voter registration card.
      • Most documents must be dated within 60 days of application.

For further details, refer to the Nevada DMV's guide to identification documents to check out other acceptable forms.

NV Commercial Learner's Permit

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

The process is fairly involved, so to make sure you're as successful as possible, it might be helpful to take a commercial driving education course first, although this step is not required by either the FMCSA or the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

When you feel ready, schedule an appointment with your local DMV office, and be prepared to:

To earn your CLP, you'll have to take all the written exams needed for the commercial license classification you want during your appointment, plus the written tests for any endorsements you hope to add to your license.

Once you pass and complete all of the above, you'll be officially issued your commercial learner's permit. Congratulations!

CLP Restrictions in Nevada

Getting your CLP is an important first step toward earning your CDL, but while you're practicing with it, you'll have to follow a slightly different set of rules.

According to regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, commercial learner's permit holders must stick to public roads only, and can only operate motor vehicles while accompanied by a full CDL holder who:

  • Is at least 25 years old.
  • Has had a CDL for at least 1 year.
  • Is licensed to drive the same class of vehicle.

You'll also have to practice with your CLP for at least 14 days before you can schedule the skills test to earn your full commercial driver license. If you're not ready by that point, though, it's okay! Your commercial learner's permit will be valid for 180 days.

Obtaining Your Nevada CDL

Once at least 14 days have passed and you feel comfortable to continue on, you can initiate the last phase of getting your NV commercial driver's license: the skills test.

You can either take the exam through a third-party tester or with the NV Department of Motor Vehicles by scheduling an appointment at your local DMV office. Keep in mind that if you're taking your exam with a third-party tester, you'll have to schedule it at least 4 days in advance.

Don't forget to bring the following with you:

  • Your commercial learner's permit.
  • Your Nevada driver's license.
  • Your medical paperwork (see below).
  • The required fees:
    • DMV skills exam: $31.
      • Exam fees through third-party testers vary.
    • Completion of CLP/issue of CDL: $58.25.*

The skills exam itself consists of several parts, including the:

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

After acing each part of the test and paying the fee, you'll be an official commercial driver's license holder!

* NOTE: This fee applies when moving from a CLP to a CDL. Fees for originals without a CLP, or for transfers from another state, vary. Please see CDL Fees in Nevada below.

CDL Fees in Nevada

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles currently charges the following for CDLs and other related services:

  • Commercial learner's permit: $58.25.
  • Commercial driver's license:
    • Moving from CLP to CDL: $58.25.
    • Original/transfer requiring knowledge tests only: $112.25.
    • Original/transfer requiring knowledge AND skills tests: $142.25.
  • Photo fee: $3.25.
  • Endorsements: $15 each.
    • If you add an endorsement after your initial CDL issuance, you'll need to re-pay the $3.25 photo fee for your new license.
  • Skills test: $31.
    • Test for additional endorsements or restriction removal: $31, plus re-payment of the $3.25 photo fee for a new license.
  • Duplicate CDL: $23.25.

* NOTE: If you take your skills exam with a third-party testing center, you'll need to pay their exam fee, and then pay the DMV's photo fee when you arrive to apply for your CDL.

CDL Medical Requirements

All commercial driver license applicants must be considered physically fit for the job before applying for a commercial learner's permit.

To get your medical certification in Nevada, you'll have to inform the state of the type of driving you intend on doing, through a process called self-certification. For more information on how that process works in NV, check out the DMV's guide to the self-certification process.

Depending on how you self-certify, you may also need to get additional medical testing done before you can apply for a commercial learner's permit.

Some candidates may need to see a FMCSA-approved physician to help them fill out a Medical Examiner's Certificate (Form MCSA-5876).

For more information on federal regulations, check out the FMCSA's guide to the CDL medical program.

Military Testing Waivers for CDLs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and NV Department of Motor Vehicles have created a program to help current military members and recent veterans more easily earn their CDL by having the skills exam waived.

To qualify, you'll need to:

  • Be currently enlisted in the service OR have been discharged within 1 year of applying.
    AND
  • Have operated commercial motor vehicles or the military equivalent within the last 1 year.

Eligible applicants will need to complete a CDL Certification for Waiver of Skills Tests (Form CDL-004).

For more information about the change to have your skills test waived, check out our guide to the military skills test waiver.

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