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Applying for a New CDL in Vermont

If you love to drive and want to explore Vermont, consider becoming a commercial driver. You'll just need to apply for a commercial driver's license (CDL) through the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The CDL application process is structured around the rules and regulations set out by the VT DMV as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Keep reading for more information on how to apply for your Vermont commercial driver license.

Vermont CDL Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a Vermont CDL, you must:

  • Be at least:
    • 18 years old to drive intrastate (within VT state lines only).
    • 21 years old to drive interstate (across state borders).
  • Hold a valid Vermont Class D driver's license.
  • Provide proof of:
    • Date and place of birth.
    • Vermont residency.
    • Legal presence in the United States.
    • Your Social Security number.

Examples of acceptable documents can be found on the Vermont DMV's identity documents guide.

VT Commercial Learner Permit

Before you can get a VT commercial driver's license, you have to practice driving with a commercial learner permit (CLP). To get your CLP, you'll need to schedule an appointment with the DMV by calling (802) 828-2085.

At your CLP appointment, submit:

  • A completed Application for Commercial License/Permit (Form VL-31).
  • Your class D Vermont driver's license.
  • Acceptable documents proving your:
    • Birth date and birth place.
    • Social Security number (SSN).
    • Vermont address.
    • Legal U.S. presence.
  • Your required medical and self-certification documents (see below).
  • Payment for the $15 CLP fee PLUS all applicable testing fees (see below for breakdown).

You'll need to pass the following exams:

  • Vision test.
  • Written exams specific to your desired CDL's classification, endorsement(s), and restriction(s).
    • Enrolling in a CDL education course will give you ample preparation for the DMV's written exams.

After you've aced the written CDL tests, you'll receive your commercial learner's permit and be halfway to getting your official VT commercial driver's license.

CLP Restrictions

There are a few restrictions with your CLP that you should be aware of before getting out on the Vermont roads.

First, you may only drive:

  • While accompanied by a licensed supervisor who holds the same type of CDL you're applying for.
  • When operating a commercial vehicle with the same classification and endorsement(s) listed on your commercial learner permit.

Additionally, you must hold your commercial learner permit for a minimum of 14 days before taking the Department of Motor Vehicles' road skills test. You can always hold it for longer to give yourself plenty of time to practice or even take a commercial driver's training course.

Your Vermont commercial learner's permit is valid for 6 months and can be renewed once within 18 months. If you decide to renew your CLP, you'll need to pay the same $15 fee you paid for the original.

Getting Your Vermont CDL

Once you've had your CLP for at least 14 days, you can begin the final stage of the Vermont CDL application process: taking the CDL road skills exam.

You'll need schedule a testing appointment with the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles by calling (802) 828-2085. You'll be asked to submit a $24 scheduling deposit fee to secure your appointment time.

You must arrange to test in the same class of vehicle that you're applying to be licensed to drive. If this isn't possible, a restriction will be placed on your license.

Bring the following to your CDL road skills exam:

The DMV's CDL road skills exam is made up of the following components:

  • Pre-trip vehicle inspection.
    • Locate and explain the proper function of internal and external vehicle parts.
  • Basic vehicle control.
    • Execute low-speed turning, accelerating, and reversing tasks.
  • On-road portion.
    • Manage several driving situations on public roads.

Should you fail the behind-the-wheel exam, don't worry. You're allowed to re-test up to 3 times before having to wait 6 months for another shot at it. You won't have to pay the scheduling deposit again, but you WILL have to repay the testing fee.

When you pass the DMV's road skills exam, give yourself a pat on the back. You are now the owner of an official Vermont commercial driver license!

Fees for CDLs in Vermont

Here are the fees associated with applying for a VT commercial driver's license:

  • Testing fees:
    • Written general knowledge test: $32.
    • Endorsement exams: $14 each.
    • Road skills testing: $32.
      • Scheduling deposit: $24.
  • Commercial learner's permit (CLP): $15.
  • Commercial driver's license (CDL):
    • Valid for 2 years: $60.
    • Valid for 4 years: $90.

CDL Self-Certification & Medical Requirements

When you go to apply for your Vermont CLP and CDL you will need to provide the DMV with self-certification and in some cases, a medical card.

CDL Self-Certification

Self-certification is the process by which you let the Department of Motor Vehicles know how you're going to operate your commercial vehicle. The DMV and FMCSA require you to self-certify to determine if you're legally obligated to hold a medical card.

While self-certifying your CDL Medical Certification (Form TA-VL-33), you'll first need to distinguish if you're driving:

  • Intrastate—within Vermont's state borders only.
  • Interstate—across state borders.

Then, you need to determine if you are:

  • Excepted—Not required to hold a medical card. This is applicable for:
    • Intrastate drivers who participate in commerce activities only.
    • Interstate drivers employed by the government OR the hospital or agricultural industries.
  • Non-excepted—Required to have a medical card at all times.
    • Most CDL applicants fall into this category.

For an in-depth look at how to determine which categories you fall into, check out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's webpage on the topic.

CDL Medical Requirements

If you self-certify as a non-excepted driver, you'll need to obtain a medical examiner certificate filled out by a physician approved by the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. This examination confirms that you are physically fit and able to do your job.

If you have a health condition that may prevent you from medical certification, you can petition for a medical exemption that allows you to continue with the CDL application process.

For more on the medical exemption, visit the FMCSA's driver exemptions program page.

Military CDL Skills Test Waiver

If you drive/drove a commercial vehicle in the military, you might be able to waive your road skills test. To qualify for a military skills test waiver, you must have:

  • Been employed within the past 1 year in a military position requiring you to operate a commercial vehicle.
  • Driven that military commercial vehicle for at least 2 years similar to the vehicle your CDL will qualify you to operate.
  • A clean driving record while employed by the military, with no license suspensions/revocations.

To apply:

Bring both documents with you when you apply for your commercial learner's permit. You'll need to satisfy all other requirements for the CLP, including all written exams.

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